Consultant to Develop Advocacy and Policy Briefs on Food and Nutrition at Helen Keller International / USAID Advancing Nutrition Project

Posted on: Wed 21-09-2022

Helen Keller International (HKI) - Established in 1915, is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to saving the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Headquartered in New York City, HKI currently conducts programs in 21 countries in Africa and Asia, as well as in the United States.

HKI implements integrated package of cost-effective interventions that are proven to improve maternal and child nutrition. HKI supports policies and programs on food fortification, vitamin A supplementation, infant and young child feeding, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, community-based management of acute malnutrition and prevention and treatment of neglected tropical diseases. At the core of HKI’s programs is advocacy and social behavior change communication to various stakeholders. HKI also undertakes cutting-edge research to influence policy decisions and inform program quality.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Consultant to Develop Advocacy and Policy Briefs on Food and Nutrition

Location: Abuja (FCT)

Employment Type: Part-time

Project Title: USAID Advancing Nutrition.

Type of Contract: Individual Contractor (IC)

Contract Duration: 30 Consecutive days (1st to 31st October, 2022).

Background of USAID Advancing Nutrition Project

  • USAID Advancing Nutrition is the Agency’s flagship multi-sectoral nutrition project, led by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI), and a diverse group of experienced partners. Launched in September 2018, USAID Advancing Nutrition implements nutrition interventions across sectors and disciplines for USAID and its partners.
  • The project’s multi-sectoral approach draws together global nutrition experience to design, implement, and evaluate programs that address the root causes of malnutrition.
  • Committed to using a systems approach, USAID Advancing Nutrition strives to sustain positive outcomes by building local capacity, supporting behavior change, and strengthening the enabling environment to save lives, improve health, build resilience, increase economic productivity, and advance development.

Objectives of the Project

In Nigeria, the project aims to meet the following objectives:

  • Objective 1: Strengthen multi-sectoral linkages and coordination through technical assistance to the Government of Nigeria, the Mission, and implementing partners
  • Objective 2: Support the Government of Nigeria to strengthen wasting prevention and treatment services
  • Objective 3: Generate evidence and test innovative approaches to improve nutrition programming and inform future designs.

Background of the Consultancy

  • Nutrition has a powerful influence on the growth, development, and productive life of every individual and nation. However, malnutrition has continued to remain a key social and health challenge in developing countries such as Nigeria.
  • Malnutrition affects mostly the poor and disadvantaged populations as a consequence of nutrition disparities and inequality. Malnutrition especially among children under 5 years is a major underlying cause of diminished mental and physical capacity, compromised health, and poor learning capacity. It is viewed as a violation of the right of the child especially the right to food and life.
  • Malnutrition is not just a developmental issue it is also an economic issue. It adversely affects human capital and economic progress.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic, insecurity, and the economic recession caused by the drop in oil prices have negatively impacted and created shocks across multiple sectors and systems in Nigeria.
  • This includes food and nutrition security. The situation might be further exacerbated by the ripple effects of the crisis in Ukraine.
  • Nigeria is among a set of countries with disproportionate levels of people living in hunger and suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms. Although stunting (height for age) has reduced from 42 percent (NDHS, 2003) to 37 percent (NDHS, 2018) in children under 5, still, about 14 million children in Nigeria are stunted today.
  • Similarly, despite reductions in wasting (weight for height) from 11 (NDHS, 2003) to 7 percent in children under 5 (NDHS, 2018) almost 3 million Nigerian children are wasted today.
  • The Nigerian government is recognizing the importance of nutrition for development and is taking responsibility for addressing nutrition challenges in the country.
  • To reverse hunger and malnutrition, Nigeria has endorsed a range of policies and plans including but not limited to the National Policy on Food and Nutrition (2016), the Agricultural Promotion Policy (2016), the National Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action on Nutrition (2020-2025), the Agricultural Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy (ASFSNS) (2016-2025), the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (2017), the National Food Safety Policy (2014).
  • The existence of the multisectoral strategic plans of action is critical for reducing malnutrition and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Medium-Term National Development Plan (2021 - 2025).
  • Approval for nutrition directorates and budget lines across MDAs, Commitments at the N4G and Food System summit.
  • Nigeria has robust policies and strategies for food and nutrition however, these documents are yet to be fully operationalized largely due to lack of funding. It requires strong ownership, leadership, coordination, and financing to translate the strategies into key results for women and children.
  • Currently, Nutrition implementation in Nigeria is heavily dependent on donor funds. Addressing malnutrition in Nigeria requires a long-term significant investment of financial resources from the government at all levels.
  • For this to happen, the government, through the National Council of Nutrition (NCN), needs to ensure line ministries whose actions impact on nutrition, as well as relevant MDAs at the state level, have budget lines for Nutrition interventions and programs, allocate and release adequate budget every year and use the funds to contribute to the implementation of the national strategic plan for food and Nutrition.
  • Although efforts to unlock resources for nutrition have yielded some results in the past, however, it is grossly inadequate. Addressing the huge malnutrition problem in the country requires a strong political will and sustained financial investment toward making nutrition a national priority in Nigeria.
  • In order to sustain the efforts to increase domestic resources for nutrition, there is a need to develop policy and advocacy briefs for strategic engagements with key stakeholders and policymakers on nutrition issues.
  • Advocacy to build support for an enabling environment that includes increased investment in nutrition is essential at the national, state, local government, and community levels. This would help to improve the nutrition outcomes of Nigerians.

Objectives of the Consultancy

The objectives of this consultancy are to develop policy and advocacy briefs for high-level engagement with policy makers but not limited to the National Council on Nutrition, the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria, Federal and State line-nutrition ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and other key nutrition stakeholders to advocate for:

  • Improving institutional capacity for implementation of nutrition programs including through the establishment of nutrition departments.
  • Increased domestic investment to scale-up nutrition interventions at all levels
  • Timely release and judicious utilization of released funds for nutrition
  • Increased political will for nutrition and ensure that nutrition is part of the political agenda of the existing and new governments.

Duties and Responsibilities

The consultant will support the Nutrition Development Partners’ Group to:

  • Conduct a desk review of existing policy and advocacy briefs in a bid to analyse and harmonize them using the latest nutrition data.
  • Carry out a rapid assessment and analysis of what the issues and bottlenecks are and what could be done to mitigate them.
  • Develop customized audience-specific advocacy materials (policy briefs, factsheets, PPT and other targeted materials)
  • Develop a five-year advocacy, communication and stakeholder management strategy/plan and a one-year comprehensive synthesized strategy to influence government funding for Food and Nutrition.

Expected Results and Deliverables

  • Inception report on the assignment which provides an interpretation of the TOR, a proposed methodology, and a work plan.
  • A draft analysis report that highlights past and current government’s efforts; identify gaps and problem and proposed strategies to address and mitigate them as well as the prospective social impact and return on investment for nutrition.
  • Draft customized advocacy and policy briefs, each dedicated to specific audiences as mentioned in the objective.
  • A five years advocacy strategy plan that includes a one-year comprehensive synthesized strategy to influence government funding for Nutrition.
  • Tools or indicators to track result/impact
  • Joint review and validation session with DPG and relevant stakeholders.

Required Qualifications, Skills and Competencies

  • Advanced University Degree in Health Economics, Public Health, Sociology, or Advocacy and Communication
  • Advanced University Degree with strong knowledge on public health nutrition;
  • At least 10 years of relevant professional working experience at the national and international levels will be an added advantage;
  • Prior experience developing sector-specific communications materials tailored to various audiences
  • Excellent communication, coordination and facilitation skills
  • Strong analytical and report writing skills;
  • Knowledge of the Nutrition Landscape in Nigeria especially at the Federal level and State level
  • Knowledge of policy development, financing, implementation and evaluation processes of government.

Reporting and Institutional Arrangements:

  • The Consultant shall report to and collaborate closely with the Senior Program Officer, USAID Advancing Nutrition to achieve the intended results
  • USAID Advancing Nutrition shall be entitled to intellectual property and other proprietary rights over all materials that have direct relation to the project
  • The Consultant is expected to have their own equipment, office space, and internet connectivity. Coordination/meetings shall be done through phone call or online platforms
  • USAID Advancing Nutrition will not provide a workstation, administrative support, transportation or ICT equipment for the Consultant..

Duration of Assignment, Duty Station and Travel:

  • The Consultant will be engaged for 30 consecutive days (1st to 31st October, 2022), unless revised in a mutually agreed timetable by USAID Advancing Nutrition.
  • In this case changes in the duration of the contract will be implemented through the issuance of a contract amendment.

Application Closing Date

26th September, 2022.

How to Apply

Interested and qualified candidates should submit their Resume to: [email protected] using the Job Title as the subject of the mail.