Background & Description

Technical Assistance for Nutrition (TAN) is a project supported by UK aid from the UK government, which seeks to improve the capacity of SUN countries to design, deliver, and track the progress of nutrition programs and to generate, learn from and adopt knowledge of what works. Nutrition International is contributing to TAN by coordinating the provision of technical assistance to help national SUN focal points in select countries to overcome gaps in capacity for the design and delivery of multi-sectoral national nutrition plans, tapping into its global hub to source and deploy the expertise needed.

Undernutrition in Pakistan is widespread among all ages, and progress to address social determinants over the last several decades has been very slow. According to the National Nutrition Survey 2011, one-third of all children are underweight, nearly 44% are stunted, 15% are wasted, and half of them are anemic. Pakistan is also witnessing the double burden of malnutrition where rampant undernutrition is co-existing with steady increase in overweight and obesity in the country, particularly among women of reproductive age (WRA). While on one hand 14% of WRA are wasted and 50.4% anemic, 21.1% are overweight and 9.5% obese.

Nutrition, as a multi-sectoral development concern, was institutionalized as a subject, rather than a sector, in the National Planning Commission (NPC) in 1970. Although the NPC had a mandate to mainstream nutrition across different sectors, operationalization was based in the nutrition wing of the Ministry of Health. This meant that nutrition projects and operational plans were conceived as a sub-set of health, and remained confined to the health sector[1].

A significant move forward, however, came in 2011 with Pakistan Integrated Nutrition Strategy (PINS), which set out an incremental plan for implementation of a host of nutrition-related interventions. During the same time, results of the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) 2011 were presented. The high incidence of undernutrition reported by NNS, together with the shocking fact that the rates had not changed much over the last decade, garnered both media and policy attention. PINS and NNS 2011 had both put nutrition on the map of policymakers[2].

Also, with Government of Pakistan (GoP) joining the SUN Movement in January 2013, the country witnessed increased coordination between governments and donors, UN agencies and other development partners. A high level National Nutrition Committee headed by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms (MoPD&R) was established to oversee nutrition planning and implementation across sectors and ensure multi-sectoral implementation of nutrition interventions[3]. In line with the government’s devolution context of 2011, wherein 17 ministries were devolved from the centre to the provincial level, SUN Secretariats have been established at the provincial level to lead efforts of scaling-up nutrition in their respective provinces[4].

Also, to support the SUN movement, SUN networks have also been established in Pakistan. The Scaling Up Nutrition Academia and Research Network in Pakistan (SUNAR Pak) is an indigenous effort by the GoP in collaboration and support from NI and Australian government, aiming to organize and harness the expertise of academia and researchers for scaling up nutrition in the country. Pakistan is the first country globally to have such a network.  NI hosts the secretariat of SUNAR in Pakistan, with a network of 51 Academic Institutions/Universities which are involved in nutrition teaching and research.

The SUNAR network is intended to promote sustainable improvement in nutritional status of the people of Pakistan by creating a strong, coordinated and vibrant research & academia forum. To achieve this intent, it is imperative that the SUNAR members have exceptional skills in design and conduct of research, use of analytical tools and scientific writings. This necessitates the need to build the capacities of research institutions that would lead to generate a strong knowledge base for nutrition to better inform policies and government’s response to malnutrition in the country.

In this context, the SUN FP of Pakistan has sought TA from NI under the TAN project to support SUNAR network for building capacity to improving knowledge-base, and generating, gathering and analyzing evidence for effective planning and implementation of nutrition actions at national and sub-national levels.

[1] Punjab Province Report: Nutrition Political Economy, Pakistan; August 2013
[2] The political economy of undernutrition national report: Pakistan; Institute of Development Studies & Aga Khan University; March
[3] SUN Movement Compendium 2014; Pakistan
[4] http://scalingupnutrition.org/sun-countries/pakistan 

Requirements and Skills

Objectives

Overall Objective:

The overall objective of TA is to provide technical support to SUN Movement, Pakistan for improving knowledge-base and evidence for effective planning and implementation of nutrition actions at national and sub-national levels by strengthening capacity of SUNAR Pak member institutions.

Specific Objectives:

Specific objectives of TA include:

1.       Assess capacity gaps/conduct training need assessment  (TNA) of SUN academia and research members

2.      Develop and implement a capacity strengthening plan on the basis of TNA

3.      Develop or adapt training manuals on research methodologies and scientific writing skills, based on the need and as the case may be

4.      Identify and improvise/revise the online resource center for archiving nutrition related researches and other relevant resources 

Expectations
This TA is expected to bring a significant contribution, to the SUN Movement in Pakistan, for improving knowledge-base and evidence for effective planning and implementation of nutrition actions by strengthening capacity of SUNAR member

It is expected that this consultancy will lead to the following results:

1.       Build the capacity of SUNAR members in areas of nutrition research to improve knowledge-base and evidence for effective nutrition program planning and implementation

2.      Establish (by improvising existing platform) nutrition research information sharing portal for knowledge sharing and as a platform for interactive discussions on nutrition events and developments   

Gender
Nutrition International is committed to gender equality. Consultants are required to indicate how they will ensure that gender equality considerations are included in the provision of TA including deliverables. Examples of integration of consideration for gender equality could include but are not limited to; ensuring government departments responsible for women are included wherever possible, gender sensitive indicators are included, emerging data is sex disaggregated, relevant documentation related to gender is reviewed. To this end, NI has developed the following tools which can be accessed using the links below:     

-         NI integration of gender considerations checklist

-         NI background document on gender and nutrition

-         NI PowerPoint presentation (Gender 101)

 

Scope of Work
Expected duration of the assignment is for a period of 18 months.

 

The consultants will be expected to undertake the following activities and produce the listed deliverables.

·         Submission of a draft work plan which should include all the following steps and a timeline

·         Assessment of capacity gaps in areas of nutrition research among SUNAR members completed, and report shared

·         Preparation and submission of a detailed capacity development plan

·         Training content for SUNAR members finalized and module developed

·         Training plan for SUNAR members developed

·         Training of SUNAR members in areas of nutrition research including research methodologies, use of statistical tools and technical writings completed, and report shared

·         Assessment of the training’s effectiveness in improving capacity of SUNAR members in improved knowledge and effective nutrition program planning  

·         Nutrition research information sharing portal identified and improvised/revised as per the identified need to:

-         Store and access relevant nutrition research documents/studies

-         Serve as a platform for interactive discussions 

-         Notify nutrition events and developments to cater to other related needs

·         Orientation of government officials, scientific community, SUN Networks, development partners and other relevant stakeholders on use of nutrition information sharing portal completed and report shared

·         Build capacities of SUNAR members to develop policy briefs developed using research findings and recommendations for advocacy with decision makers at appropriate levels

Duty Station/Location
This is a full-time consultancy for a period of 18 months provided by a team of 2 consultants. The lead consultant (LC) will share the list of consulting team members with NI for agreement on roles and responsibilities of each team member. The LC will be assigned overall role of managing this assignment and be responsible for the work completed by other team members and all resulting deliverables.

The team members will be based in Pakistan for this assignment. At the national and provincial level Department of Planning Development & Reforms (DoPD&R) would provide official work space to the team to hold joint discussions, meetings and reviews.

The team members are expected to undertake some domestic travel within the country. All travels required under this consultancy will be provided for by NI/GoP.

Timeline
This support to the GoP would be for a period of 18 months from September 2018 to February 2020.

 
Management and Reporting/Coordination mechanism          
1.       The consultants will report to the Chief Nutrition, MoPD&R, Pakistan who is also the Government Federal SUN Focal Point. The consultants will also work closely with other officials in Pakistan SUN Secretariat, specific divisions of MPDR and NI team members.

2.      The national/provincial DoPD&R will facilitate the operational linkages with all the other relevant sectors and stakeholders under this TA. 

3.      The consultants are expected to work in close coordination and harmony with other consultants/development partners working with the national/provincial DoPD&R and SUNAR coordinator.

4.      NI will provide the funding for the assignment, and payment will be subject to performance and reaching deliverables as agreed upon at the moment of contract signing.

5.      NI will provide technical input into the assignment and is responsible for assuring the quality of the work being delivered by the consultants.

Profile/qualifications of consultant
The lead consultant will be selected following a competitive recruitment process. The team of consultants will possess expertise in the fields of health and/or nutrition research.

The profile of the team has been presented below.

Education:

•      Postgraduate degree in nutrition, public health, anthropology or health research (for team lead); and postgraduate degree in Information & Technology, MCA etc. 

•      Understanding of Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Strategy and SUN country networks (for team leader)  

•      Qualification in Nutrition would be an advantage

Language Skills:

•      Fluency in written and spoken English is mandatory

•      Knowledge of Urdu language is mandatory

Experience:

The team should possess the below mentioned experience:

·         At least 10 years’ experience of public health research, preferably in nutrition with sound scientific writing

·         At least 3 first-authored publications in peer-reviewed journals (lead author)

·         At least 8 years’ experience of conducting trainings at national and provincial level in field of public health, nutrition

·         At least 5 years of experience of developing and/or improvising online portal for information sharing

·         Relevant experience in the fields of advocacy/communication/public affairs/media relations related to nutrition/health

·         Excellent knowledge of Pakistan’s national/provincial nutrition and health policies and programs

·         Command on data analysis/research software and strong research and analysis skills

·         Excellent communication skills in English including writing & editing skills     

·         Proven experience of capacity building dealing with Academic and Research Institutions  

·         Good understanding of development issues, including nutrition and philosophy of SUN Movement

·         Ability to work effectively with a range of stakeholders

·         Proactive, persuasive, and ability to work under stress

·         Willing to travel extensively

Education

•      Postgraduate degree in nutrition, public health, anthropology or health research (for team lead); and postgraduate degree in Information & Technology, MCA etc. 

•      Understanding of Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Strategy and SUN country networks (for team leader)  

•      Qualification in Nutrition would be an advantage

How to Apply

Interested consultants are invited to submit the following by email to TechnicalAssistance@NutritionIntl.org before close of business 15th July 2018, 17:30 EST (Ottawa, Canada).                       

·         Up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV)

·         Technical proposal: not exceeding five pages, describing the consultant’s understanding of the task, proposed methodology, responsibilities of key stakeholders and detailed work plan that breaks down activities and outputs.

·         Financial proposal: including daily fee rate, suggested number of trips/days in-country and any other expenses required to fulfill the terms of the consultancy (field trips, meetings, materials etc.).

Kindly mention ‘Application for PAK-06 - Support SUNAR for improving nutrition actions’ in the subject line of the email.

About Organization

Nutrition International (Formerly known as Micronutrient Initiative) is an international non-for-profit organization registered in Canada with headquarters in Ottawa. Since 2000, Nutrition International has been working in Pakistan to improve the health of vulnerable people, especially women and children, through better nutrition. Our priorities focus on improving access to needed micronutrients for the most disadvantaged, from supplementation and fortification to policy changes and advocacy efforts.