Closing date: Jan 17, 2021
The nutrition status of the Maldivian population has shown slight gains over the past decades; however, these improvements are not in pace with major other developments the country has witnessed. Malnutrition of under-five children is still at a worrying level – with stunting (15.3%), wasting (9.1%), and overweight (4.9%) (DHS, 2016-2017). More recent assessments indicate that inadequate child feeding skills, lack of support to caregivers leading to low food diversity and density, coupled with heavy reliance on packaged food, and other related factors contribute to the malnutrition problem. The first 1000 days of life -from the start of a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday- offer a critical window of opportunity to develop a strong foundation to shape a child’s future. The right nutrition during this period is critical for brain development, healthy growth, a strong immune system, and protection from chronic diseases later in life. If children do not get the right nutrients in the right quantities during this period, the damage is often irreversible. It provides an opportunity to reduce the double burden of malnutrition in the Maldives. Social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) interventions are key for addressing social and cultural barriers to achieving nutrition goals, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality from nutrition-preventable health causes.
The Health Protection Agency with the support of UNICEF and other donor agencies designed a Social and Behaviour Change Communication Strategy (SBCC) for the first 1000 days of life, and was launched in late 2019. The SBCC strategy provides key directions to effectively protect, promote and support appropriate maternal nutrition and infant and young child feeding (IYCF). The accompanying action plan provides detailed guidance for implementing the strategy, including concrete actions and timelines. In 2020, rollout of several key activities of the action plan were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNICEF is seeking a national consultant to support HPA, to provide technical support and coordination to implement the SBCC strategy and action plan.
The purpose of the assignment is to coordinate and implement activities planned under the SBCC Strategy and other relevant nutrition activities implemented in the target islands, and advise relevant departments, stakeholders, and managers to strengthen the existing service delivery platforms. The main objective is to provide technical expertise and operational support to roll-out of activities of the SBCC Strategy and action plan. The specific objectives are to:
- In consultation with relevant managers and decision-makers in HPA, coordinate the implementation of activities in the SBCC strategy for the first 1000 days of life, to improve health workers’ capacity in optimal maternal nutrition and infant & young child feeding, and early childhood care,
- Support the implementation and coordination of the SBCC strategy at the central level, and sub-national level in the target four atolls.
- Support the integration of SBCC key messages in existing platforms: within the Growth Monitoring Promotion, antenatal care programme and Infant Young Child Feeding Counselling services as well as anti-natal care programme provided at health centres in the target 12 islands.
- Support the implementation of other relevant nutrition activities (i.e. Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, vitamin A and deworming coverage)
Duty station: The consultant will be based in the Health Protection Agency in Male’. There will be travel/outreach support to SBCC demonstration sites and islands.
Supervisor: Programme Specialist from UNICEF Maldives Country Office, (on-site support by HPA head of nutrition)
Major tasks to be Accomplished:
The consultant will be coordinating and implementing the activities outlined in the SBCC strategy and action plan. Key tasks and deliverables include, but is not limited to the following:
Objective: Support the implementation and coordination of the SBCC strategy at the central level, and support implementation in public health units of 12 target islands
• Lead the implementation of the SBCC action plan: provide overall technical support to the SBCC-activities and coordinate implementation of the activities with key stakeholders.
• Develop a roadmap, with a timeline to implement the SBCC action plan and strategy and ensure smooth, timely, and effective roll-out in the 12 target islands
• Coordinate SBCC technical group meetings on a need basis
• Ensure timely completion of the project activities, management of budget-related to those activities, and progress reporting
• Provide inputs to the annual work plan, project monitoring and evaluation framework, tools, and processes (e.g, indicators, baseline data, field data collection).
• Travel to the field/target islands (approx. once every quarter) to support implementation and monitoring of activities in the 12 sites
• Document lessons learned and share with the key stakeholders from time to time.
• Based on evidence from field monitoring, including feedback from the target audience, make recommendations for course correction, i.e., changes in project activities, approach to implementation and other related proccess.
• Support the implementation of maternal and child nutrition interventions by the national nutrition programme.
• Develop a roadmap for implementation, with consideration to COVID-19 context for 12 months
• Orientation sessions and advocacy sessions on the SBCC strategy and action plan, to the staff of 12 target islands
• Technical group meetings (aprox, to be confirmed) to update stakeholders, seek guidance and expertise
• Mission reports from visits to target islands
Objective: In consultation with relevant managers and decision makers in HPA, coordinate the implementation of activities in the SBCC strategy for the first 1000 days of life, to improve health workers’ capacity in optimal maternal nutrition and infant and young child feeding, and early childhood care.
• Develop and refine as needed all relevant SBCC related tools and materials in close collaboration with technical staff and other key stakeholders, including the donor.
• Strengthen the capacity of staff in project sites, implementing partners, and other stakeholders by training and onsite support in implementing SBCC interventions.
• Conduct advocacy sessions with the health managers and community leaders to raise the profile of first 1000 days and the importance of nutrition and responsive early childhood care.
• With the local health staff, conduct awareness sessions to parents and caregivers on key messages and nutrition information.
• Engage with community and conduct island wide activities
• Develop key training, educational, counselling resources and job aids and awareness-raising tools
• Undertake pre-testing of newly developed resources/tools.
• Conduct awareness /advocacy sessions on these tools
To apply for this job please visit jobs.unicef.org.