For every child, nutrition
Background and Justification
UNICEF’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 outlines a commitment to promote and protect the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of adolescents. UNICEF currently has a partnership with AstraZeneca (AZ) with the aim of catalyzing a global advocacy movement led by young people to promote healthier lifestyles and make Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) prevention a government priority. Towards this end, UNICEF is working across Eastern and Southern Africa Region, East Asia and Pacific Region, and Latin America and the Caribbean Region to:
- Build awareness of young people and policy makers on NCD risks and burdens;
- Empower young people with the information and skills to influence policy and demand accountability for their health and well-being at local, national and global levels;
- Work with young people and government leaders to develop and enforce public policies aimed at NCD prevention among adolescents.
Statistics South Africa suggest that NCDs contribute 57.8% of all deaths, of which 60% are premature (under 70 years of age). South Africa suffers from the coexistence of under nutrition along with overweight, obesity, or diet-related NCDs, within individuals, households and populations, and across the life-course. South Africa faces the double burden of malnutrition, with 13% of children under 5 years overweight while 27% are stunted. Among adolescents (15-19 years) overweight rises to 27% in females and 8.6% in males, and stunting is 12.9%. A national survey showed that 47% of adolescents purchase foods from the school tuck shop regularly and many foods sold or provided in schools are unhealthy. Unhealthy food environments, including access to and affordability of healthy foods, foster unhealthy diets. This is especially true for communities with predominantly low-income, low socio-economic status. Generating evidence on modifiable NCD risk factors amongst adolescent and youth is critical to guide evidence-based interventions by government and stakeholders.
Scope of Work
- Goal and Objective: Under the supervision of the Nutrition Specialist in the Health and Nutrition Section, the consultant will assist the Health and Nutrition team to generate baseline information on NCDs risk factors with emphasis on nutrition and physical activity in adolescents and youth under the AZ Partnership.
- Provide details/reference to AWP areas covered:
The assignment is aligned to the Annual Work Plan of the Health and Nutrition programme on supporting mobilization and empowerment of young leaders to promote healthy lifestyles amongst adolescents and young people in South Africa.
Activities and Tasks:
The consultant will work closely with the Health and Nutrition team in undertaking the following tasks:
- Conduct policy scoping: identify existing evidence, policies and strategies on NCD modifiable risk factors (i.e. diet and physical activity) amongst adolescents at global, regional and in South Africa.
- Collect and analyze available evidence on NCD prevention initiatives led by youths.
- Analyze epidemiological data and available information to identify high risk, underserved, or vulnerable adolescent sub-groups to NCD risk factors.
- Gather information on knowledge and attitudes of adolescents and youth and identify gaps on modifiable NCD risk factors with specific reference to dietary intake practices and physical activity habits amongst adolescents through U-Report polls.
- Consult young people across priority districts through different platforms (including U-Report, focus group discussions, etc.) to enable young people to provide inputs and voice their opinions on baseline information.
- Conduct focus group discussions and/or informal interviews to map the perceptions and experiences of key stakeholders in relation to NCD prevention among adolescents.
- Make recommendations on key issues emanating from the baseline findings on adolescents’ awareness, gaps identified through policy scoping which should be considered when developing key messages and advocacy tools for the prevention of modifiable NCD risk factors targeted to adolescents.
The Consultant shall deliver on the assignment as per the tasks listed in Section 3 above. The Consultant will liaise directly with the Nutrition Specialist in the completion of various stages of the project.
Please see Payment Schedule under section (5) Outputs/Deliverables.
Payment is dependent on each deliverable being completed to a high standard (satisfactory completion) as vetted by the Health and Nutrition programme.
Desired competencies, technical background and experience
- Advanced degree in Public Health, Nutrition, Psychology, Social Work, Adolescents, or other related degree.
- 5 years’ professional experience in adolescent health and programmatic research.
- Prior work experience with a multi-lateral or international health and development agency, and experience supporting national Adolescent Health or Mental Health programs in any of UNICEF’s key geographic regions.
- A native command of the English language is required.
- Strong ability to multi-task and a drive for on-time delivery required.
Application must include:
- Detailed curriculum vitae including a description of main achievements;
- Submission of at least 2 products and/or writing samples related to relevant topic;
- Minimum three references that include the name and contact person, title and contact information.
- A detailed financial proposal quoted in United States Dollars (USD).
The focal person for the assignment is the Nutrition Specialist. Most of the communication will take place via email and telephone. Meetings may also be scheduled with the Health and Nutrition section team, UNICEF’s Regional and Headquarter (HQ) to discuss progress made. The Nutrition Specialist will follow-up with the Consultant to understand the rate of progress and whether products will be completed in the time allocated for the project.
An additional reference group made up of program specialists working in adolescent and mental health within UNICEF HQ and Regional offices will provide technical inputs and review of the consultant’s work.
For the final sign-off of the work, the Nutrition Specialist will consult with the Chief of Health and Nutrition and the Representative/Deputy Representative of the UNICEF South African Country Office (SACO).
- The Consultant will use his/her office space and may request to meet with the Nutrition Specialist during the project cycle;
- Where relevant and applicable, all travel is by most economical fare and reimbursement as per UNICEF policy;
- The service provider will undertake to keep the contents of the documents, whether in draft or in final format, confidential and not publish it or any part thereof either in print or electronically, or share it as a sample of work, prior to the public dissemination of the document, without the prior written permission of UNICEF.
- As per UNICEF DFAM policy, payment is made against approved deliverables. No advance payment is allowed unless in exceptional circumstances against bank guarantee, subject to a maximum of 30 per cent of the total contract value in cases where advance purchases, for example for supplies or travel, may be necessary; and
- The candidate selected will be governed by and subject to UNICEF’s General Terms and Conditions for individual/institutional contracts.
- The risks to this project may include delay in response from key informants and stakeholders. However, consultations with sector government departments and stakeholders often take time and this may delay the delivery of inputs to the service provider.
- To reduce risks associated with the delay caused by the review process, UNICEF will attempt to send completed draft products to UNICEF HQ, stakeholders and experts without any delay and will also immediately attend to any feedback received during the consultation process. This should maximize UNICEF’s interaction with sector departments and other stakeholders and ensure that work can be completed on time.