Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.
Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.
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The nutritional needs of women are not being met across the South Asia region (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). The status of women's nutrition is a serious cause for concern: one in five women in the region are too thin (BMI <18.5/kg/m²); one in ten women in the region have short stature (height <145 cm); anaemia is a severe or moderate public health problem in 7 out of 8 countries; and overweight and obesity are rapidly rising across all countries in the region.
Progress in improving maternal nutrition in South Asia has been slow. None of the South Asian countries are on track to meet the World Health Assembly (WHA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) global targets to reduce anaemia in women of reproductive age by 50 percent. The considerable burden of maternal malnutrition in South Asia has far reaching consequences for maternal and child survival, growth and development. Acceleration of actions to improve maternal nutrition is urgently needed across the region.
The SAARC Regional Action Framework for Nutrition provides guidance on coherent approaches that can be applied across the region to address undernutrition, focusing on the most vulnerable i.e. children and women. One of the strategic pillars in the regional action framework is scale up of cost-effective evidence based, sustainable nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions for all, with focus on women and children. The regional action framework underscores the need for countries in the region to implement a package of proven nutrition-specific interventions that effectively prevent and treat undernutrition during the 1,000-day window of opportunity from pregnancy to age 2 years.
To catalyze coordinated action for large scale improvements in the nutritional care of women in the region, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in coordination with the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA), convened a Regional Conference on "Stop Stunting | Power of Maternal Nutrition" in May 2018 in Nepal.
The Regional Conference was attended by all the 8 SAARC member countries and it discussed and identified 10 key actions to accelerate progress in the nutritional care of women in South Asia. One of the key actions identified reiterated the need for regional leadership from SAARC in supporting development of regional guidance and/or frameworks and tools to assist the South Asian countries in operationalizing global maternal nutrition recommendations to improve the nutritional care of women in the region.
Within the framework of the UNICEF and SAARC cooperation agreement, UNICEF ROSA is committed to strengthen the organizational and technical leadership of regional platforms/institutions to support scaling up key evidence-based interventions to improve early childhood nutrition (ECN) and women's nutrition (WN) in South Asia. Therefore, this consultancy is intended to provide technical assistance for the development of a regional maternal nutrition guidance document and tools for mainstreaming maternal nutrition at scale which can be adapted at country level.
The specific technical support needed for this undertaking justify an explicit consultancy approach as the intensity of support and consultations with SAARC member states. The UNICEF ROSA nutrition section is short-staffed and therefore needs additional consultancy support for this time-bound undertaking.
The purpose of this consultancy is to provide technical assistance to the SAARC Secretariat in the development of a regional maternal nutrition guidance document and tools to support operationalization of global maternal nutrition recommendations and mainstreaming of maternal nutrition interventions at scale in South Asian countries.
The document and toolkit will focus primarily on nutrition-specific maternal nutrition interventions that are delivered through the health system, however, it will also make reference to complementary nutrition-sensitive interventions in other sectors (e.g. social protection, WASH, food/agriculture and education sectors).
The consultancy tasks are divided into two inter-related work packages. The regional maternal nutrition guidance document will inform the scope and content of the toolkit for mainstreaming maternal nutrition at scale.
The consultant will undertake the following tasks:
Work Package 1: Development of regional maternal nutrition guidance document (Estimate 40 days)
Work Package 2: Development of toolkit for mainstreaming maternal nutrition interventions at scale based on the regional guidance note (Estimate 25 days)
The assignment will be predominantly home-based with two travels to Kathmandu, with regular communication with UNICEF ROSA, regional stakeholders and platforms. The consultant is expected to have own computer and telecommunication access for regular skype calls during the regional landscape analysis process.