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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Nutrition Forum has become the flagship nutrition event in the Region in recent years. The Forum started in 1996 as the West Africa Nutrition Focal Points network based on recommendation by the Ministers of Health of 9 francophone West African countries. The aim was to provide a consultative platform for solving the nutrition problems in the region. In 1999, the network was extended to cover all ECOWAS Member States. After its establishment in 2000, the West African Health Organization (WAHO) started coordinating the Forum in 2001. Initially, the meeting frequency was annual but became biennial in 2004. The Forum lasts for 3 days. Typical attendees include technical high-level staff from the Ministries of Health, financial and technical partners (UN agencies, NGOs, etc.).
These fora provide ECOWAS Member States and Partners with an opportunity to brainstorm on nutrition problems affecting the sub-region, share experiences and best practices on nutrition, develop a common vision of the nutrition profile of the sub-region, identify financing mechanisms, review the implementation level of past Forum recommendations, and provide a technical update to participants on topical issues.
Financial support for this event comes from ECOWAS and nutrition partners (Donors, UN agencies and international NGOs).
Thirteen ECOWAS Member States have hosted the Nutrition Forum since its inception, with Liberia and Nigeria being the only countries yet to host it. Typically, the Nutrition Forum is made up of Opening and Closing Ceremonies; Media briefing / Ad hoc interviews; Exhibition of nutrition achievements and products; Delegates’ group meetings, Social events (welcome cocktail, diner gala, tourist visits) and a Technical session.
The technical update session comprises:
- country presentations on nutrition sector developments (which includes also key points regarding the implementation of the recommendations and the action plan from the last Forum and countries’ experiences);
- a review of nutrition initiatives in the region; and
- technical presentations related to the conference theme. Panel discussions on different topics are also organized, as well as group work on topics of current relevance to nutrition in the region. There is also a formal anonymous participant appraisal of each Forum which aims to improve the organization of future fora.
- The last event, the 15th ECOWAS Nutrition Forum was held in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau in October 2017. As usual, a regional mid-term review meeting was organized to review progress in the implementation of recommendations of the preceding Forum by Member States, WAHO and Partners. The last mid-term review took place in November 2018 in Monrovia. The preliminary dates for the 16th ECOWAS Nutrition Forum to be held in Monrovia are the 12-14 November 2019.
The objectives of the 2019 Nutrition Forum are defined as follows:
- To update participants on the regional nutrition situation and current initiatives.
- To review the current state of adolescent malnutrition and diet-related diseases, risk factors, consequences, co-morbidities and current response in the region.
- To evaluate the current (nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive) policies, programmes, interventions and best practices to improve and sustain adolescent nutrition in the region.
- To explore mechanisms for strengthening health systems and financing for adolescent nutrition.
- To analyze existing surveillance systems and the needed information on adolescent nutrition in the region.
The evaluation expert will be assisting the international consultant particularly during the data collection and analysis process andwill need to meet the following requirements:
- Advanced University degree in monitoring and evaluation and/or nutrition, or other disciplines relevant to the object of the evaluation;
- A minimum of 8 years of experience in evaluation,
- Have a good understanding of ECOWAS work and the country specific context;
- Have a perfect command of quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis methods;
- Have experience in the use of participatory appraisal techniques in data collection, sensitive to gender issues;
- Have excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
- French would be an advantage
- Have excellent analytical, synthesis and writing skills
- Must have completed at least one high quality programme evaluation over the past 5 years
- A minimum 3 years of experience in evaluating communities of practice, conference and regional fora effectiveness is desirable
- A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible work experience in the planning, management and/or oversight of events/nutrition programmes is desirable