Suaahara: Quantitative Evaluation Assistant Researcher

In Vacancy by HKI NP

Helen Keller International (HKI) is an International non-profit organization (INGO) working in health and nutrition in Nepal since 1989 working to improve the nutritional status of women and young children through evidence-based research and programs. HKI, CARE, FHI 360, NTAG, EAN, ENPHO, VDRC together are implementing USAID funded Suaahara II Program (SP II) in 42 districts. Applications are invited from interested, committed, dynamic team players and experienced Nepali nationals for the following positions based in Kathmandu.

Position: Consultant- Quantitative Evaluation Assistant Researcher – no.1 (for 5 months)

Summary of Job Purpose:  The Suaahara Evaluation Quantitative Research Assistant Consultant is required to collaborate with the Suaahara team, remaining in close consultation with the STA and MER teams, as well as the Principal Investigator and other consultants hired for the evaluation, from design through to completion of the studies.  Details of the tasks required under this contract are outlined below and span the preparatory evaluation work of getting protocols, tools, and ethical approval ready as well as working with the survey firm during the trainings to ensure high quality data collection.

Educational qualifications and experiences: Master’s degree preferred in epidemiology, statistics, economics, or public health nutrition or similar field; experience working on large-scale multi-sectoral programs and quantitative studies; previous monitoring, evaluation and/or research experience in Nepal; strong Nepali language reading and writing, with preference for typing in Nepali script; Ability to communicate in English in writing and oral.

To apply: For detailed Scope of Work, log on to www.hki.org.np. To apply submit a cover letter, updated CV and relevant references to nepal.recruitment@hki.org by December 30, 2019.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for the interview process. HKI reserves the right to close the application before the deadline.

Helen Keller International promotes workforce diversity and is an equal opportunity employer.


You can also download the below Scope of Work from here (pdf)


Scope of Work

Suaahara Evaluation

Suaahara Quantitative Evaluation Assistant Researcher Consultant

January 1 – May 31, 2020 Full-time

Introduction

Suaahara, a USAID-funded multi-sectoral program in Nepal operates at scale. In its first phase (2011-2016), Suaahara expanded into 40 of Nepal’s 75 districts and now in its second phase (2016-2021), Suaahara operates in 42 of Nepal’s 77 districts; in both phases a district-wide approach was used, meaning blanket coverage of key interventions in all communities throughout the intervention districts. Suaahara II is led by Helen Keller International with six core implementation partners: CARE, FHI360, Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO), Nepali Technical Assistance Group (NTAG), Vijaya Development Resource Center (VDRC) and Digital Broadcast Initiative – Equal Access Nepal (EAN). In addition, district-specific Partner Non-governmental Organizations (PNGOs) are Suaahara sub-recipient partners responsible for sub-national level implementation of activities.

The overall program objective is to reduce the prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight among children under 5 years of age, underweight among mothers, and anemia among mothers and children. The program aims to achieve these objectives through a multi-sectoral approach, organized around a results framework with four intermediate results (IRs).

  • IR 1: Improved household nutrition, sanitation and health behaviors
  • IR 2: Increased use of quality nutrition and health services by women and children
  • IR 3: Improved access to diverse and nutrient-rich foods by women and children
  • IR 4: Accelerated roll-out of the Multi-sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP) through strengthened local governance

For IR1, Suaahara-hired frontline workers (FLWs) (Field Supervisors and Community Nutrition Volunteers) conduct household and community level activities to increase awareness and support families to engage in optimal practices. Additionally, Suaahara works alongside Nepal’s large cadre of Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) as principal agents for change. FCHVs conduct face to face counselling, run women’s groups, and support behavior change at the household level through interpersonal communication and education activities.

For IR2, strengthening nutrition-related knowledge and skills, including counseling staff at health facilities and FCHVs working in the communities on health and nutrition is critical.  Furthermore, Suaahara promotes and supports integration of nutrition into maternal and child health services, including growth monitoring and promotion, and works to improve service availability and quality related to family planning and maternal and child health.

For IR3, Suaahara supports reductions in food insecurity and improvements in diversity of food produced, consumed, and sold in markets (when surplus) in disadvantaged communities (about 45% of the wards), through its homestead food production (HFP) (vegetable gardening and chicken rearing) package, delivered through village model farmers (VMFs) established by the project (at varying points between 2012 and now) through selection and capacity building.

For IR4, strengthening Government of Nepal (GoN) systems (at all levels) for policy and program development and implementation to support sustainable improvements in nutrition is crucial. A key aspect of this relates to the allocation and utilization of government funds for nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive investments.

Suaahara uses a multi-platform Social and Behavior Change (SBC) approach to integrate across these thematic areas. The four primary means of reaching households include: interpersonal communication (IPC) (e.g. home visits); community mobilization events (e.g. health mothers’ groups and food demonstrations); mass media via a weekly radio program known as Bhanchhin Aama (now also available on Facebook and YouTube); and technology (e.g. SMS message campaign; interactive voice response).

Suaahara has a robust monitoring, evaluation and research (MER) system. Suaahara has been carrying out various qualitative and quantitative research studies, including: several rounds of formative research on key behaviors; a randomized controlled trial with related formative research and process evaluation; and a cohort study of adolescent girls becoming women. Suaahara also conducts annual surveys, with data collected externally to track progress over time in relation to inputs, outputs, outcomes and impacts in intervention areas. The annual surveys help to identify gaps in coverage and knowledge and practices related to Suaahara’s IRs. An evaluation is needed, however, to complement the monitoring surveys and enable findings that attribute changes over time to Suaahara.

 

Background

Before the start of Suaahara, an evaluation was planned and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) was contracted to design the impact evaluation and lead the baseline survey of the impact evaluation in the summer of 2012. A Nepali survey firm was responsible for the baseline survey data collection and management. Additionally, in 2014 a mixed-methods process evaluation (de facto Suaahara I endline and Suaahara II) was carried out by an externally contracted principal investigator to lead the study design and locally-contracted firms to carry out the quantitative and qualitative components.

The endline for the main quasi-experimental impact evaluation of Suaahara will take place in the summer of 2020 and will estimate the effect of Suaahara interventions on household behaviors and nutritional status, as well as on knowledge and skills among health workers and FCHVs. To complement this quantitative study, a qualitative evaluation focusing on the effect of Suaahara at the FLW/community level and policy levels (federal, provincial/district and local) is also planned.

The impact evaluation, which is quantitative, has its primary research question of: What is Suaahara’s impact on maternal and child nutritional status and dietary diversity? Secondary questions include: 1) What is Suaahara’s impact on maternal and child nutrition, health and WASH behaviors and knowledge?; and 3) What is Suaahara’s impact in reducing equity gaps in nutritional status, dietary diversity, and maternal and child nutrition, health and WASH behaviors and knowledge?

 

Tasks and Deliverables

The Suaahara Evaluation Quantitative Research Assistant Consultant is required to collaborate with the Suaahara team, remaining in close consultation with the STA and MER teams, as well as the Principal Investigator and other consultants hired for the evaluation, from design through to completion of the studies.  Details of the tasks required under this contract are outlined below by phase:

Between January 1 and May 31, the main responsibility of the Suaahara Evaluation Quantitative Research Assistant Consultant will be to work with the Principal Investigator and Sr. Research Consultant to ensure full understanding of the Suaahara program as well as interventions beyond Suaahara in both the intervention and comparison areas, two pre-requisites to ensuring that the evaluation design and questionnaires are appropriate. This position will also support in drafting and finalization of the Nepali versions of the questionnaires and consent forms. The main task in May will be daily participation in the survey training and field testing.

Deliverables: Annotated list of program materials reviewed; Final Nepali tools translated and back-translated (May 31)

Timeline and Level of Effort

January 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020 for a total of 5 months. The level of effort (LOE) is calculated according to the designated tasks, noted above. This scope of work does not require, but may include, a trip to Nepal to collaborate with other hired evaluation researchers and discuss key findings with USAID, Government of Nepal and other stakeholders.

Qualifications/Evaluation Criteria:

  • Masters degree preferred in epidemiology, statistics, economics, or public health nutrition or similar field (5 points)
  • Experience working on large-scale multi-sectoral programs and quantitative studies (7 points)
  • Previous monitoring, evaluation and/or research experience in Nepal (5 points)
  • Strong Nepali language reading and writing, with preference for typing in Nepali script; Ability to communicate in English in writing and oral (3 points)

 

The top three candidates will be shortlisted by the technical evaluation committee. Based on a review of the application materials submitted and estimated costs, the evaluation committee will make a best value trade-off evaluation of the technical quality and the consultant’s daily rate, associated travel and incidentals costs to identify the successful candidate.

This consultancy will report to the Suaahara II Sr. Technical Advisor.

Advertisement as published in The Himalayan Times (Nov 27, 2019).