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: Qualitative Evaluation Researcher -no.1 (for 10 months under fixed term)
Summary of Job Purpose: The Qualitative Evaluation Researcher is required to collaborate with the Suaahara team, remaining in close consultation with the Sr. Technical Advisor and MER teams, as well as PI 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: evaluation planning; data collection and management; coding, analysis, and interpretation.
Educational qualifications and experiences: Bachelor’s degree in the social sciences, with preference given for those with a masters or doctoral degree; experience working on qualitative studies, with preference for prior experience on at-scale and/or multi-sectoral program evaluations; previous qualitative research experience in Nepal including all steps of the process (tool development, training support, data collection, data management and analysis); previous experience working on a team and ability to work effectively across cultures, languages, and working styles and English writing and oral communication skills
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.
Scope of Work
Qualitative Research Consultant
February 1 – December 31, 2020
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.
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 (PI) 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.
At the FLW/community level it is important to document and assess Suaahara efforts with both health and non-health workers and across both Suaahara and government FLWs and platforms. The primary and secondary research questions include: 1) What is Suaahara’s impact on improving nutrition-related awareness, knowledge and skills among health and non-health FLWs? and 2) To what extent did Suaahara reach health and non-health sector FLWs and did this impact their nutrition-related engagements with communities, particularly 1000-day households? Additionally, it is important to document and evaluate Suaahara’s policy-level interventions at all levels. The primary research questions for this study include: 1) What is Suaahara’s impact on improving cross-sectoral engagements, information exchange, and knowledge and skills among policy stakeholders? and 2) What is Suaahara’s impact on nutrition-related policies, plans and budgets/investments?
Tasks and Deliverables
The Qualitative Evaluation Research Consultant is required to collaborate with the Suaahara team, remaining in close consultation with the Sr. Technical Advisor and MER teams, as well as PI 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:
- Evaluation Planning (Feb 15-April 15)
The evaluation planning component will involve a review of the qualitative studies conduced in 2014/2015 focusing on policy environment and multi-sectoral FLWs, as well as a review of the findings from a recent governance study Suaahara conducted in a few program districts. During this planning period, meetings with program staff based in Kathmandu, particularly the governance and MER teams, will be important. During this period, the Qualitative Evaluation Research Consultant will support the PI in the review of background materials, meetings and documentation of relevant program activities, drafting and finalizing the study protocols and tools for ethical approval. The Qualitative Evaluation Research Consultant will need to translate all tools to Nepali for submission to the Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC).
Deliverable: Nepali version of tools, as submitted to NHRC ethics (April 15)
- Data Collection and Management (April 15-Aug 15)
Training for data collection will take place in May, with the Qualitative Evaluation Research Consultant holding primary responsibility for organizing and conducting the training for data collectors. This will involve both the technical content of training and administrative management of hiring a team of data collectors, establishing a venue for training, and so on to prepare for training of data collectors.
The Qualitative Evaluation Research Consultant will also oversee the data collection, transcription and translation which will take place during the summer and will be responsible for hiring a team of translators.
Deliverable: 1) List of hired data collectors and translators with qualifications; 2) Short report on training and field work, to later be included in full study report
- Coding, Analysis, and Write-up (Aug 15-Dec 15)
In this last phase, the PI will work in close collaboration with the Qualitative Evaluation Research Consultant on coding, analysis and interpretation for the primary research questions. The Qualitative Evaluation Research Consultant will support the PI to document the findings in a report and slide deck.
Deliverable: Nepali translation of executive summary of report and Nepali slide deck of key findings
Timeline and Level of Effort
February 15 to December 15, 2020 for a total of 10 months. The level of effort (LOE) is calculated according to the designated tasks, noted above. This scope of work should be completed in Nepal and will require travel to different parts of the country, particularly during data collection.
- Bachelors degree in the social sciences, with preference given for those with a masters or doctoral degree (3 points)
- Experience working on qualitative studies, with preference for prior experience on at-scale and/or multi-sectoral program evaluations (5 points)
- Previous qualitative research experience in Nepal including all steps of the process (tool development, training support, data collection, data management and analysis) (7 points)
- Previous experience working on a team and ability to work effectively across cultures, languages, and working styles (3 points)
- English writing and oral communication skills (2 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).