Nutrition Working Group Coordinator

Job posted by: GOAL - Ireland - Fri, 29 Aug 2014

Job Details:

Organisation: GOAL - Ireland

Deadline Sun, 21 Sep 2014

Job type: Contract

Location: Turkey

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As the Syrian conflict approaches its fourth year, the United Nations estimates that at least 6.4 million people have been displaced within Syria with a further 2.9 million refugees in neighbouring countries.  A combination of direct and indirect factors has led to an excess of 10.8 million people being classified as in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) level pre-crisis in Syria was 9.7%, although large variances were seen across Governorates with the average GAM rate in Hama shown as 13.5%. The level of stunting was also high at 22%. Pre-crisis micronutrient deficiencies were high- 39% of pregnant women presenting as anemic. Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices were also poor prior to the crisis.

Since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, very little data has been collected to determine the prevalence of malnutrition in Syria, yet as the Syrian conflict continues, nutrition coordination is essential to mitigate the potential of an escalating nutrition emergency. There is also need to enhance the nutrition sector response by improved coordination amongst humanitarian actors. With limited data available on current nutritional status; improvement of surveillance data and information sharing is essential to determine areas with high prevalence of acute malnutrition and improve referral mechanisms, and ensure a coordinated coherent response, through strengthened and engaged humanitarian actors. Concurrent to this, given the large Food Security Livelihoods (FSL) response into Northern Syria, which, at the Working Group level has extremely limited nutrition expertise, technical nutrition support is essential to complement and improve the FSL response. As the conflict continues, ensuring the correct nutrient composition of food baskets is increasingly important. 

To date, the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) Rapid Response Team conducted a scoping mission to Southern Turkey in 2013 to assess the nutrition situation and potential nutrition sector information-sharing mechanisms. As of  February 2014 it was estimated that four partners were currently implementing nutrition activities and a further nine organisations (possibly more) are implementing IYCF activities. Reports of distributions of breast-milk substitutes and other atypical nutrition responses have increased.
Job Purpose:
The Nutrition Working Group Coordinator will liaise, advocate and coordinate with a wide range of actors, to facilitate a timely and effective nutrition response in Syria, ensuring that the capacity of INGOs and Syrian organisations is strengthened to respond to, and coordinate, emergency nutrition interventions that demonstrate results and impact achieved.  Such interventions will focus on addressing any emerging situations of malnutrition as well as ensuring that strategies are in place to reduce the risk of malnutrition within FSL and other emergency response programmes.
Key Duties
Identification of key partners
Carry out capacity mapping of all current and potential actors (international and national organisations and local health care structures) to determine coverage of nutrition programme activities, strengths and areas of required support particularly in the areas of IYCF and management of acute and chronic malnutrition as well as micronutrient deficiencies.
Maintenance of  appropriate coordination mechanisms
Chair the informal nutrition working group on a bi-weekly basis which is inclusive to all partners and provides operational, technical and strategic space to strengthen the nutrition sector response for Northern Syria.
Organize logistics of the informal nutrition working group by setting date, time, location, maintaining mailing lists and disseminating meeting information. Encourage participation by stakeholders in preparing inputs into the agenda, taking minutes and information sharing.
Act as a focal point and collect information through regular meetings with key partners including: (i) nutrition actors implementing Nutrition in Emergencies (NiE) activities (ii) potential future nutrition actors (iii) coordination bodies, technical support organisations, donors and other stakeholders including private sector food suppliers.
Ensure strong linkages with other concerned working groups, particularly Health and Food Security and Livelihoods, through nutrition representation in their meetings and active exchanges of minutes to ensure all key stakeholders are kept informed.
Liaise with wider humanitarian coordination architecture such as the Inter Sector Coordination Group, NGO Forum, and Humanitarian Coordination Meetings to build linkages.
Information Sharing
With the Information Management Officer (IMO), improve nutrition surveillance by collating routine programme data from existing monitoring systems of organisations and sharing results anonymously as appropriate.
With the IMO, coordinate mapping of nutrition sector response through collation of 4W reports, in coordination with OCHA’s current mapping protocols. Analyse coverage and gaps in the nutrition sector and ensure there is no duplication, which will further inform resource mobilization amongst agencies.
Write situation updates for all stakeholders on NiE (with a focus on IYCF-E) to be included in Syria regional updates and general situation reports.
With the IMO, compile information on BMS donations, distribution sources and channels and estimated number of children beneficiaries and document any violations of the International Code of Marketing of BMS.
Training and capacity building
Ensure all nutrition partners have a good understanding of the cluster coordination approach.
Provide technical input to partners to ensure the optimal nutritional content of General Food Distribution Baskets for the Northern Syria response.
Promote and support training of humanitarian personnel and capacity building of humanitarian partners and those involved in breast milk substitute (BMS) distribution, based on the mapping and understanding of available capacity (esp. IYCF-E and WHO treatment protocols).
With the IMO, lead the development of standardised nutrition tools, guidelines, protocols, training and IEC materials, targeted to the response for Northern Syria particularly IYCF materials.
Explore opportunities to engage with the private sector who are the key suppliers of food items for this emergency response to ensure that there is a supply of appropriate and fortified foodstuffs available to NGOs.
Planning and Strategy Development
Ensure the incorporation of the nutrition sector into strategic response documents for the Northern Syria response (OCHA or NGO Forum led) including joint reports and appeals and contingency planning.
Work with Working Group Members to identify suppliers of quality therapeutic food and anthropometric equipment.
Develop and update working group strategy and contingency planning and preparedness for new emergencies, and ensure this is adequately reflected in the overall humanitarian country strategy and response plan.
Share nutrition briefings with donors and monthly situation analysis with the humanitarian community.
Identify core nutrition advocacy concerns, including resource requirements, and contribute key messages to the broader advocacy initiatives of the Humanitarian Liaison Group.
Ensure nutrition integration in other sector programming, largely with Health, Food Security and Livelihoods clusters.
Develop donor contacts and represent the interests of the nutrition sector in discussions with donors on the prioritization of needs and resource mobilization, with a particular emphasis on the importance of appropriate IYCF-E. Advocate to donors to fund nutrition partners to carry out priority nutrition activities.
Advocate at multiple levels to ensure all actors are familiar with the Operational Guidance on IYCF-E (embeds International Code of Marketing of BMS) and Sphere standards on IYCF-E. Widely disseminate the Joint Statement on IYCF-E in Northern Syria response and the Operational Guidance on IYCF-E.Any other responsibilities assigned to the Nutrition Working Group.
Person specification
Nutritionist with a Masters in Public Health or similar.
Five years + experience in humanitarian nutrition response at international and national level.
Previous experience of cluster participation (and leadership) at international and national level.
Strong understanding of nutrition sector and cluster approach.
Strong interpersonal, management, coordination and negotiating skills.
Strong presentation and analytical skills.
Strong planning and organisational skills.
Ability to meet deadlines and work independently.
Fluent in English and some Arabic also an advantage.

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