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Oxfam Novib is looking for a Gender and Nutrition research consultant

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Sanne Bakker

Policy Advisor Nutrition with Oxfam Novib

Normal user

4 Aug 2017, 14:22

- Consultancy for research on the role of women and gender review of FFS curriculum -

1. Background and rationale

The ‘Sowing Diversity=Harvesting Security’ (hereafter, SD=HS) Programme (2013-2018), funded by the Swedish Development Cooperation (Sida) and the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, is a global programme implemented by 8 consortium partners in 5 countries, and led by Oxfam Novib.
The objectives of the SD=HS Programme are:
• To uphold, strengthen and mainstream the rights and technical capacities of indigenous peoples and smallholder farmers, and
• To influence local to global policies and institutions on the access to and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and nutrition security under conditions of climate change.

The programme works with smallholder farmers, Civil Society Organizations, local, provincial and relevant national government departments (e.g. Ministries of Agriculture, Gender and Community Development, Health and Child Welfare), national and international gene banks, research institutes and international breeding institutes. The SD=HS Programme is implemented through an integrated pillar approach: Pillar 1 – Scaling up models; Pillar 2 – Farmer Seed Enterprises; Pillar 3 – Women, Seeds and Nutrition; and Pillar 4 – Governance and Knowledge Systems. Pillar 3 of the SD=HS Programme is implemented in Peru, Zimbabwe, Myanmar and North-Vietnam, guided by the objective: “to empower women to reclaim their role in food security through strengthening their capacity in seed management and nutrition and global policy engagement to claim their Right to Food.”

Considering the above, SD=HS supports and helps build women-focused Farmer Field Schools (FFS), to strengthen women’s role in food and nutrition security and address seeds production and community exchanges. The Farmer Field Schools are a tried, tested and proven method of empowering farmers. Women collectively learn to define problems, seek solutions and set targets. With the support of scientists and local extension staff, farmers acquire plant breeding and selection skills, and they test the seeds of new varieties and share their observations on these seeds. Together with farmers, local partner organizations and researchers, Oxfam Novib has developed 2 Farmer Field School Curricula:
1. FFS on Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) and Participatory Variety Selection (PVS) - (Pillar 1 curriculum)
2. FFS on Nutrition and local Biodiversity – (Pillar 3 curriculum)
The curricula are based on adult learning principles.
Oxfam Novib wishes to ensure that the pedagogy in the FFS is based on a strong gender analysis and includes a women empowerment component. The FFS curricula should adequately take into account women’s knowledge and needs in food production, procurement, preparation and nutrition. The activities in the curricula should tackle gender inequalities and discrimination where needed and benefit equally women and men. Therefore, the SD=HS Programme is looking for a consultant to conduct a gender review of the two FFS curricula used by the SD=HS programme in Zimbabwe.

The FFS curricula aim to address two drivers of food and nutrition insecurity for which research evidence is limited:
• The seasonal hunger/scarcity and coping mechanisms- Poverty is also driven by seasonal cycles, worsening particularly in the preharvest months. During this ‘‘hunger season’’, household food stocks from the last harvest begin to dwindle. Household level food deficits result in general shortages at the local economy level, so the food that is available is sold at inflated price. At the same time, it is difficult to find work as labor markets tend to be flooded given the availability of labor during this agricultural season. Households are forced to resort to a number of coping mechanisms such as to reduce the diversity and quantity of their meals, which sets the stage for macro- and micronutrient deficiencies. Some of the coping strategies poor households adopt in order to survive, such as mortgaging or selling their land and other assets, result in further spiraling in to poverty. The psychological effects of these challenges are intense, as family members often experience elevated levels of anxiety and stress in the hunger season. Women are especially affected, as their responsibilities often comprise both production, income-generating activities and care for other household members. Since the preharvest hunger season can also be the rainy season, infectious diseases are more prevalent. All these challenges together at specific times of year generates seasonal patterns of hunger and undernutrition. This vulnerability of nutrition to regular weather cycles provides a stark indicator of the vulnerability of certain population to the weather extremes that climate change could unleash. According to the Pillar 3 baseline survey, 40% of the household in SD=HS communities faced a hunger period in the past year. Owing to the seasonality of agriculture, seasonal hunger is an important feature of food and nutrition insecurity, which tends to be overlooked by policy makers and not factored in food insecurity statistics. In fact, seasonal hunger tends to gain attention only when exacerbated by natural or human-made calamities.
• Intrahousehold food distribution – Food insecure households do not have enough food to meet the energy and nutrient needs of all of their members. Depending on patterns of intra-household distribution, at least one member of a food insecure household is always hungry but, potentially, all members are. Additionally, adequate food availability at the household level does not necessarily imply that all members of a household enjoy access to enough quantify and quality of food. In particular, women and children often suffer from inequalities in intra-household food distribution.

A better understanding is needed of the perceptions and practices of SD=HS communities related to seasonal hunger, coping mechanisms and intrahousehold food distribution, with a specific focus on the role of women. This would help the SD=HS programme to tailor interventions aiming to reduce the duration and intensity of the hunger period, and design methods for FFSs to assess the impact of the hunger season on households and communities in a participatory manner.

2. Aim

The aim of this consultancy is to i) contribute to filling the gap in research and understanding of seasonal hunger, coping mechanisms and intra-household food distribution by conducting a literature review and field research with SD=HS communities in Zimbabwe and to ii) to conduct a gender review of the FFS curricula used by SD=HS in Zimbabwe to ensure that they address women’s needs and follow a gender-transformative approach .

3. Objectives and scope

The consultant is expected to write a research report based on the following activities:
I. A literature review of the existing literature on seasonal hunger, coping mechanisms and intrahousehold food distribution, with special focus on literature describing these concepts in Zimbabwean/Southern-Africa context. The review should include a minimum of (but not limited to) 25 articles . A brief literature review conducted by the SD=HS team in April 2017 on these topics can be used a starting point. The SD=HS project proposal, Pillar 1&3 baseline survey reports, FFS curricula and SD=HS briefing note should be included as well. Oxfam Novib can support access to literature at the request of specific scientific articles.

II. Field research to elucidate the perceptions and practices of SD=HS communities in Zimbabwe related to seasonal hunger, coping mechanisms and intrahousehold food distribution, with a specific focus on the role of women. This field research should answer the following study questions:
Definition and perception of seasonal hunger
a. How do local communities describe duration, frequency, time and nature of the hunger period?
b. Which type of food shortages (types, quality, quantity) are experienced throughout the year? Which type of food shortages cause most stress on the households in general and women in particular?
c. Can the hunger period be defined by the severity of coping mechanisms that are used (which could indicate the level of food insecurity) ?
d. When would farmers perceive their food and nutrition security to be improved during the hunger period? How to construct measures to monitor changes using a participatory approach?
Intra-household food distribution
e. What is the common pattern for food distribution within the household? What are the determinants of this pattern? What are the variations on this pattern (e.g. for different meals, or different foods)?
f. Who decides how food will be distributed and who is the one actually distributing the food?
g. How does the hunger season affect the food distribution pattern? How does seasonal hunger affect women differently from men in terms of stress and anxiety and time allocation of daily activities?
Coping mechanisms
h. What are the specific coping mechanisms and investment strategies (to prevent suffering from the hunger period) undertaken by various household members, across households with different socio-economic status? And why? Which priorities are set? Which preferences are taken into account? How are women/men/children positively or negatively affected by these strategies?
Findings of the field research should be validated with the communities.

III. Use the findings of I and II for a thorough gender review of the FFS curriculum on PPB/PVE and the FFS curriculum on Biodiversity and Nutrition. The review should
1. assess whether the curriculum addresses women’s needs and challenges, and
2. identify opportunities for building gender awareness among other community members and women’s leadership in FFS curricula and
3. provide recommendations on how to make the curricula more gender-transformative, these should include specific text recommendations and exercises for the curricula.

IV. Presentation of results at a workshop to share and validate the findings with key stakeholders in the field of gender and food and nutrition security in Harare, Zimbabwe.

V. Contribution to the module on Gender relations for the FFS curricula, in the form of active participation in a workshop (one full working day) with Oxfam Novib and CTDT programme staff. During this day, the findings of the research will be translated into the outline for the module, objectives and exercise(s).

The main emphasize of the assignment is on point II and III. The research will be conducted in close coordination with Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT), the local partner for SD=HS in Zimbabwe. CTDT is implementing SD=HS in 8 districts of Zimbabwe namely: Goromonzi, Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe, Chiredzi, Tsholotsho, Rushinga, Mudzi, Matobo and Mt Darwin.

4. Deliverables

After being selected, the consultant is expected to
- Prepare a workplan, including timeline for review and approval by the SD=HS team . The workplan should include a clear summary and analysis of the literature review, and based on that, a proposed framework and detailed methodology for the field research and subsequent gender review of the FFS curricula. The consultant is expected to revise the workplan on basis of comments received from the SD=HS team and submit a final version of the workplan within the first month of the project. This includes a (Skype) meeting with the SD=HS team in The Hague (deliverable 1);

- Present the findings of the literature review, field research and gender review of FFS curricula in a validation workshop with key stakeholders in the field of gender and food and nutrition security in Harare, Zimbabwe (deliverable 2);

- Contribute to the development of a module on Gender relations for the FFS curricula, in the form of active participation to a workshop (one full working day) with Oxfam Novib and CTDT programme staff (deliverable 3);

- Allow for two comment and revision rounds by the SD=HS team, and other experts at Oxfam Novib, on the full report and improve the text accordingly before submitting the final report within 4 months after the start of the project. This includes a mid-way (Skype) meeting to discuss progress with the SD=HS seeds team.

The final report, submitted in both hard and soft copy will be no longer than 40 pages, excluding table of content, list of acronyms, annexes and references. The final report should include:
I. summary and analysis of the literature review (max. 10 pages)
II. findings of the field research addressing each of the research questions listed above for seasonal hunger, coping mechanisms and intrahousehold food distribution (max. 15 pages), and
III. outcomes of the gender review of the FFS curricula and recommendations for integration of gender awareness and women leadership and gender transformative approach, including specific text recommendations and exercises for the curricula (max. 10 pages)

The report must be fully referenced. The consultant will be required to submit all references cited in the final report i.e. interview transcripts, completed questionnaires, audio- recordings, photos etc. (deliverable 4).

The consultant will work with the SD=HS team with support from Bert Visser, Scientific Advisor SD=HS, and Sanne Bakker, Policy Advisor Nutrition SD=HS, and will report to Gigi Manicad, Programme Leader SD=HS.

5. Preliminary planning and budget

Oxfam Novib will pay 20% after submission of deliverable 1, and the remaining 80% will be paid upon successful completion of the assignment (i.e. once all deliverables have been submitted to and approved by Oxfam Novib).

Time period and payment for each of the deliverables:

1 Workplan including i) summary and analysis of literature review ii) framework and methodology for field research and gender review of FFS curricula ii) timeline for activities
+ one (Skype) meeting SD=HS team
Within first month of the project 20% of payment
2 Presentation and workshop to share and validate the findings with key stakeholders in Harare (costs for venue, refreshments and transport for participants to be covered by Oxfam Novib separately).
3 Contribution to module on Gender relations for the FFS curricula (1 day)
4 Final report
+ mid-way (Skype) meeting to discuss progress, after the completion of data collection for the field research
Within 4 months from start 80% of payment

The total maximum budget available is 16.500 Euro’s (including VAT/applicable taxes) covering all costs associated with the assignment (with the exclusion of travel to visit SD=HS communities in Goromonzi, Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe, Chiredzi, Tsholotsho, Rushinga, Mudzi, Matobo or Mt Darwin, which will be organized by CTDT and costs will be covered by Oxfam Novib). We invite candidate consultants to submit a research plan that is competitive, of high quality, and which fits within the indicated budget.

6. Location

The literature review and preparation of the inception report can be done home-based. The field research, validation and presentation of the findings will be done in Zimbabwe.

7. Application requirements

The following should be included in applications:
• CV, proving relevant experience and/or diplomas
• At least one relevant and recent reference assignment previously performed by the consultant that is comparable in content, time and money.
• A research plan, including methodology and time planning based on this ToR
• Total price. Accompanied with a cost brake down in days or hours spend and the related fee & and an estimation of travel & subsistence costs .

Any question, remark or request for clarification can be send email with the subject line “Questions - consultancy research on the role of women” to and/or The questions will be answered within 5 working days.

Qualified researchers/consultants should submit their application by email with the subject line “Gender and Nutrition Consultant” to Sanne Bakker ( The closing date for application is 18 August 2017.

8. Selection and assessment

Only those applications that meet all application requirements will be assessed against the award criteria. The award criteria are assessed according to the following distribution of points:

Research plan Understanding of the assignment, technical quality, realistic planning, and suitable methodology 50 out of 100

- Post graduate university degree in social sciences, gender studies, development studies or equivalent
- A minimum of five years’ experience in similar assessments/research projects in Southern Africa
- Experience with gender analysis and gender mainstreaming
- Experience with Farmer Field Schools or adult learning\experimental learning
- Proven publication record
- Solid methodological and research skills?
- Ability to write clearly and concisely in English? 30 out of 100

Price 20 out of 100

9. Deadlines

The consultancy should start no later than 18 September 2017 and may take maximum 4 months from the start date to complete the assignment.

10. More information

More information on SD=HS can be found on

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