Consultancy – Development of SBCC Strategy for improving the Minimum Dietary Diversity of Women and Infant and Young Child Feeding At Save the Children

Child Safeguarding

Level 3- The responsibilities of the post may require the post holder to have regular contact with children or young people and, in the overseas context, all posts are considered to be level 3 posts in view of potential situations which may allow staff unsupervised access to vulnerable children and young people.


Malnutrition is responsible for about 45% of all child deaths globally. Over a decade of sustained humanitarian crisis in North-East Nigeria has contributed to high levels of poverty and poor nutritional status of women and children (OCHA, 2020). Based on a baseline survey (2021) carried out by Mercy Corps, the results revealed poor dietary diversity among women of reproductive age group living in Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe with only 37.4% of them meeting the Minimum Dietary Diversity. Dietary Diversity assesses the quality of macro and micronutrient consumption. Multiple indicator cluster survey (2017) shows low exclusive breastfeeding rate with only 21.3% of children being exclusively breastfed in the northeast region. Maternal and child’s nutrition in the first 2 years of life (1000 days) are crucial factors in a child’s survival, overall nutrition status, neurodevelopment and lifelong mental health. Dietary diversity is essential for the availability of essential nutrients in the body for growth and development especially in children and for healthy outcomes even in pregnant and lactating women.

Though various Humanitarian Organizations have been implementing interventions aimed at reducing the burden of malnutrition among women and children, temporospatial analysis of trends indicate no significant improvement and/or worsening conditions in some locations (North East IPC Analysis, 2020). The causes could be attributed to a combination of factors including: insufficient access to quality diverse and nutritious foods, gender inequity in household decision-making, cultural beliefs and practices that detract from appropriate maternal, infant and young child feeding and care practices, the mental health status of mothers, the impact of COVID-19 and persistent insecurity and displacement of populations leading to a loss of their means of livelihood.

To address this gap and improve the dietary diversity of women, as well as improve infant and young child feeding and care practices and the nutrition status, there is an urgent need to develop a social and behavioural change intervention strategy that identifies other barriers, addresses some of the barriers to optimum feeding practices among households in North-East Nigeria.

Save the children in collaboration with Mercy Corps is seeking the services of a Consultant to design a social and behavioural change strategy to promote minimum dietary diversity for women and children thus improving the infant and young child feeding and care practices in North-East Nigeria. Through this, the cultural barriers that influence infant and care practices negatively will be demystified. This measure is expected to contribute to the overall goal of the project: reducing the burden of malnutrition among women and children.

Project Description

North-East Nigeria has one of the worst indices in nutrition and health among mothers and their children in Nigeria. To address this gap, Mercy Corps (MC) and its consortium partners International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) and Save the Children are implementing a 5 –year Feed the Future Rural Resilience Activity (RRA) project that will directly benefit more than 90,000 households across the four states of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe.

Rural Resilience Activities aims to bring economic recovery and resilience among vulnerable populations in conflict-affected areas of North-East Nigeria. to the activities will also stimulate resilience among populations whose sources of livelihood and other systems needed for livelihood and sustainability have been destroyed. Through these activities, an estimated 90,000 households will be moved out of poverty and malnutrition that greatly affects the potentials for these populations.

Purpose of Social and Behavioral Change Intervention.

The Rural Resilience Activity intends to conduct an impactful social and behavioural change intervention needed to improve the minimum dietary diversity for women and infant and young child feeding. These activities are to be conducted in four states – Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe states in a total of twenty-one (21) Local Government Areas. Seven LGAs in Adamawa (Gombi, Hong, Song, Mubi North, Mubi South, Yola North, and Yola South), three LGAs in Borno (Biu, Hawul, and Kwaya-Kusar), six LGAs in Gombe (Akko, Dukku, Kwami, Bajoga, Biliri, and Gombe), and five LGAs in Yobe (Jakusko, Nangere, Damaturu, Nguru, and Potiskum).

It is assumed that with improved and consistent, context-specific education and communication on best practices for nutrition, mothers and other members of the family/community will be knowledgeable on the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, appropriate complementary feeding practices, the benefits of diversified dietary consumption and locally available nutritious foods that can improve the dietary diversity and intake. Improvement in the minimum dietary diversity of women as well an improvement in infant and young child feeding translates to improved nutritional status of mothers and children and a reduction in the burden of malnutrition and its consequences among vulnerable populations in North-East Nigeria.

Location and official travel involved.

The Supplier will work full time in the SCI Yobe Field Office location. Regular office hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Sunday. Office space will be provided but the consultant is responsible for bringing his/her own IT equipment. The consultant may be required to travel to other locations. Any required travel will need pre-approval by SCI in accordance with SCI’s Travel Policy and applicable RO/CO Expense Policy.

Consultant Objectives

The overall goal for this consultancy is to develop a social and behavioural change communication strategy aimed at improving the nutrition status of women, infants and young children and their dietary diversity.

Consultant Activities.

The consultant will:

i. Conduct a desk review to establish the existing practices that affect the dietary intake and diversification in the respective states

ii. Conduct formative research to identify barriers, behaviour boosters/motivators, channels of communication that is responsive to different population groups, identify patterns of messaging that promote behaviours.

iii. Develop a Social and behaviour change communication strategy and identify interventions that will bring change and improve dietary diversity

iv. Develop key and supporting messages that are needed to educate women/caregivers on dietary diversity

v. Develop a contextualized social and behavioural change implementation plan for the respective States

vi. Develop, customize and contextualize key and supporting messages on appropriate maternal, infant and young child nutrition.

vii. Develop the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that will guide the implementation of each intervention identified

Consultant Deliverables

The Consultant will:

i. Submit an Inception Report according to the standard template that includes a detailed work plan for TAs review and sign-off for the start of data collection, methodology of the Formative Research and data tools.

ii. Submit a Report of the Formative Research.

iii. Develop a social and behavioural change (SBCC) strategy that will guide the implementation in the four states.

iv. Based on the strategy, he/she will develop an SBCC training implementation plan on IYCF and dietary diversity and so as to improve maternal, infant and young child feeding practices in the targeted communities.

v. The final report should be written in English and submitted within the time frame using the project approved reporting template.

vi. PowerPoint Presentation of key end line findings.

vii. All documentation including raw data gathered during the survey should be handed to SCI before the consultant’s work is certified complete.

viii. Review/ develop SOPs in line with the context for each state

ix. Hold consultations with the relevant stakeholders

x. Submit the final copies of the SBCC strategy, developed/ reviewed SOPs and an implementation plan

Ethical Considerations

It is expected that this assessment will be:

§ Child participatory. Where appropriate and safe, children should be supported to participate in the evaluation process beyond simply being respondents. Opportunities for collaborative participation could include involving children in determining success criteria against which the project could be evaluated, supporting children to collect some of the data required for the evaluation themselves, or involving children in the validation of findings. Any child participation, whether consultative, collaborative or child-led, must abide by the 9 basic requirements for meaningful and ethical child participation. Refer to the Practice Standards in Children’s Participation (International Save the Children Alliance 2005).**

§ Inclusive. Ensure that children and adults from different ethnic, social and religious backgrounds have the chance to participate, as well as children and adults with disabilities and children/adults who may be excluded or discriminated against in their community.**

§ Ethical: The evaluation/research must be guided by the following ethical considerations:**

o Safeguarding – demonstrating the highest standards of behaviour towards children and adults.**

o Sensitive – to child rights, gender, inclusion and cultural contexts.**

o Openness – of information given, to the highest possible degree to all involved parties.**

o Confidentiality and data protection – measures will be put in place to protect the identity of all participants and any other information that may put them or others at risk. **

o Public access – to the results when there are no special considerations against this**

o Broad participation – the relevant parties should be involved where possible.**

o Reliability and independence – the evaluation/research should be conducted so that findings and conclusions are correct and trustworthy.**

It is expected that:

§ Data collection methods will be age and gender appropriate.**

§ Assessment activities will provide a safe, creative space where children feel that their thoughts and ideas are important. **

§ A risk assessment will be conducted that includes any risks related to children, young people, or adult’s participation. **

§ A referral mechanism will be in place in case any child safeguarding or protection issues arise.**

§ Informed consent will be used where possible.**

§ The consultant will not be required to obtain approval from a Human Research Ethics Committee. Save the Children will work with the relevant agency and provide assistance with this process.

§ The consultant will not be required to obtain approval from a Human Research Ethics Committee. Save the Children will work with the relevant agency and provide assistance with this process.

Proposed Timeframe / Schedule:

The following table identifies the key activities and estimated timeframe for the contract:


  1. Background Planning – 4 days – remote
  2. Review of literature on existing Social and Behavioral Change interventions on MDD-W and IYCF – 5 days – remote
  3. Train team and conduct Formative Research – 10 days – remote
  4. Develop a Social and Behavioral Change communication strategy and SOPs to guide the implementation of an identified interventions to improve dietary diversity and IYCF – 10 days – in person
  5. Debriefing with the consortium partners – 1 day – in person

The timeframe will be 30 days depending on the proposed methodology and work plan.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience required.

· A relevant master degree in Health, Nutrition, or related field Minimum of 10 years of experience designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluation of food security, maternal child health and nutrition

· Postgraduate qualifications in Nutrition.

· At least 8years of work experience in Social and Behavioral Change and Communications (At least two relevant reports of previous work carried out and successfully completed to be shared).

· Specialist in maternal-infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN), prevention and treatment of malnutrition, and food security in development and emergency context.

· Proven experience in strategy/curriculum development for health, nutrition and agriculture for community-level volunteers.

· Excellent writing skills in reports, research briefs, and multi-media communication platforms

Technical Supervision for this work will be provided by the Head of Health and Nutrition, Save the Children, Nigeria. She will approve the deliverables and any questions or queries should be directed to her.

The Consultant will be working with the project teams in the field as well as with the Nutrition focal person from Mercy Corps, Nigeria.

Expression of Interest and Application Requirement.

Responses to this Request for proposal should be submitted within the stated time on the advert. Offers received after this date and time will not be accepted for consideration. Please note that due to the urgency of the request applications will be assessed on receipt and appointment made once a suitable candidate is identified.

Please note that no telephone inquiries will be answered.

In order to be considered, Expressions of Interest on a proposal should outline the following:

  1. Capability Statement – not to exceed three pages, indicating past experience in leading on similar strategy document development
  2. Samples of consultancies and strategies developed

3. Client list

  1. CVs of team member (s)
  2. References – names, company or organization, contact information – of three recent (within the past 2 years) companies that you have consulted for in this capacity
  3. Technical proposal describing how the requirements of the Terms of Reference will be met within the given timeframe.
  4. Budget – detailed budget for the above scope(s) of work (broken down into labour cost or personnel costs with an explanation of how the unit costs were reached detailed travel costs and other direct costs). The budget must be submitted and Unit costs, the number of units and unit description must be provided. Please also indicate any overhead fees if applicable. Please provide a breakdown of costs included in the overhead charges. The budget must be in Naira.

Technical Scores – 60 points max

  1. Understanding and experience of the tasks outlined in ToR; methodology/approach, realistic timeline, details of actions – 20 points
  2. Institutional experience in Northern Nigeria or similar context – 20 points
  3. Lead consultants experience and CV – 40 points

Financial Scores – 40 points max

Following completion of the technical review, the Selection Committee will evaluate relevant cost proposals. Committee will take into consideration clarity and accuracy of the budget presentation, details of the budget and budget notes, and cost-effectiveness.

Evaluation criteria

Only consultants that score ALL Yes under the essential criteria evaluation will progress to the capability evaluation stage.

Experience and skill set required

Individual consultants who respond to the tender must meet the following criteria:

Essential Criteria


Agrees to comply with Save the Children standard policies and procedures as stated in the RFQ or Invitation to Tender (ITT) document

A ‘no’ in either of these boxes will result in immediate disqualification.

Successfully completed a bachelor’s degree in a relevant area, such as social sciences, development studies, or in specific technical areas such as education, public health, nutrition, food security, etc.

Provides a CV and cover letter, explaining relevant experience and relevant reports of previous work

Provides brief description and evidence (attached copies) of up to 4 relevant services provided to other actors (either INGOs, International Organisations or donors), including the year of service and an official email address to contact as a reference

Capability Criteria (technical)

Max. 100

Evidence of a minimum of three years experience designing and carrying out high-quality assessments, baseline, mid-terms and endline studies, and mid-term and final evaluations, for one or more of the following thematic areas:

· Child protection,

· Education,

· Health and Nutrition,

15 points

Evidence of experience working in development and/or humanitarian settings

5 points

Evidence shows strong training and experience in quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and analysis

10 points

Evidence of knowledge and experience with a range of statistical and qualitative data managing software and approaches (such as SPSS, EPI Info, Stata, NVivo, Atlasti, KOBO Toolbox, ODK or other similar software)

10 points

Evidence proves strong command of the English language, both written and verbal with strong report writing and documentation skills

10 points

Evidence of working experience in Nigeria or similar contexts

5 points

Provided brief description (200 words or less) of steps the consultant will take to ensure the quality of the services you would provide is of consistently high standards

[10 marks for providing a highly satisfactory response, 5 marks for a satisfactory response, and zero marks for not providing one or providing an unsatisfactory response]

10 points

Provided brief description (200 words or less) on experience in inclusive and ethical child participatory methods of data collection

[10 marks for providing a highly satisfactory response, 5 marks for a satisfactory response, and zero marks for not providing one or providing an unsatisfactory response]

10 points

During the interview, the consultant demonstrates in-depth knowledge of assessments, studies and evaluations, in terms of their design and implementation, which will be assessed and scored by a panel of experts

15 points

Payment information.

Consultant’s fees shall be paid as per the contract. The break-down of payment shall be based thus:

· 30% upon signature of contract and submission of quality and acceptable inception report

· 70% upon submission of standard quality and acceptable final report.

SCI reserves the right to withhold payment if deliverables do not meet the requirements outlined in this Terms of Reference and surveys/ evaluations standards*.*

In addition to the fees stated above, the followings are reimbursable costs:

  • Transportation Cost: Flight cost shall be paid based on submission of flight ticket/receipts. Transportation to and from the airport shall be paid based on the submission of the invoice. Other than flight, inter-state travel to Maiduguri shall be based on SCI mileage.
  • Enumerator Fee: SCI to cover all related costs for enumerators
  • Accommodation: This shall be provided to the Lead Consultant and co-consultant or reimbursement will be made to the consultant for accommodation (subject to submission of hotel receipt/invoice). The reimbursement for accommodation shall be in line with the SCI rate.
  • Per Diem: This shall be provided as per SCI rate for the number of days the consultant spends in the field
  • Car Hire: This shall be provided only for the number of days of fieldwork

The Organisation

We employ approximately 25,000 people across the globe and work on the ground in over 100 countries to help children affected by crises, or those that need better health care, education and child protection. We also campaign and advocate at the highest levels to realize the right of children and to ensure their voices are heard.

We are working towards three breakthroughs in how the world treats children by 2030:

  • No child dies from preventable causes before their 5th birthday
  • All children learn from quality basic education and that,
  • Violence against children is no longer tolerated

We know that great people make a great organization and that our employees play a crucial role in helping us achieve our ambitions for children. We value our people and offer a meaningful and rewarding career, along with a collaborative and inclusive workplace where ambition, creativity, and integrity are highly valued.

Save the Children is committed to ensuring that all our personnel and programmes are absolutely safe for children.

We undertake rigorous procedures to ensure that only people suitable to work with children are allowed to join our organization and all candidates will, therefore, be subject to this scrutiny.

We need to keep children safe so our selection process reflects our commitment to the protection of children from abuse.

Applicants are advised that Save the Children International does not require any payment or expense during the entire recruitment process. Any request in this direction should be immediately reported as it is contrary to the values and practices of our organization.

Due to the volume of applications received, Save the Children may not provide feedback to all applicants. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as applications will be reviewed as received. Save the Children reserves the right to change the closing date, if considered necessary.

How to apply

Interested candidate(s) should submit an expression of interest (technical proposal describing how the requirements of the Terms of Reference will be met within the given timeframe, budget, CV(s) of lead evaluator/team, 1-3 samples of relevant work) to