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Job related key information
Job Title: Programme Policy Officer, SC9 (Food Technologist and Fortification) Grade: SC9 Type of contract: Service Contract Duration: 12 months Duty Station: Dushanbe Vacancy Number: 170684 Date of Publication: 1 August 2022 Deadline of Application: 14 August 2022
Terms and conditions
WFP offers a competitive benefits package including salary, pension, leave, plus medical insurance
The Republic of Tajikistan is a low-income country with the population of about 9.5 million. Three quarters of the country’s population are found in rural areas. Despite the substantial achievement in reducing poverty from 81 percent in 1999 to 29.5 percent in 2019, the country continues to face challenges in food security and nutrition. Undernutrition in Tajikistan remain a public health problem with devastating short-term and long-term effects, especially among women, children, adolescents, and the elderly. Tajikistan remains the poorest country in Central Asia and the level of micronutrient deficiency in Tajikistan is a moderate to severe public health problem as per the definition of WHO. Over 40 percent of women and children are affected by anaemia; iodine deficiency rate is 60 percent for both women and children; prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency among women and children is 47 percent and 37 percent, respectively. Further, 5.6 percent and 17.5 percent of children below 5 years of age in the country are wasted and stunted, respectively.
Causes of undernutrition are multidimensional and can be attributed to economic and physical access to nutritious foods and behavioural practices among the population. According to the 2018 Cost of the Diet analysis, nutritious diets cost three times more than diets that meet minimum energy needs, and 29-56 percent of households across different regions of the country cannot afford a nutritious diet.
The Government of Tajikistan has identified food security and nutrition as one of the four strategic goals of the country in the National Development Strategy of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period from 2016 to 2030 (NDS-2030). The National Nutrition and Physical Activity Strategy 2015- 2024 has identified staple food fortification as among the effective measures to address hidden hunger in the context of Tajikistan, thus stimulating the government to adopt the Law on Food Fortification in 2019, with a focus on wheat flour. Subsequently, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Tajikistan prepared an action plan to fortify not only wheat flour, but also vegetable oil, yeast, dairy, juices, and other products. In addition, the government has approved the National Programme for Prevention of Micronutrient Deficiency and Related Diseases (2022-2027), which includes an action plan heavily prioritizing fortification.
Since 2004, food fortification has been on the global agenda of World Food Programme (WFP) through the sourcing and provision of fortified cereals, oils and salt for food distributions. WFP also plays a facilitating role in countries, connecting and supporting governments and private sector actors to fortify staple foods locally, as well as advocating for fortification in national and international policy.
In Tajikistan, WFP is currently operating under a Country Strategic Plan (CSP) 2019-2024, the duration for which will be shortened to end in 2022 whereby a new CSP 2023 – 2026 will commence in tandem with the new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) covering the same period. By means of the CSP, WFP is undertaking a strategic shift from direct implementation to enabling and strengthening capacities of national and sub-national institutions to deliver on their food security and nutrition priorities. WFP activities support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). The geographic scope of WFP Tajikistan operations encompasses the entirety of the country. In addition to the country office in Dushanbe, WFP has field offices located in Bokhtar, Gharm, Khorog, and Khujand to oversee operations in those specific regions.
Building from these resources, within Tajikistan, WFP is a strong advocate for national fortification of wheat flour and is currently supporting the realization of the 2019 Law on Food Fortification under the overall nutrition portfolio. These initiatives require enhanced capacity at the country office level and strong coordination with internal and external stakeholders.
The Programme Policy Officer (Food Technologist and Fortification) will oversee all aspects of the WFP food fortification initiatives, ensuring strong support and coordination for local fortification in a well-organized and sustainable manner.
KEY ACCOUNTABILITIES (not all-inclusive)
Technical supervision of the incumbent will rest with the food safety and quality team / fortification specialist(s) in WFP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific through official reporting lines. Within the duty station, the incumbent will be a member of the WFP Tajikistan nutrition team and will coordinate closely with the supply chain unit while reporting directly to the head of programme. The incumbent is expected to perform the following duties and responsibilities:
• Represent WFP in various technical forums with key government officials involved in fortification at the central and subnational level (e.g., Ministry of Health and Social Protection; Ministry of Industry and New Technologies; Agency of Standardization, Metrology, Certification and Trade Inspection; State Unitary Enterprise “Ghalla”, etc.); • Serve as main liaison to UN agencies, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, development partners and private sector stakeholders to ensure synergies with WFP’s fortification efforts are incorporated in project implementation and to engage in joint or complementary initiatives where possible; • Serve as main liaison to the Scaling Up Nutrition platform and the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network in relation to fortification; • Provide advisory and technical support to the government and private sector in designing and implementing the national fortification project through all relevant platforms; • Lead the implementation of the WFP fortification strategy in coordination with national government entities and private sector stakeholders and in line with national priorities and plans, such as the National Programme for Prevention of Micronutrient Deficiency and Related Diseases; • Ensure strong collaboration with partners (public, private, or civic) that lead to local fortification; • Facilitate learning exchanges among field offices, with other development partners and through South-South and triangular cooperation.
• Design and initiate pilot project(s) to facilitate fortification by 1) large-scale mills; 2) medium and small mills; and 3) government mills; • Assist in formulation of food safety and quality regulations, standard setting, codex compliance, etc; • Develop and deploy a capacity strengthening plan for hygiene practices across supply chains of fortified commodities, including needs identification, training plan preparation and development of indicators; • Develop a list of equipment and materials with detailed technical specifications and cost estimates for various infrastructure/assets required for fortification and testing in different contexts (e.g., size of mill, energy sources available, laboratory conditions, etc.) to support local mills and laboratories in their procurement processes;
• Provide support during the installation and validation of equipment and materials needed for fortification and testing;
Food Quality and Safety
• Become familiar with and create a plan to implement requirements established in the WFP Food Safety and Quality Guidelines within the operations of the country; • Familiarize and contribute towards the development and implementation of protocols and tools relating to food technology issues, ensuring alignment with WFP strategy, policies and plans; • Facilitate the process for finalization and approval of a standard for fortified wheat and other foods as relevant; • Collate and analyse data and contribute to the preparation of reports relating to food quality and safety, to inform risk management and mitigation and contribute to a WFP-wide view of food technology activities; • Prepare evidenced based recommendations for senior staff on control measures to combat and reduce food quality and safety issues; • Improve services provided by inspection and superintendence companies and analytical service providers so that they meet WFP needs and align with international scopes of work and requirements; • Provide technical review and capacity strengthening of the food safety and quality systems of the subsidized food supply chain. (This may include commodities at farmers, storage, transport, sales depots, etc.); • Collaborate with the regional fortification specialists and food security quality assurance team on product improvement in areas of fortification, shelf-life studies, improved production process and packaging needs, based on the country’s geographical and programme areas;
• Coordinate with field offices and the Communication, Advocacy, and Marketing unit to develop success stories, fact sheets, information packets, social media posts, mass media pieces, and other advocacy and information sharing materials for a wide range of audiences as relates to fortification; • Support the nutrition team in developing relevant social and behaviour change communication activities targeting communities in relation to understanding the benefits of consuming fortified foods; • Update cost-benefit analysis regarding fortification of diverse foods, as necessary; • Lead resource mobilization efforts to ensure available funds for future fortification projects and activities; • Oversee budget implementation and expenditure plans, tracking actual expenditures, and provide updates through the resource management committee forum, highlighting shortages and status of progress, and providing recommendations on such; • Create an inclusive work environment through respectful and constructive communication and holding self and other team members accountable for their actions; • Hold regular meetings and/or use other innovative and effective ways to ensure proper information sharing and communication within the team/staff members;
• Support the implementation of the WFP Tajikistan Country Strategic Plan through ensuring cross-cutting efforts such as nutrition-sensitivity, gender and diversity inclusion, protection and accountability, and linkages with other activities, including resilience and capacity development are integrated (as relevant) into all aspects of work; • Perform all duties and functions of an officer as relevant to internal WFP processes and procedures in accordance with all deadlines (e.g., potential partner proposals, field level agreements, and service provision processes and contracts; invoice/transfers clearances; corporate systems such as WINGS/COMET; monthly deliverables such as mission plans, country brief inputs and bank forecast inputs; responding to official letters requesting support or information; serving as hiring manager; etc.); • Any other tasks as needed.
STANDARD MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS
• Advanced university degree in agriculture engineering, food science/technology, food processing/engineering, public health, or other related field; or • First university degree with additional years of related work experience and/or trainings/courses.
• At least 3 years of postgraduate professional experience in food science/technology (or related field), or 5 years of experience with first university degree; • In-depth knowledge of food fortification; • Hands-on experience working in the milling sector, food industry, or relevant field, especially in the areas of scale up and process validation; • Demonstrated understanding of food supply chains and processing; experience with private sector engagement and working in development setting would be an advantage; • Experience implementing fortification projects and has preferably worked on supply chain of agriculture inputs and commodities; • Strong experience working with UN agencies, government entities, or civil society in the fields of nutrition, public health, and/or social protection; • Engaged in high-level decisions regarding programme implementation and policy development; • Established relationships and engaged closely with external counterparts at the middle to high level management; • Strong and proven background in initiating and scaling-up innovative programming for sustainable development, preferably within the nutrition or agriculture sector.
Fluency (level C) in English, Tajik and Russian is required.
FUNCTIONAL CAPABILITIES AND COMPETENCIES
• Food quality management: provides guidance to team on the appropriate handling, storage, and preservation of food types to optimize use of resources; • Research and development: coordinates research on food properties and local needs using awareness of available resources (e.g., literature and research on public health); • Commodity knowledge: demonstrates thorough knowledge of food safety and quality and product optimization concepts and principles to implement protocols and tools to relating to food technology issues; • Incidence and risk communication management: demonstrates understanding of when to handle minor risks and/or escalate larger issues to appropriate authorities; • Ethics and compliance: demonstrates ability to collect, collate and report records relating to ethics and compliance to assist in the analysis of audit findings;
• Strategic policy engagement with government: develops thorough recommendations using multiple inputs (e.g., government counsel, research, own experience) to strengthen national or subnational entities and government owned food and nutrition security programmes; • Broad knowledge of specialized areas (e.g., nutrition, research, assessments, monitoring); • Strategic thinking: analyses and evaluates data and considers the impact of decisions; designs new and innovative ways of doing things (when relevant); • Action management: delivers results, delegates appropriately, adapts readily to change; • Partnering and teamwork: inclusive and collaborative, builds and shares new perspectives, gives timely and constructive feedback; • Self-starter: good organizational and project management skills and able to work with high degree of autonomy; • Strong communication and information-gathering skills; ability to engage with various stakeholders with maturity and tact, proven diplomacy and cultural sensitivity.
WFP is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce. WFP has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, abuse of authority or discrimination. All selected candidates will, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.
No appointment under any kind of contract will be offered to members of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), FAO Finance Committee, WFP External Auditor, WFP Audit Committee, Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and other similar bodies within the United Nations system with oversight responsibilities over WFP, both during their service and within three years of ceasing that service.
How to apply
Interested candidates should complete their applications on-line on WFP website on the following link:
Applicants will have to register and create on-line CVs to be able to apply. Hard copies of CVs or applications through e-mail will not be accepted. Please ensure that your application contains accurate and complete information.
The deadline for submission of applications is 14 August 2022.
Female candidates and individuals with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.