Food Technologist and Fortification Specialist (International Consultancy II) At World Food Programme


WFP encourages female candidates and people with disabilities to apply.

WFP seeks candidates of the highest integrity and professionalism who share our humanitarian principles. Selection of staff is made on a competitive basis. We are committed to promoting diversity and the principle of equal employment opportunity for all our employees and encourages qualified candidates to apply irrespective of religion or belief, ethnic or social background, gender, gender identity and disability.

JOB RELATED KEY INFORMATION

Job Title: Food Technologist and Fortification Specialist
Grade: CST II
Type of contract: Regular Consultancy
Duration: 11 months
Duty Station: Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Vacancy Number: 210044
Date of Publication: 28 December 2022
Deadline of Application: 15 January 2023

BACKGROUND

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 will commence its Country Strategic Plan 2023 – 2026 in tandem with the 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 subnational 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.

PURPOSE OF THE ASSIGNMENT

The Food Technologist and Fortification Specialist 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/RESPONSIBILITIES (not all-inclusive)

Within the duty station, the incumbent will coordinate closely with the head of programme unit, the head of nutrition team and the supply chain unit. Direct line supervision of the incumbent will rest with the outcome manager for human development in the WFP country office with further technical support and guidance being provided by the food safety and quality / fortification team in the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific through official reporting lines. The incumbent is expected to perform the following duties and responsibilities:

External Coordination
• 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.);
• Provide advisory and technical support to the government and private sector in designing and implementing the national fortification project through all relevant platforms and for all relevant documents, guidance, and policy formulations;
• Lead the development and 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) to facilitate fortification at a localised level;
• Work closely with the Government of Tajikistan and international financial institutions on the potential setting up of the revolving fund to support premix procurement and food fortification project implementation;
• Facilitate learning exchanges among field offices, with other development partners and through South-South and triangular cooperation;

Capacity Strengthening
• 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 the 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;
• Guide and support WFP staff in the country and field offices on appropriate protocols as relates to fortification, food safety and quality and expectations for private/public implementers of fortification, showcasing global best practices and case studies;

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 WFP’s regional and headquarters-based food fortification advisors, food safety and quality team,and food security quality assurance team on product improvement in areas of fortification, shelf-life studies, improved production process and packaging needs, based on Tajikistan’s geographical and programme areas;

Internal Implementation
• Provide timely situational updates to supervisors and senior management to ensure effective decision-making as well as required external support;
• 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;
• Oversee the updating of a cost-benefit analysis regarding fortification of diverse foods, as necessary;
• Develop concept notes and proposals related to food fortification, leading resource mobilization and advocacy 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 among the team/staff members;
• Support the implementation of the WFP Tajikistan country strategic plan through by 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 following 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

Experience:

• At least 5 years of postgraduate professional experience in food science/technology (or related field).
• 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 upscale-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 the 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.

Education:

• Advanced university degree in food and bioprocess engineering agriculture engineering, food science/ biotechnology, food processing/engineering, public health, or another related field; or
• First university degree with additional years of related work experience and/or trainings/courses.

Languages:

• Fluency (level C) in English is required.
• Working knowledge in Tajik or Russian is desirable.

Functional Capabilities and Competencies
• Food quality management: provides guidance to team on the appropriate handling, storage, and preservation of food types to optimize the 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 relating to food technology issues;
• 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 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 a 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:

https://career5.successfactors.eu/sfcareer/jobreqcareer?jobId=210044&company=C0000168410P

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 15 January 2023.

Female candidates and individuals with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.