CARDNO PNDS – Nutrition and Food Security Specialist (MDF)- CD 18 November 2013.



      Nutrition and Food Security Specialist (MDF)

Job Reference Number

EMR/DP/MDF/Nutrition and Food Security Specialist

Job Type

International Development Assistance/Emerging Markets


Fixed Term

Job Location

Australasia; Asia; Timor Leste; Dili

Job Summary

​ With an official development assistance budget of approximately $125.7 million in 2013-14, Australia is the largest bilateral donor to Timor-Leste. In 2011, Australia and Timor-Leste signed a new partnership agreement founded on principles of mutual accountability and a commitment to reducing poverty. The agreement aligns the Australian aid program with the goals of Timor-Leste’s Strategic Development Plan, 2011-2030.

Timor-Leste has made significant progress to establish a vibrant democracy, improve stability and build its economy since gaining independence in 2002.  However, although technically a middle-income country (owing to petroleum resources), its nutrition indicators are among the worst in the world. Various immediate, underlying and basic causes appear to contribute.

Under the leadership of the President of Timor-Leste, the Government is considering joining the international Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.

As a major bilateral development partner already engaged in a number of key social and economic sectors, Australian Aid is ideally placed to promote better nutrition in Timor-Leste – and indeed, Australian Aid already supports a number of interventions that contribute to better nutrition. Working closely with the Government of Timor-Leste, Australian Aid has major programs of support in health, education, governance, rural development (including water and sanitation) and community development. The areas of most direct relevance to nutrition and food security are: rural WASH, agriculture, and health. A new program, the Market Development Facility (MDF), could also play a role to improve the private sector’s contribution to food security. In looking for ways to make a bigger impact on nutrition outcomes, Australian Aid Timor-Leste is considering using nutrition outcomes as ‘flagship’ indicators for the country program. The head of Australian Aid is committed to leading the entire team in raising the profile of nutrition in dialogue with Timor-Leste. He will also require sectoral programs to show how their programs affect nutrition outcomes and/or the immediate, underlying or basic factors that affect nutrition outcomes.


Key Responsibilities


(i) The nutrition and food security Specialist will lead and guide Australian Aid’s multi-sectoral response to Timor-Leste’s nutrition challenges by:

  • Leading Australian Aid’s nutrition and food security policy dialogue with Government of Timor-Leste;
    Commissioning, synthesizing and interpreting analyses to advance Australian Aid’s understanding of nutrition and food security in Timor-Leste;
  • Ensuring nutrition and food security concerns are appropriately integrated within Australian Aid Timor-Leste strategies and programs, during both design and M&E;
  • Coordinating on nutrition and food security within Australian Aid Timor-Leste and with other partners; and
  • Providing technical advice on nutrition and food security to Australian Aid Timor-Leste and helping Australian Aid Timor-Leste staff gain technical knowledge.


Tasks in each of these areas (1 – 5) will include:

  1. Policy dialogue
    • Lead Australian Aid Timor-Leste’s policy dialogue on nutrition and food security at senior levels, including with Government of Timor-Leste Ministers;
    • Represent Australian Aid in multi-sector nutrition and food security dialogue, including meetings of the Permanent Technical Secretariat of KONSSANTIL;
    • Advocate development and adoption of evidence-based strategies by Timor-Leste ministries (e.g. MAF nutrition/agriculture strategy);
    • Take the lead in providing Australian Aid responses to invitations to comment on Timor-Leste draft strategy document (e.g. the draft national nutrition strategy).
  2. Commissioning, synthesizing and interpreting analyses
    • Lead Australian Aid Timor-Leste’s on-going analysis of Timor-Leste’s nutrition situation, bringing together the findings of on-going and planned analyses led by various actors (see Annex 1) and interpreting them systematically and holistically;
    • Advise on commissioning additional analyses where required, liaise with and where necessary, supervise consultants/contractors.
  3. Strategies and programs
    • Based on the above analyses and policy dialogue, and in consultation with Australian Aid Timor-Leste colleagues in all sectors, set out a theory of change for nutrition and food security (to form a key part of the new Country Strategy). Based on the theory of change, work closely with Australian Aid Timor-Leste colleagues in relevant sectors to develop and update their sector strategies and programs;
    • Produce a concise written synthesis of the above (illustrated with tables, diagrams etc. as appropriate) to form a chapter of the Country Strategy;
    • Contribute to M&E of the Country Strategy and relevant Australian Aid sectoral programs by proposing nutrition and food security indicators, advising on their interpretation and recommending management responses.
  4. Coordination
    • Coordinate Australian Aid Timor-Leste’s nutrition and food security-related dialogue within the country office;
    • Liaise on nutrition and food security with Australian Aid Nutrition Working Group in Canberra, the Timor-Leste Rural Development Specialist and with other parts of the Australian Government if required;
      Evaluate coordination between Government of Timor-Leste, Australian Aid, and other development partners on nutrition and food security and make recommendations for improvement.
  5. Technical advice
    • Document and share international best practices related to nutrition and food security;
    • Build the technical capacity of Australian Aid Timor-Leste sectoral focal points through coaching and mentoring;
    • Provide technical oversight of Australian Aid-funded technical assistance if necessary.
(ii) The nutrition and food security Specialist will also provide strategic and technical advice to the Office of the President of Timor-Leste.
In respect of this objective the Specialist will work responsively, devoting up to 20% of his/her time to requests from the Office of the President.
Tasks related to this objective will be proposed by the Office of the President in brief quarterly workplans; inter alia, these workplans may include assistance with processes involved in joining SUN.
Note that this objective has been included at the request of the Office of the President. As this way of working is innovative, progress against this objective will be jointly reviewed every six months for the first year, and arrangements may be re-negotiated if appropriate.
Responsibilities for managing people, programs and funds:
The nutrition and food security Specialist will not have line management responsibilities. In view of the above objectives, s/he will not manage a portfolio of nutrition and food security-specific programs or budgets.
S/he will be able to draw on the budgets of key sectors for small amounts of operational funding for meetings, study tours, etc.
Reporting responsibilities:
The nutrition and food security Specialist position will be procured through the Australian Aid funded Market Development Facility and will report directly to the Head of Australian Aid or his/her delegate.
For a full Position Descriptions, downland the Terms of Reference here.


Other Requirements

Education, Skills, Knowledge and Experience


  • Postgraduate degree (or equivalent) in food security management, nutrition, public health or related discipline.
  • Demonstrated understanding of economic and cultural dynamics that affect nutrition and food security.
  • Demonstrated skills in commissioning, interpreting and synthesizing analyses from disparate sources.
  • At least 15 years relevant professional experience, including significant engagement in multi-sectoral policy dialogue on nutrition and food security at senior levels in developing countries.
  • Demonstrated excellence in writing strategy documents and policy briefs in English.
  • Demonstrated skills in leading multi-sectoral and multi-cultural teams.
  • Willingness to travel within Timor-Leste (approx. 5-10% of time).
  • Experience with Australian Aid or a similar bilateral development agency is an advantage.
  • Experience in providing advice to partner governments at senior level is an advantage.
  • Timor-Leste and South East Asia experience is an advantage.


Employee Benefits 


​Please email your CV and cover letter to: Please quote the position title (Nutrition and Food Security Specialist – MDF) in the subject line. Applications close 5pm (Melbourne time) Monday 18 November 2013.



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