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Nutrition Specialist, NOC, Malaysian Only, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Temporary Assignment)

The Nutrition Specialist GJP is to be used in a Country Office (CO) where the Nutrition Program is a major or key component of the Country Program (or UNDAF). The Nutrition Specialist reports to the Chief, Nutrition/Health/CSD Section who is at Level 5/4 or a Nutrition Specialist who is at Level 4.

  1. Type of Assignment            : TA (Temporary Assignment)
  2. Assignment Title                 : Nutrition Specialist    
  3. Duty Station, Country         : Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  4. Duration (in months)          : 11 months (renewable – subject to satisfactory performance)
  5. Expected Starting Date       : ASAP
  6. National/International post : National
  7. Host Agency/Host Institute : UNICEF



The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programs, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children's rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life — in its social, political, economic, civic and cultural dimensions — her or his rights are violated. There is growing evidence that investing in the health, nutrition, education and protection of a society's most disadvantaged citizens — addressing inequity — not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. This is why the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.

The 2016-2020 Country Programme Action Plan between the Government of Malaysia and UNICEF incorporates Enhanced Child and Adolescents Wellbeing as a programmatic pillar. Under this pillar, there is a key Output for nutrition as stated:

Output 1.3: Key government technical staff, service providers and teachers in target States have increased knowledge to support implementation of national nutrition strategy and action plan which promotes healthy living for all children and adolescents, especially the most marginalized.

Output 1.3 includes three activities to address the double burden of malnutrition in children under 5 years' school age children and adolescents in Malaysia. However, before these activities can be fully developed and implemented, further analysis and interpretation of available nutrition data is required along with an assessment of the scope, scale and quality of nutrition programmes and policies in the country. While Malaysia has a variety of nutrition targeted activities and programmes in place for children, existing data indicate that the prevalence of stunting and wasting are static while the prevalence of overweight has gradually increased.

The NHMS 2015 found the prevalence of stunting in children 0-5 years of age to be 17.7%, wasting to be 8% and overweight 7.1%. While the prevalence of stunting is below the public health concern threshold of 20%, the prevalence is static with little to no progress towards the WHA target of 10.3% by 2020. The prevalence of wasting is elevated in Malaysia at 8% and falls within the WHO's public health concern category. The influencing variables to wasting in children are not known although an understanding of the key targeted population of children affected by wasting necessary for programmatic actions. Malaysia faces a double burden of malnutrition with in addition to stunting and wasting, a 7% prevalence of overweight amongst children under 5 years.  The prevalence of overweight continues to increase in children as they age with 15% of children 5-9 years of age overweight. The increasing prevalence of overweight amongst Malaysia children, adolescents and adults and the corresponding increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases is a national concern with focused programming on instilling healthy eating and lifestyle habits in young children a key intervention to address child and future adult overweight.

As Malaysia is an upper middle-income country with an efficient and performing health system and a long standing engagement in nutrition programming for children, a secondary data analysis is recommended as a stocktaking exercise for the Ministry of Health and the Division of Nutrition to determine where National and Regional priorities for nutrition should be focused and determine how existing programmatic structures for nutrition can be best utilized to meet nutrition gaps in the country.  The proposed data analysis will consist of two sections: 1) a review of existing datasets for nutrition to validate the nutrition status of children and the influencing variables to nutrition status and 2) a landscape analysis of existing nutrition programmes and platforms for programme delivery to determine the scale, scope and quality of delivery and make recommendations on knowledge gaps, barriers and enabling factors for nutrition programming in the country. The landscape analysis will be utilized to determine a series of recommendations to UNICEF Malaysia Country Office and the Malaysian Ministry of Health on key programmes and activities to prioritize to address the double burden of malnutrition and a roadmap detailing the process of implementation of recommendations which will strengthen and complement the existing National Plan of Action for Nutrition (NPANM) III (216-2025) envisaged by the Malaysian government.


Purpose of the Job

The Nutrition Specialist supports the development and preparation of the nutrition (or a sector of) program/s and is responsible for managing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting of progress of the nutrition programs/projects within the country program. The Specialist provides technical guidance and management support throughout the programming processes to facilitate the administration and achievement of concrete and sustainable results in maternal, infant and child nutrition programs/projects according to plans, allocation, results based-management approaches and methodology (RBM) and UNICEF's Strategic Plans, standards of performance and accountability framework.


Key function, accountabilities and related duties/tasks

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

  1. Support to programs/projects development and planning
  2. Program management, monitoring and delivery of results
  3. Technical and operational support to program implementation
  4. Networking and partnership building
  5. Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building


1. Support to program/project development and planning 

  • Work closely and collaboratively with internal and external colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies and to determine national priorities/competencies to ensure the achievement of concrete and sustainable results.
  • Manage multisector stakeholder engagement, which includes relevant government agencies, academia, the private sector and the media. The candidate should have a good working knowledge of Government protocol and be able to build working relationships with multiple stakeholders.
  • Provide support to UNICEF Malaysia and the Regional Office in engaging with relevant agencies on the access, analysis and interpretation of technical databases such as the NHMS surveys. This also includes providing support on the review of technical documents and assessments. Such as reviewing of published literature, conducted surveys and survey data files, and technical reports.
  • Develop and deliver targeted advocacy for the following components with support from the UNICEF nutrition technical staff in the Regional office.
  • Provide strong rationale to the Government on why the recommendations from the landscape analysis are necessary and act as a liaison between the Government, UNICEF and academia to modify and finalize nutrition recommendations for future nutrition programmatic strategy.
  • In close collaboration with the Public Advocacy C4D and Communication Specialist, develop an advocacy strategy for increased awareness of the double burden of malnutrition in young children, school age children and adolescents in Malaysia. Based on key findings from the landscape analysis, advocate for making the double burden of malnutrition in children and adolescents a priority within the Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders such as Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and Ministry of Youth and Sport in Malaysia.
  • Advocate for funding and prioritization of recommended nutrition assessments to fill knowledge and data gaps identified in the landscape analysis. The Specialist will present analysis conducted by UNICEF on the impact of malnutrition on children's long-term health and economic and social achievement and provide support and continual advocacy for increased public and private sector funding of data driven nutrition activities.
  • Support UNICEF Malaysia to diversify stakeholder collaboration on child and adolescent nutrition by working closely with other stakeholders such as the academia, think tanks and CSO in advocating for sound data driven decision-making in nutrition policy design and programming


2. Program management, monitoring and delivery of results

  • Participate in monitoring and evaluation exercises, program reviews and annual reviews with government and other counterparts to assess progress and to determine required action/interventions to achieve results.
  • Prepare/assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths/weaknesses in program and management, identify lessons learned and use knowledge gained for development planning and timely intervention to achieve goals.
  • Monitor and verify the optimum/appropriate use of sectoral program resources (financial, administrative and other assets) confirming compliance with organizational rules, regulations/procedures and donor commitments, standards of accountability and integrity and ensuring timely reporting and liquidation of resources.


3. Technical and operational support to program implementation

  • Provide technical guidance and operational support to government counterparts, academia, UN system partners and other country office partners on interpretation, application and understanding of UNICEF policies, strategies, processes and best practices and approaches on nutrition and related issues to support program development planning, management, implementation and delivery of results
  • Participate in discussions with national partners/stakeholders to promote nutrition and development issues
  • Draft policy papers, briefs and other strategic program materials for management use, information and/or consideration.


4. Networking and partnership building 

  • Build and sustain effective close working partnerships with nutrition sector government counterparts, national stakeholders and global partners/allies/donors/academia through active networking, advocacy and effective communication to build capacity and exchange knowledge/expertise to facilitate the achievement of program goals and social justice and equity for the rights of mothers, newborn and children.
  • Prepare communication and information materials for CO program advocacy to promote awareness, establish partnership/alliances and support fund raising for nutrition programs


5. Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building

  • Apply/introduce innovative approaches and good practice to build the capacity of partners and stakeholders and to support the implementation and delivery of concrete and sustainable program results.
  • Keep abreast, research, benchmark and implement best and cutting edge practices in nutrition management and information systems. Assess, institutionalize and share best practices and knowledge learned.
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of policies and procedures to ensure optimum efficiency and efficacy of sustainable programs and projects.
  • Organize and implement capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of stakeholders to promote sustainable results on nutrition related programs/projects


Qualifications of Successful Candidate

  • An Advanced University Degree or higher in nutrition, public health, nutritional epidemiology, global/international health and nutrition, health/nutrition research, policy and/or management, or other health related science field is required.
  • Minimum of five years of professional experience in nutrition, public health, related research or planning and management in relevant areas of maternal, infant and child nutrition, at the international level some of which preferably in a developing country is required. Relevant experience in health/nutrition program/project development and management in any UN system agency or organization is an asset.
  • The 
candidate should have a comfortable working knowledge of public health programming.
  • Previous work experience on advocacy with the Ministry of Health would be an asset.
  • Sets high standards for quality of work and consistently achieves project goals.
  • Has good time management skills; able to develop personal work plans and achieve 
objectives on time.
  • Translates strategic direction into plans and objectives.
  • Ability to develop advocacy strategies based on qualitative and quantitative data
  • Quickly builds rapport with individuals and groups; maintains an effective network of 
individuals across organizational departments.
  • The candidate should have a good working knowledge of Government protocol and be able to build working relationships with multiple stakeholders eg the government, private sector, media and academia around the findings
  • Communicates effectively to varied audiences, including during formal public speaking.
  • Able to work effectively in a bi-lingual environment.


Successful candidates will be offered Competitive salary and benefits package under the UN system at NO-C level.



All eligible Malaysians are encouraged to apply.


Please note: only shortlisted candidates will be notified.


UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location:
  • Grade: Mid/Senior - Internationally recruited position - Mid/Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Nutrition
    • Nutrition
    • Public Health and Health Service
  • Closing Date: 2017-02-09

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