R4Act Consultancy (Research 4 Action)

Action Against Hunger

Paris, , FR


Research uptake: current challenge for humanitarian stakeholders

Digesting relevant information at the right moment is one of the main challenges that we face today: with the multiplication of communication platforms and speed of data exchange, we are dealing with a larger amount of information than in the past. The professional landscape has been transformed in such a way that new capacities/profiles/material are now required for adequate and effective exchanges and communication. The humanitarian and research sectors are not spared from this: introduction of new technologies and social media/Internet has modified ways of working as well as the sharing and processing of information.

In parallel to this, the international community calls for more evidence-based humanitarian actions; after decades of interventions in emergencies settings, the need for a better integration of the latest available evidence in humanitarian programming is recognized1,2 . This is particularly relevant in the nutrition sector.3 Evidence generation is now increasing to identify effective and cost-effective nutrition specific and sensitive programming. However,, many questions remain to fill the gap between research and programming, including: How can evidence be applied to improve the quality of aid programming? How can researchers help to ensure that evidence is openly and regularly available for operational stakeholders and policy-makers to digest and use? How can access to evidence be improved? How can evidence inform donors of areas/topics where financial efforts must be made? How can evidence support policy makers? How ensuring research uptake becomes a key step for effective, evidence-based, nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programming, and policymaking?


In 2017, AAH developed the Research 4 Action methodology, which aims to produce a synthesis of available evidences on a specific topic, focusing on making them ready-to-use in programming. It also aims to bridge the gap between Research and Action and encourage the necessary change by actively engaging with the key stakeholders on ways to implement the findings in programs and policies.” The process follows three stages:

1-     “What we know” stage: Produce a synthesis of the state of scientific evidence on the impacts of Wash on Severe Acute Malnutrition in a ready-to-use, visual way.

2-     “What should be done” stage: Engage across the methodology with a working group comprised of a limited number of high-level, key stakeholders (to ensure the report meets their needs) and organize one day high-level workshop to present the state of scientific evidence and define concrete recommendations in the light of the findings.

3-     How can these recommendations be translated into program and policy” stage the working group outlines a roadmap for taking recommendations forward.

The selected topic for this second pilot is the impact of Wash on Nutrition and more specifically on Severe Acute Malnutrition.

Profile of working group members

The working group will be comprised of a limited but diversified and highly qualified panel of actors, each of them representing one type of key players: governments, the United Nations, non-government organizations, academia, technical platforms, private sector and donors to guarantee a multiple points of view and foster transversal discussions between different members.

Expected outputs of the workshop

·       A position paper endorsed by all participants

·       A draft roadmap of concrete steps required to achieve the agreed-upon recommendations


The objective of the consultancy is to produce a single ready-to-use document, to be reviewed by the working group before the workshop.

Methodology to collect and synthetize available evidence (“What we know section”)

Prior to the workshop, current evidence around Wash and Nutrition will be collated and summarized into a single ready-to-use document, to be reviewed by the working group before the workshop. This document (not to exceed 10 pages) should collate evidence from the most robust published reviews. (Approx. around 10-15 publications). (Refer to the R4ACT Cash&Nutrition reports)

The working group will determine recommendations for applying the available evidence to programming and policy, based on the collation and evidence summary.


The consultant will be responsible for:

       The production of the evidence review synthesis,

       The submission to the working group,

       The collection and review of the recommendations provided by the working group and integration of other feedback into the final document (not to exceed 10 pages),

       The presentation of the evidence review synthesis during the workshop,

       The draft and integration of the feedback on the final joint statement.


At the end of the consultancy, the following documents will be available:

        A approximatively 10 page document, which presents the results of the literature, endorsed by the working group (see Methodology)

        A position paper, mutually endorsed by meeting participants and ready for broader sharing, which will introduce:

o a concise summary of existing evidence around ‘Wash and Nutrition”

o the final working group’s recommendations based on the evidence


Number of days: 15 to 18 days

1.     Collate and summarize key findings from existing reviews of Wash and SAM (Severe Acute Malnutrition) and submit to working group (9-10 days)

2.     Review of the state of evidence document and draft of recommendations in light of the findings by each member of the working group.

3.     Finalization of the 10-pages document including the synthesis of the state of evidence and the comments and recommendations of the working group members (3-6 days)

4.     Presentation during the workshop to high-level attendees – December, 6 2018 (1 day)

5.     Final editing and follow up – 1 day


Consultant – necessary qualifications / experience:

·       Background in wash, nutrition, public health, or similar. Knowledge of under-nutrition critical

·       Master’s degree, PhD, post-Doc or proven experience in research

·       Successful experience in literature reviews, research implementation & analyses

·       Knowledge and experience in epidemiology/statistics/data entry/data analysis necessary

·       Proven experience in writing research protocols, reports, scientific articles

Humanitarian experience highly desirable

Experience conducting research in developing countries and in difficult/insecure environments highly desirable

Applications should be sent to Myriam AIT-AISSA ([email protected]), Stephanie Stern ([email protected]) and Andrea Barbosa ([email protected]) before, August, 20th 2018. They should include a letter cover, a curriculum vitae and the number of days and daily rates required for the consultancy. The synthesis of available evidence will take place in September while the workshop is planned on December, 6th 2018.