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Finalization of a decision-making tool for nutrition-in-emergency actors related to the use of CVA - Consultancy


In recent years, the use of Cash and Voucher Assistance (CVA) in humanitarian aid has expanded, representing in 2016 about 10% of global humanitarian funding [1]. Since 2016, the global cash portfolio grew from US$2.8 million to US$4.6 million. [2] However, this increase is not equal across humanitarian aid sectors.

For several years, organizations have led initiatives to better understand CVA entry points to prevent or fight against malnutrition, generating evidence on the applicability of the modality, and on how CVA added value on nutrition outcomes. But the pathways to nutrition outcomes are complex and the uptake of existing evidence by nutrition actors is limited.

About the joint initiative

From internal discussions within the Save the Children Nutrition Emergency Cash Group, and bilateral exchanges with CaLP, three main barriers have been identified that hamper the appropriation of CVA by nutrition actors:

  • Perception of CVA remains linked to certain specific sectors such as food security, shelter or WASH [3].
  • Nutrition actors lack access to trainings on CVA
  • Lack of decision making/diagnosis tools to allow nutrition actors decide when CVA is appropriate to achieve nutrition outcomes and with which other interventions, and design and implement effective programmes. While there are a large range of standard tools for CVA design and implementation, those are not tailored to address specific technical requirements of nutrition programming.

In West Africa, Save the Children and CaLP organized a workshop on 19 September 2018 in Dakar gathering members of the Regional Cash Working Group and the Regional Nutrition Working Group to develop operational resources to address gaps and facilitating uptake of CVA by nutrition actors, where appropriate. To ensure that the process is benefiting from expertise of the wider community of practice and possible outputs will have the buy-in and uptake from a large range of actors, more partners were associated to this initiative (UNICEF, the French Red Cross, with contributions from ECHO, USAID, WFP, ACF, CRS). At the end of the workshop, a restricted task team (Save the Children, CaLP, UNICEF, French Red Cross) was set up to work on a decision-making tool development, and in particular to define the scope and functions of such a tool, and how it should look like to address the current gap.

The underlying principle will be to promote the most appropriate combination of modalities based on informed decision-making process, giving equal consideration to all modalities including CVA. Facilitating context-specific analysis, the tool should contribute to improve nutrition programming.

Objective of the consultancy

The overall objective of this consultancy is to finalize the development of the practical decision-making tool for nutrition-in-emergency actors involved in programme design at country level, with low knowledge of CVA.

The draft of the diagnosis and decision-making tool was developed by Save the Children, CaLP and the French Red Cross with a support from UNICEF and ECHO based on a 3 steps approach with

Identification of drivers of malnutrition
Identification of pathways to nutrition outcomes
Feasibility and optimization of programme design, with a focus on each modality’s specific features – including CVA

Steps 1 and 3 have been developed and are proposing a series of tools/methodologies to be used by the field team depending on their resources, expertise and time.

Step 2 has yet to be developed and will be the focus of the scope of this work.

The objective of the consultancy is then twofold:

1)      It aims to develop a framework of the pathways to nutrition outcomes, based on UNICEF’s malnutrition framework and existing evidence (ACF’s R4ACT research, IFPRI’s findings…), identifying the potential contribution of CVA and other modalities to the different levels of nutrition outcomes.

2)      The consultancy aims to incorporate this framework as the stage 2 the tool, and to finalize the development of this tool.

Expected Results and timeframe

Under the supervision of the regional task team members (Save the Children, CaLP and the French Red Cross) and in close collaboration with partners (UNICEF, ECHO, USAID, ACF, WFP – non exhaustive list), the consultant will be accountable for the following activities and deliverables:

  • Lead a desk review of all evidence available on use of CVA in nutrition programmes and their effectiveness in meeting specific objectives (building on the above-mentioned R4ACT and Cash outcomes of Cash Programming, a synthesis of the evidences, among other resources)


- Based on desk review, develop a matrix identifying the level of evidence per nutrition causal factor using the conceptual framework of malnutrition, supported by a standalone session to be used in CVA for nutrition workshops and trainings

  • Through the consultation of key stakeholders, confirmation of potential pathways based on level of evidence


- Framework of CVA pathways to nutrition outcomes, supported by a standalone session to be used in CVA for nutrition workshops and trainings;

- List of recommendations on where more research or experimentation is required to strengthen evidence base for those pathways ;

- List of priority questions to collect information on specific gaps at local level related to non-CVA modalities, to be listed in the tool as complementary source of information

  • Incorporate the approved framework in the draft tool, reviewing Step 1 and 3 as appropriate to ensure overall coherence and friendly use of the tool for practitioners.

Deliverable: the decision making tool is finalized.


  • Presentation in Dakar of final deliverables (tbc)

Design of the tool will be done by CaLP, however the consultant needs to ensure that all graphs, annexes, matrix, presentations delivered are in appropriate format to facilitate design, and give directions on how best to design the tool so to make it user-friendly (especially for humanitarian practitioners in remote areas).

Application, requirements and contract:

This Consultancy is home-based.

Estimated timeline: October – November (4 to 6 weeks depending on validation process).

The selected consultant will be contracted by Action Contre la Faim on behalf of CaLP. Terms of payments will be as follow: 20% upon contract signature, 40% after literature review and collection of evidence / experience, 40% upon CaLP’s approval of final version.

To apply, consultants should submit a technical and financial proposition, and an updated CV clearly referring to similar experience and highlighting relevant skills and expertise, before 30 September midnight (Dakar time) to lmbodj@wa.acfspain.org cc nklein@cashlearning.org.

Technical proposition should include:

- A paragraph describing the understanding of the purpose of the piece of work and its added-value,

- The methodology to develop the piece of work

- A detailed timeline

The financial proposition should clearly indicate the breakdown of days and daily rate for each step of the consultancy.

This consultancy is not a research work but the development of an operational and practical tool. Please make sure you check the following requirements before applying. Applications without technical and financial proposals will not be considered.

The selected consultant will have:

-   Strong knowledge of cash and voucher assistance

-   Strong experience and knowledge of nutrition programming in emergency and development contexts

-   Previous experience in developing operational tools / resources for humanitarian practitioners (based on desk review and evidence analysis)

-   Excellent writing skills in English


-    Experience in implementing humanitarian programmes in West and Central Africa

[1] CaLP, State of the World’s Cash report, 2018.
[2] Development Initiatives, Factsheet: Key trends in global humanitarian assistance, 2019. http://devinit.org/post/factsheet-key-trends-global-humanitarian-assistance-2019/#
[3] CaLP, State of the World’s Cash report, 2018.

Type of contract
October – November (4 to 6 weeks depending on validation process).