Consultant - HATUTAN School Feeding Cost of Diet Study - Timor-Leste

Programming Dili, Timor-Leste (East Timor)



The HATUTAN project (Hahán ne’ebé Atu fó Tulun ho Nutrisaun no Edukasaun) or “Continue and Support Food for Nutrition and Education” is a five-year initiative to improve literacy, nutrition, health and nutrition outcomes in Timor-Leste preschool and primary schools. Working in partnership with the Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL) and key development stakeholders, HATUTAN aims to strengthen literacy, education, nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and gender equality. HATUTAN will work with 440 pre-primary and primary schools across four of Timor-Leste’s more disadvantaged municipalities, namely Ermera, Liquica, Ainaro, and Manatuto, reaching 90,000 school-aged children. CARE International in Timor-Leste is the lead with Mercy Corps and WaterAid as subgrantees.  Specifically, the HATUTAN project intends to:

  • Strengthen the institutional capacity of government agencies, school administration/teachers, and community-based organizations to: (a) better manage, fund and monitor a comprehensive school feeding program (SFP); and (b) support nutrition, health and WASH improvements in homes and schools;
  • Improve teaching and learning tools, techniques and environments to increase student literacy skills;
  • Initiate targeted social behavior change (SBC) activities to increase gender equity, reduce sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), ensure equal learning opportunities for girls, and increase the adoption of optimal nutrition, health and WASH practices; and
  • Increase community food production and income-generating activities through farmer trainings, establishing village savings and loan associations (VSLAs), and enabling community development agents to provide health and nutrition-focused goods and services which includes connecting farmers to markets (inclusive of schools).


Purpose / Project Description:

The purpose of the consultancy is to lead a Cost of Diet study to support the School Feeding Program (SFP) in Timor Leste. The consultant will analyze the current school meal as well as future school meal scenarios in order to inform the cost of a nutritionally adequate diet for the school meal, and provide an economic and nutrition appraisal of future school meal options. 

The consultant will lead on a market analysis, assessment of dietary practices, nutrient intake gap of primary school aged children, and assessment of the affordability of a nutritious school meal based on local foods. The Cost of Diet model will be used to recommend the lowest cost, nutritionally best diet for a school feeding meal in all study areas.  

The SFP Study will provide evidence to the GOTL on the nutritional value of current practices around school feeding in order to strengthen and support an effective and efficient School Feeding Program (SFP) nationwide.  The final report will serve to increase the understanding of school feeding by generating valuable evidence of nutrient access and affordability for school feeding and open a forum for discussion which will build consensus around the prioritization on policy and programmatic strategies to strengthen school feeding.


Consultant Objectives:

Conduct a targeted Cost of Diet Analysis for the primary school aged child aged 5- 9 years and 10 – 15 years in the four Hatutan Municipalities, with analysis that considers the following variables:

  • Municipalities (4)
  • Seasonality (2 seasons)
  • Government provided rice and locally sourced cereal

This analysis should resolve the following research questions:

What is possible for future locally sourced nutritious school meals?

  1. Availability- What are the locally available and affordable foods found in each of the HATUTAN municipalities that could be used for the future school meal?
  2. Cost-
    1. What is the cost of a nutritious school meal based off of locally available foods?
    2. What is the recommended cash value for a school feeding meal?
    3. Is $0.25 cents per student per day enough to provide diverse, nutrient dense meal?
  3. Nutrition content-
    1. What is the nutritional value of a locally sourced school meal?
    2. How does that differ from the currently provided school meal?
    3. How does a school meal for a child help close the nutrition gap at the household level?
    4. What are the recommended foods to purchase based on the current $0.25 cents per child per day to maximize nutrition outcomes?


Note: To contribute to question three, Mercy Corps conducted analysis of a variation of the current school meal to assesses macro and micro nutrient contribution to the Recommended Dietary Allowance for a child 5- 9 years of age as well as its’ contribution to filling the nutrition gap at the household level.



The consultant will use the Cost of Diet methodology for analysis.


Consultant Activities:

The Consultant will:

  • Provide a draft workplan for review and feedback from the Mercy Corps team
  • Conduct informational interviews with key staff, stakeholders and relevant desk review
  • Draft data collection tools that will capture the findings on the research questions
  • Code any needed questionnaires to be uploaded to ONA tablets and ensure accurate digital data entry.
  • Oversee additional data collection processes, providing implementation oversight of field enumeration
  • Clean and analyze data
  • Draft a summary report and submit for feedback
  • Incorporate all feedback and submit final report


Consultant Deliverables:

The Consultant will fulfill the following 8 deliverables:

Deliverable 1:   Draft workplan .5 days

Deliverable 2:   Desk review to include staff discussions and stakeholder interviews (summary report) 3.5 days

Deliverable 3:   Produce data collection tools, determine gaps, in digital format 2 days

Deliverable 4:   Conduct an Enumerator training and modify data collection tools as needed - 2 days

Deliverable 5:   Oversee field data collection implementation - 15 working days

Deliverable 6:   Conduct data analysis and draft report (inclusive of data cleaning and analysis) –  10 days

Deliverable 7:   Produce a Final Report with feedback incorporated - 3 days

Deliverable 8:   Deliver a Power Point Presentation summary of findings with notes – 1 day

Total = 37 days


Deliverables 1-5: 30% of the consultancy value

Deliverables 6: 40% of consultancy value

Deliverables 7-8: 30% of consultancy value



The final report will use the following methodology, not to exceed 30 pages, not including annexes:

  • Cover page
  • List of Acronyms, Table of Contents
  • Executive summary- 1-2 pages including bulleted highlights
  • Methodology- Clearly describe methodology used, strengths and weaknesses of the methodology and demographics of respondents
  • Results- Clear tables
  • Visualizations to represent pictorials of the current school meal plate versus the future school meal plate
  • Recommendations- Concrete recommendations for:
    • Recommended foods that can be purchased for school feeding (with and without government provided rice) and the $0.25 cents per student per day.
    • Recommended dollar value (per student per day) to provide a nutritionally robust school meal as per school feeding guidance (with and without government provided rice).
  • Annexes- Should include data collection instruments in English, list of stakeholder and documents reviewed, SOW, and all relevant datasets provided in electronic format.


Timeframe / Schedule: 

The external consultant will commit to an estimated total of 36 working days during the month of July/August.


The Consultant will report to:

Health and Nutrition Manager, Mercy Corps Timor Leste


The Consultant will work closely with:

Director of Programs

MERL Manager


Required Experience & Skills:

  • An advanced university degree in Public Health/Global Health, Nutrition, or other relevant disciplines, with specialized training experience in the nutrition and food security related surveys/specifically on Cost of Diet assessment methodology
  • Demonstrated understanding child nutrient needs and malnutrition in rural contexts
  • Demonstrable capacity and research experience of at least 8 years in surveys/assessment in the field of nutrition and food security, with prior experience conducting Cost of Diet studies
  • Experience in developing comprehensive report on nutrition research and study especially dietary analysis reports.
  • Familiarity with School Feeding Programs a plus
  • Fluency in English required, with fluency in Tetun a plus
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis
  • Prior experience conducting assessments in South East Asia, with prior experience in Timor Leste a plus
  • Written and spoken fluency in English is required. 


Please apply by June 7, 2019