TERMS OF REFERENCE – ADVOCACY AND COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT
DEADLINE: August 31, 2023
The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) is a leading Africa-based, African-led, international research institution headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with a regional office in Dakar, Senegal. Our researchers are contributing to the body of evidence about the critical issues in population health and wellbeing impeding Africa’s development in order to provide strong direction and recommendations to policy- and decision-makers at all levels.
Our priority research areas are Human Development, Health and Well-Being, Data Science and Evaluation, and Population Dynamics and Urbanization in Africa. In addition to the research component, APHRC has other programmatic areas in Research and Related Capacity Strengthening, Policy Engagement and Communications and International programs.
This scope of work is in support of Being, an international mental health initiative hosted by Grand Challenges Canada (“GCC”). Being promotes rights-based, culturally appropriate care that creates supportive communities where young people are the agents and drivers of their own mental health, and where proactivity is prioritized over reactivity.
By focusing on prevention and promotion as the drivers of mental health and wellbeing, with an approach rooted in community-based, locally driven innovation, impact, and sustainability, Being will build on the learnings of other funded initiatives and contribute as a global mental health ecosystem leader, helping to drive the field forward and ensure scaling and uptake of funded solutions.
A key element of this initiative will be research-focused work to identify context-specific needs and opportunities, and engage with relevant stakeholders to build momentum to drive broader ecosystem building efforts.
The African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) aims to support these activities in Senegal and Sierra Leone. It will conduct context analysis, stakeholder consultation, and networking strengthening to meet the objectives of this work.
APHRC also intends to ensure young people are involved in the activities and ensure every young person who contributes is selected fairly based on clear criteria, is clear about their contribution, supported to make the best possible contribution, paid for their contribution, and acknowledged for their contribution. Stakeholder engagement should involve diverse groups especially young people and members from vulnerable and marginalized groups.
- To map, summarize and synthesize available evidence regarding the mental health situation among young people in Senegal and Sierra Leone including context-specific wellbeing drivers of mental health, perceptions of mental health, predominant mental health and substance use issues, mental health related programs and interventions, policies, key stakeholders, and networks.
- To identify gaps in existing evidence regarding mental health and wellbeing among young people and identify effective approaches and necessary steps to address these gaps with a specific focus on prevention and promotion.
- To conduct stakeholder consultations to fill-in information gaps and identify priority research and intervention needs, including pathways to scale for innovative solutions focused on prevention and promotion and the drivers of young people’s wellbeing identified.
- To bring together diverse interest groups to identify a mental health agenda with the potential to catalyze change in these countries – ranging from young people with lived experience to relevant government representatives.
- To identify country-specific investment opportunities for improving the mental health and wellbeing of young people guided by critical wellbeing drivers identified.
Scope of Work
APHRC will conduct context analysis, stakeholder and network consultations to provide a systemic understanding of the mental health context of young people in their country or countries of expertise.
As a consultant, it is expected that you will address:
a) Stakeholder Engagement and Network Consultation
Map, analyse and engage key stakeholders from a variety of sectors, organizations, as well as individuals and invite them to share and discuss their perceptions about the collected information, with an emphasis on filling information gaps and enriching the available evidence.
The convening of key stakeholders will also serve as a starting point for mapping and connecting mental health networks in the countries of focus with the aim of catalyzing change in the field of mental health. This will be achieved through stakeholder engagement and consultation.
Based on an Analysis of Mental Health Key Stakeholders and Networks, the consultant will connect with and engage organizations, partners, and networks relevant to young people’s mental health and wellbeing at the local and national levels. To note, it is extremely critical to engage relevant actors beyond the health sector to ensure a range of stakeholders are consulted and diverse opinions are gathered.
Objective 1: Support the convention of stakeholder groups to better understand collected material and gaps in information i.e. (a) wellbeing drivers of mental health, b) engagement of young people, c) mental health innovations & pathways to scale, and d) mental health key stakeholders).
This objective is meant to build and expand on evidence gathered with additional information not available through the literature. Context-driven research questions of interest to public sector partners will be identified, as well as existing and new ideas for mental health innovations that can be scaled to improve the effectiveness of mental health programming.
Objective 2: To gather insights from key mental health stakeholders regarding their interests, expertise, readiness to act and willingness to collaborate with other stakeholders to move the mental health agenda forward.
b)Support Network Strengthening Activities
Key stakeholders will determine how to best strengthen existing networks and collaborate to develop and nurture community and leadership support for addressing mental health issues in the country of focus. More specifically, the consultant will support the research team to facilitate consensus building among key stakeholders (by working/supporting lead stakeholders engaged in mental health) to identify priorities for research, innovative interventions and initiating and catalyzing change.
Objective 1: To support consultation with key stakeholders to assess and prioritize needs, barriers and steps required to catalyze change. Some areas to consider include:
- Forecasting needs and opportunities: To identify the most pressing mental health needs for young people in the country and opportunities for addressing these needs.
- The way forward: To identify how key stakeholders and networks can work together to ensure young people’s mental health and wellbeing is prioritized.
- Recommendations: To identify existing opportunities that should be prioritized and funded by government, public or private sector. Key stakeholders and networks must also determine how best to widely disseminate recommendations and to whom.
Most of the assignments may be conducted remotely (preferably in a time zone compatible with African time zones). However, some meetings may require travel.
Qualifications and Other Competencies
- Bachelor’s degree in Advocacy, Communications or another relevant social science field that includes a focus on international development issues.
- A minimum of 6 years’ experience in the development sector in Africa.
- Excellent command of oral and written English (knowledge of another language, e.g., French, would be beneficial).
- Demonstrated experience of having undertaken similar assignments.
- An in-depth understanding of the evidence-informed decision-making approaches to inform advocacy and policy work.
Interested candidates should submit their applications to [email protected] and copy [email protected] with the email subject, “Communications Consultant.” The position will be open until August 31, 2023. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Applications should be should be addressed to:
The Human Resources Officer
African Population and Health Research Center, Inc
APHRC Campus, Manga Close, off Kirawa Road, Kitisuru
P.O. Box 10787-GPO, Nairobi
APHRC is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the protection of vulnerable persons.