Consultant Positive Deviance Study

Joint Aid Management


JAM has been present in South Sudan since 2002, and is operational in five locations: Jonglei, Greater Pibor, Unity State, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap and Central Equatoria. JAM’s South Sudan programme integrates three pillars: (1) Saving Lives; (2) Promoting Early Recovery and (3) Promoting Community Resilience. In Pibor county, the organization has been operational since 2015; implementing a nutrition projects and provided treatment of Acute malnutrition to more than 30,000 children, pregnant and lactating women. JAM’s also focuses on preventing malnutrition through promotion of Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) practices; nutrition sensitivity intervention by integration its response with other sectors that includes WASH, FSL, GBV and Health while also making referrals to other essential services as appropriate.

JAM’s strategy is to initiate, nurture and support Mother-to-Mother Support Groups as key community agents to ensure sustainable impact and change at community level. The Mother-to Mother Support Groups continue to spread messages on good child health, hygiene and sanitation to pregnant and lactating women through regular community level meetings to ensure prevent against malnutrition. JAM has also developed the skills/capacity of an extremely competent team of committed field-based nutrition staff to continuously provide nutrition services in nutrition centres to serve local communities.

Multi-pronged shocks, cyclic intercommunal conflicts, age sets fighting’s, inadequate access to food remains to be a challenge in the Pibor county, moreover It is also important to note that the SMART survey findings in 2021 revealed that Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM prevalence was 21.6% and a Severe Acute Malnutrition prevalence (SAM) of 4.6 % based on Weight-for-Height indicating a critical nutrition situation in the area (IMC, SMART Survey Report, March 2021. Upon review of 2021 Program Data; 9090 children were admitted in the program with SAM ( 24% were from Pibor centre Payam; 21% Gumuruk Payam; 19% Lekuongoles and 15% Verthet Payam of Western Pibor; In Eastern Part of the County Kaziongora Payam had the highest admission of 6.7% Boma and Maruwo Payam had 5% and 4.7% respectively.

The high level of malnutrition cases is attributed to cyclic intercommunal conflict, lack of sufficient food/ hunger, inadequate access to basic health, water hygiene and sanitation/ poor personal and environmental hygiene, poor health seeking behaviour, inappropriate maternal infant and young child feeding practices that includes inadequate childcare practices, inadequate breastfeeding, poor weaning/ feeding, extremely poor diet (in terms of both quality and quantity).

To prevent malnutrition or further deterioration of extremely vulnerable boys, girls, pregnant and lactating women, deliberate efforts have been made by JAM and other stakeholders to Scale up services for prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition. To date anecdotal evidence or information from the caregivers suggests that there are some households or care givers who have demonstrated the capacities/ ability to prevent their children from being undernourished from their past experience, health seeking behaviour and adaptation of maternal infant and young child feeding practices. These stories invoke the need for critical study to establish the facts, generate evidence for their existence, devise means of developing a robust behaviour change approach and adapting best practices in health, hygiene and nutrition among women, children and person is living with disability.

There are hopes to address the gap in knowledge/ behaviour of caregiver feeding and hygiene practice between mother-child dyads (especially at home and away from program sites) that may contribute to the current high GAM rates. To gain critical insight on feeding practices and other related behavioural patterns and identify existing positive behaviour and interaction within communities in regards to nutrition status of children (i.e. “children who are healthy’/ not suffering from Acute malnutrition despite the family having faced similar conditions in terms of access of food, poverty level, ethnic origins, etc. when compared to acutely malnourished children).

JAM South Sudan is seeking to conduct a positive deviance study in the targeted areas. The study seeks to gain a critical insight on feeding practices and other related behavioural patterns, to inform the current MIYCN programming. This exercise will aim towards exploring the various elements that seem feasible and practicable within the context. It will seek to assess the various elements of the interventions that worked together to create these positive results in a situation that is contradictory to the current crisis across various parts of Pibor. In addition, the study will also seek to understanding the efficacy of interventions designed to enhance resilience.


The aim of the study is to ascertain evidence and case studies for the current positive deviance elicited in the targeted areas. The study will seek to undertake the following activities that aims at gaining critical insight on feeding practices and other related behavioral patterns, to inform and, if needed, adapting best practices in health, hygiene and nutrition among women, children and person’s living with disability within the context.

Specific Objective;

  1. Examine the attributes of household who could be classified as, “positive deviants”/ OR identify existing “positive” behaviors and interactions within communities about nutrition status. This objective intends to assess the characteristics/traits of HH who could be categorized as positive deviants and recognize positive deeds and collaborations within the communities about nutrition status.
  2. Establish how the positive behaviors/ practices can be diffuse across the communities. From the findings obtained through data collection, the study will propose practical recommendations that will demonstrate how the positive behaviors/ practices can be diffused across the communities.

The study will seek to respond to the following questions:

  1. What are the best practices adopted by healthy living families? / OR What are the healthier than average children’s parents doing different in terms of feeding, caring and hygiene practices that is allowing the children to avoid undernutrition. Alternatively, /what enables some poor households to have healthy and well-nourished children?
  2. How can the best practices be replicated to improve the children, pregnant and lactating women nutrition status and promote well-being?


Although Malnutrition level is high within Pibor County; there is effort to unlock the enigma of intergenerational cycle of under-nutrition and therefore the is need to gather and have further understanding, develop comprehensible information from anecdotal evidence from positive deviants. Thus, contribute to girls and boys under age five, school-age children, young girls and women to have increased and more quality preventative nutrition services and effective continuation of behaviour change communication on maternal infant and young child feeding practices in Pibor.


The primary targets is Pibor County with a target of households (HH) categorized as positive deviants and recognize for positive deeds and collaborations within the communities with regards to nutrition status. In Pibor Payam, Gumuruk Payam, Lekuongole Payam, Jebel Boma Payam, Kaziongora Payam.

Scope of Work

The Positive Deviance Study (Social research) Lead will be responsible for collaborative research design and delivery, data collection, data management, documentation, assessment, and reporting for this research exercise.

The scope shall include but not limited to the following:

  1. Design the study proposal/ protocol, research methodology, and tools together with the key focal points and other team members.
  2. Lead the ethical approval process.
  3. Conduct a Situational Analysis (to prepare for the Positive Deviance Inquiry) then Conduct a Positive Deviance Inquiry
  4. Oversight of data capture and data analysis.
  5. Identifying well evident interesting case study and documenting.
  6. Writing study report
  7. Presentation of the research findings to relevant stakeholders- JAM team and NIWG (Nutrition Information Working Group).
  8. Report writing that includes documentation of the findings
  9. Writing the Publication Journal of the study and Publishing.

Study deliverables

The study will produce the following:

  1. Positive Deviance Study Survey Protocol
  2. First draft and final study report
  3. At least two well-evidenced case studies
  4. Full quantitative data set as well as qualitative materials

Note: the study report will include a focus on those lessons that can be drawn from the study and will identify potential opportunities to amplify identified positive deviance practices. Hard and electronic copies of all research materials, data sets, data analysis, pictures/ infographics and other study documents, will be shared.

Person specification, Qualifications, Competency and skills

The consultant will be required to demonstrate the following qualifications and competencies:

  • Relevant discipline, or equivalent in professional experience on PDS and PDH
  • At least 5 years’ experience in social research in a health field
  • Experience in mixed-methodology research projects, including Positive Deviance studies
  • Experience of participatory research methods
  • Experience in conducting quantitative social research for similar study in South Sudan/ East Africa or the region for the Government and or international NGOs
  • Experience of, or openness to, innovative approaches to social research
  • Experience in training enumerators and working with local teams in a culturally appropriate manner
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Professional working proficiency in English (written and verbal)
  • Excellent research, reporting, and analytical skills
  • Track record in Similar study that includes publications/ journals

Consultant’s Availability and Duration of the Assignment

This exercise is expected to begin from June 2022 while the implantation will be informed with final methodology and approval of the study. (Negotiable based on the nature of the study and ethical consideration within the hosting country requirement)

Data Ownership and Confidentiality

All documents passed to the Consultant remain the property of JAM and are under the strictest confidence. The documents must not, under any circumstance, be shared with a third party without the prior agreement of the JAM Country Director.

Employment of Minors

The consultant/s shall not employ children in executing the contract. The Consultant shall observe International conventions relating to child labor namely the UN Convention No.182 on worst forms of child labor and convention No. 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment.

Criminal Act

The consultant/s undertakes to comply with all applicable laws and to ensure that engage in any kind of criminal activity including but not limited to bribery, fraud, corruption and to maintain ethical business practices as well as not to commit any Prohibited Acts defined as:-

i) To offer, promise or give any person a financial or other advantage.

ii) To request, agree to receive or accept any financial or other advantage not expressly provided for as an inducement or a reward for the performance of any function or activity in connection with this Agreement;

And/or provided for as an inducement or a reward for the performance of any function or activity in connection with this Agreement;

Summary/ Selection Criteria

  • This is an open and competitive selection process. The successful candidate/s will be selected following the review of each bidding Consultant’s proposal documents which shall include the following;
  • CV and example of the Consultant’s past work, such as a written training report
  • Financial proposal in USD.
  • A minimum of two written references.

How to apply

Interested and qualified applicants should send their CVs and cover letters to [email protected]