Switzerland nationals: Head of WASH Technical Resource Unit

 (via ReliefWeb)
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
Languages Required: 
English and German or French


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Background and Context:

About 730,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017, bringing their total number in the district of Cox’s Bazar to nearly 980,000. There are strong indications that the situation is turning in a protracted refugee crisis with a high likely dependency of the refugee population on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs for years to come. The humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar is coordinated by the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) which is led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Cox’s Bazar is one of the poorest and most vulnerable districts in Bangladesh, with poverty levels higher than the national average. Ukhia and Teknaf sub-districts (Upazilas), where refugee camps are located are among the 50 most socially deprived Upazilas (out of 509). The Rohingya, in fluctuating numbers, have been present in villages in Ukhia and Teknaf since 1991. Over time, their presence has increasingly strained already scarce resources and the rapid arrival of a large number of refugees since August 2017 is now adding acute stress to infrastructures, public services and natural resources. This situation increasingly leads to tensions between the Rohingya and Bangladeshi host communities.

The influx has also increased the vulnerability of the Rohingya and host communities in the sector of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH). The area has limited access to drinking water, particularly in remote areas and only one third of host community members have ac-cess to a drinking water source in their dwelling. This situation, combined with low access to improved sanitation facilities, has contributed to high levels of malnutrition. Furthermore, the refugee situation has created a densely populated area where indiscriminate placing of wells and latrines, often directly adjacent to each other, has created a public health risk.

WASH Sector

Multiple construction activities to provide improvements to the basic WASH infrastructures for the affected population of now almost 1.3 million persons will be realized in Cox’s Bazar District in the coming years. The Asian Development Bank and the World Bank are planning substantial investments in WASH infrastructures targeting refugee settlements as well as local communities. Providing technical advice on operation and maintenance of the existing and newly constructed infrastructures remains a medium term challenge that needs to be ad-dressed.

The WASH sector coordination is in place since late September 2017 and is supposed to co-ordinate the activities of over 50 actors. The Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) is leading the WASH sector emergency response co-chaired by Action Contre la Faim (ACF) and UNICEF, and is supposed to be providing oversight and continued support and monitoring of the response. The central government also directly implements WASH pro-jects in the host communities through the Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE). However, proper planning and implementation of WASH activities in and outside of the camps is often hampered by a lack of expertise, coordination and monitoring of standards. These deficiencies will be addressed by the proposed Direct Action through the establishment and operation of a WASH Technical Resource Unit (TRU) in the WASH sector in Cox’s Bazar.

WASH Technical Resource Unit

The likely scenario of a longer-term protracted refugee crisis will make the planning for and implementation of sustainable solutions in the WASH sector for at least a decade or more a necessity. Following the first year of emergency response, construction of medium- and longer term infrastructure needs to be embedded in cost effective Operation and Maintenance WASH service models which will serve both host and refugee populations.

Based on this background, SDC/HA is planning the establishment and operation of a WASH TRU for the duration of at least three years. The TRU will consist of a team of technical experts including SHA unit members and qualified national and international consultants. Their expertise will be available to DPHE, the line ministries, UN Agencies and (I)NGOs as well as sector coordination bodies and other relevant stakeholders. The WASH TRU will provide guidance to the Technical Working Groups (TWG) to ensure interventions are designed to suit the context and coordinated in accordance with standards agreed upon and approved by DPHE.

Incrementally, two to five international experts and national counterparts along with the necessary operational support staff will resource the WASH TRU. Based on the requirements, the team of the WASH TRU will be providing its own expertise, link available or provide additional external resources and specialised consultants. SDC will also provide the WASH TRU with operational funding which will allow the provision of special equipment (e.g. water quality testing laboratory kits) or print materials, the realisation of experimental works on pilot test sites or projects as well as action/research undertakings.

Aim of the Mission

In close collaboration with the Humanitarian Coordinator at the Swiss Embassy in Dhaka and with the support of a Technical Backstopper, the Head of WASH Technical Resource Unit (WASH TRU), has the overall responsibility to implement activities through which the overall goal of the Credit Proposal will be reached. This includes the overall responsibility for planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting of all project related activities. In addition, s/he will be responsible for the management of the WASH TRU office based in Cox’s Bazar, including line management of national and international staff as well as security management.


Key duties and responsibilities:

Strategy and Concept

  • Identify interests of different stakeholders and determine the WASH TRU’s optimal institutional positioning by regularly updating the actors mapping and SWOT analysis of the WASH sector which was completed during the opening phase of the project;
  • In close collaboration with DPHE and the WASH sector, identify opportunities for intervention for the WASH TRU which are in line with its overall goal;
  • Represent the WASH TRU in the sector coordination mechanisms and ensure the TRUs acceptance by the sector;


  • Maintain a network with relevant actors in Dhaka at Ministry level as well as the private sector, academia and other institutions to facilitate reciprocal exchange of data and information;
  • Maintain an excellent network among key stakeholders in the WASH sector allowing a close working relationship and mutual understanding, specifically among the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE), local authorities, UN Agencies, INGOs, NGOs incl. those funded by SDC via bilateral projects, as well as SDC’s secondees to UN agencies;
  • Maintain an excellent relationship with the staff of the Swiss Embassy and, in addition to the Humanitarian Coordinator, liaise closely with the Ambassador as well as with SDC/South Cooperation (SC) programme managers; integrate synergies between activities of SDC/HA and SDC/SC (Nexus) in the implementation of the WASH TRU; ex-change relevant experience and duplicate successful approaches in terms of sustainable natural resource management and behaviour change;


  • Identify the need for and provide technical advisory services and trainings to improve the technical integrity and quality of WASH projects and programmes in close collaboration with DPHE, the WASH sector and the WASH TRU technical staff;
  • Identify opportunities and be responsible for the implementation of pilot projects in the WASH sector;
  • Establish a sound internal monitoring system to ensure accountability; monitor project implementation and provide support to the team to ensure the quality of the intervention; provide guidance on future improvements;
  • Provide reporting, analysis and communication (e.g. annual planning, credit proposal monitoring, internal reviews, factsheets etc.) as required;
  • Maintain, guide and oversee all administrative procedures of the WASH TRU in line with the rules and regulations applicable to SDC and the FDFA; liaise, facilitate and take on administrative works in a manner that the Swiss Embassy staff has to carry out minimal functions for the WASH TRU;
  • Maintain and monitor financial processes in line with the set of rules as provided by the Swiss Embassy in Dhaka;
  • Maintain a procurement system which follows and complies with the prevailing procurement rules and regulations set by the Swiss Embassy and SDC/HA;
  • Build up and/or contract local human resources as well as international professionals in order to respond to the technical requirements and demands requested from the WASH TRU;
  • Participate in field assessments and intervention activities as required by the demands of the project;
  • Regularly update the Local Security Plan in close coordination with the Swiss Embassy and implement necessary preventive measures to ensure the physical and psychological well-being of all staff working for the WASH TRU; maintain regular contacts with local police and security forces as well as local government to identify eventual negative feelings against the Swiss presence in Cox’s Bazar.

Required Profile and Experience:

  • University degree (Master) in a relevant technical discipline such as Environment or Civil Engineering, Hydrology, or (Hydro-)Geology with specialization in water and sanitation;
  • Sound understanding of the relationships between natural resources, technical options and institutional frameworks acquired through working for a water utility company or a field-based NGO;
  • At least five years of professional experience in WASH related projects in the humanitarian-recovery-development sector, ideally with an experience as secondee to a UN agency;
  • Strong leadership, management, project planning and organizational skills and a keen interest in capacity building as well as systematic behaviour change approaches;
  • Capacity to represent Switzerland; diplomatic and negotiation skills as well as experience in managing the security of an office, including the due care to be given to its public image
  • Knowledge of SDC project cycle management and project reporting is an asset


Fluency in English, spoken and written; command of German or French and good passive understanding of another Swiss national language

Personal Requirements:

  • Good communication skills, both written and oral;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills;
  • Strong networking skills;
  • Ability to think strategically and conceptually and to translate these into concrete results;
  • Ability to set clear objectives for staff and to delegate;
  • Strong organizational and problem-solving skills with an analytic approach;
  • Ability to integrate and work well within multicultural teams;
  • Acting as a team player and facilitating team work;
  • Flexibility to adapt to fluid situations in order to achieve objectives;
  • Ability to work independently in the field;
  • Willingness to work in complex and volatile environments;
  • Demonstrated capacity to work in an adverse environment while keeping a good work-life balance

Starting date and duration

1st May 2019 (or earlier) for 12 months with a possibility for extension

Duty Station

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

Contract: Swiss Humanitarian Aid contract

This position is exclusively open to Swiss citizens or holder of a valid working permit (C permit) in Switzerland. Candidates who do not fulfil this condition will not receive response.



Odette Mauron

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC

Humanitarian Aid

Field Resources H

Effingerstrasse 27

3003 Berne