Consultant to conduct an updated feasibility study on the financial and operational sustainability of the Humanitarian WASH Master’s Program, JORDAN via ReliefWeb

Action Against Hunger

Amman, Jordan 🇯🇴

1. Background

Action Against Hunger (ACF) is a leading humanitarian agency working to combat hunger, malnutrition and its determinants in over 45 countries worldwide. 10 years into the Syrian crisis, Jordan remains host to 1.36 million Syrian refugees (83% of whom live among host communities), in addition to over 90,000 refugees largely from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.

Working in Jordan since 2013, ACF has focused its response on WASH, Food Security and Livelihoods, and MHPSS programming for refugees and vulnerable Jordanians, both in camps and host communities. ACF’s 2020-25 country strategy aims to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable people to socio-economic and environmental challenges in Jordan with an emphasis on rural and peri-urban women and youth. As of 2022, ACF has operations across Amman, Irbid, Mafraq, Zarqa and Madaba with over 70 staff.

The Humanitarian WASH Master of Science Program is an innovative master’s program implemented by German Jordanian University (GJU) and ACF with primary funding from UNICEF and BHA. The main objective of the project is to establish a jointly designed, locally-based, and humanitarian-focused WASH Master program to promote efficient, localized and sustainable WaSH programming in the MENA region. The Master’s program has been operational since February 2021, with the first cohort of students expected to graduate in December 2022. A second cohort of students has started the program as of February 2022.

2. Purpose of the Consultancy

The purpose of this consultancy is to conduct a feasibility study for the Humanitarian WASH Master’s program offered by GJU. This should be based on revised cost assumptions and technical and operational considerations from implementing the program with two cohorts of students. The outcome of this study are expected to inform strategic decision-making moving forward in the set up and the running of the programming, anticipating the phase out of core humanitarian funding streams from 2023 onwards. This consultancy is expected to leverage an existing feasibility study completed in February 2019 that pre-dated the launch of the program; however, a full updated assessment is expected with a revised methodology.

This feasibility study should examine four core areas of the WASH Master’s program:

  • Market Analysis: size, growth, competition, barrier to entry. A market assessment had been conducted with the original feasibility assessment and can assist to inform this study, however it is expected that an updated market analysis is conducted
  • Operational Context: marketing and student recruitment challenges, higher education legislation impacting international students, course delivery and accreditation, legal structure
  • Financial Sustainability: operational costs, cash follow, break-even points, market penetration assessment, forecasting
  • Organisational Capacity: Staffing, recruitment and hiring, student recruitment, training and skills development, GJU internal regulatory procedures

These areas should be analysed through the lens of the WASH Master of Science primary objectives, to build localised WASH humanitarian capacities in the region, and seek to address the following questions:

  1. Is GJU in a position to continue the operational and financial running of the WASH Master’s program in a sustainable way, noting the decreasing availability of humanitarian donor funding streams? This includes a consideration of human resource needs
  2. Is the program able to navigate the operational and regulatory environment of Jordan and the organisational structures of GJU to operate sustainably as intended?
  3. Who are the most likely customers groups for the WASH Master’s and would they consistently pay for this product at a price which covers our costs and supports growth? If not, what changes can be made to the service to make it more adapted to their needs?
  4. What are the funding needs for the WASH Masters in the short and medium term and would the financial operating costs be recovered based on projected student recruitment?

This feasibility assessment will be conducted in parallel to an exercise aimed to review and update the course materials and structure, and propose a complementary professional diploma that may be offered in the medium term. It is critical for the feasibility study consider these different scenarios in its assessment – the current program offer, the revised program offer, the parallel delivery of a professional diploma. ACF and GJU will provide details on these scenarios during the course of the consultancy.

The current WASH Masters course structure and content has been based on the identification of key competencies required in the humanitarian WASH sector. This has resulted in the development of a two year, full time program requiring the completion of a number of compulsory and elective courses documented below.

Compulsory Requirements (20 credit hours)

  • HWaSH 711 Humanitarian System and Concepts
  • HWaSH 721 Technical Essentials: Water and Sanitation
  • HWaSH 722 Technical Essentials: Behaviour Change in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Practices
  • HWaSH731 Humanitarian WASH Project Cycle Management 1
  • HWaSH732 Humanitarian WASH Project Cycle Management 2
  • HWaSH741 Human Resources, Logistics, Security of Humanitarian WASH Programs

Elective Requirements ( 4 credit hours)

  • HWaSH733 Budgeting, reporting, communication and partnership management essentials
  • HWaSH734 Budgeting, reporting, communication and partnership management lab
  • HWaSH751 Simulation exercise
  • HWaSH 735 Advance cash based programming (no material yet developed)
  • HWaSH 736 Disaster risk management (no material yet developed)
  • ERE 742 Sustainability
  • ERE 752 Water, energy and environment management
  • ERE 743 Environmental biotechnology and bioenergy
  • ERE 751 Advanced water and wastewater treatment
  • ERE 752 Waster, energy and environment management
  • ERE 734 Techno Economical Feasibility
  • HWaSH 791 Special topics in Humanitarian WASH

Internship (3 credit hours)

  • HWaSH 761 Internship

Master’s Thesis (9 credit hours)

  • HWaSH 779 A Master Thesis
  • HWaSH 779 B Master Thesis
  • HWaSH 779 C Master Thesis
  • HWaSH 779 D Master Thesis

3. Specific Tasks

The consultant is expected to complete the following tasks over the course and duration of the consultancy:

  1. Attend a briefing for the consultancy with the ACF Deputy Country Director Programs, GJU Administrative and Academic Coordinators and other staff identified and agreed in advance
  2. Carry out a comprehensive feasibility study on the financial and operational sustainability of the WASH Master’s program
  3. Conduct a desk review of existing program data and financials including student enrolment data, teaching costs, current teaching capacity (number of engaged professors) previous feasibility study, market analysis, project evaluation, policy documents, GJU regulatory manuals and other relevant reports, research and publications related to the study
  4. Develop an inception report providing a detailed description of the methodology selected against the key questions, the data collection process and sources, sampling and selection approach, detailed schedule of tasks and workplan, logistical requirements ect.
  5. Lead and manage data collection based on approved data collection tools and methodology
  6. Conduct market research to understand key customer segment groups (early career professionals and new graduates in the Middle East Region) and their needs
  7. Conduct interviews and consultations with relevant stakeholders including GJU, Ministry of Higher Education and humanitarian stakeholders
  8. Conduct a cash flow analysis measuring the level of revenue vs the programs operating costs and the minimum number of students required to break-even
  9. Assess the organisation capacity of GJU to sustain running the WASH Master’s program and their ability to secure diversified income streams for financial sustainability
  10. Formulate concrete recommendations for the adaption of the WASH Master’s program to ensure its financial feasibility
  11. Present on the findings of the feasibility study to the program’s advisory board/steering committee

4. Timeline and Key Deliverables

The consultant is expected to work up to 30 days between October 2022 – January 2023 and submit the following deliverables:

  1. An inception report documenting the approach to be taken and methodology
  2. A detailed draft feasibility study outlining scenarios and options to ensure financial and operational sustainability. This report should include:
    • An executive summary (standalone summary, describing the program, main findings of the study, and conclusions, recommendations. This will be no more than 3 pages in length)
    • Acknowledgements
    • List of acronyms and figures/tables
    • Table of contents
    • Description of the WASH Masters product and service
    • Market assessment and strategy: local and regional markets for the program and detailed strategy
    • Operational Context
    • Organisational Capacity
    • Financial Sustainability
    • Conclusions and recommendations (specifying who they are directed to) across the four key areas of assessment: market, operational context, financial return on investment and organisational capacity
    • List of annexes (data collection instruments, key documents consulted ect.)
  3. A final feasibility study addressing feedback received, to be validated by ACF and GJU
  4. A presentation to key project stakeholders (advisory board/steering committee members) on findings and recommendations from feasibility assessment. A draft presentation should be submitted for validation, prior to the presentation

Tasks and days anticipated:

  • Briefing with ACF and GJU (0.5 day)
  • Desk review, preparation of inception report and submission of data collection tools (5 days)
  • Data collection (10 days)
  • Draft feasibility for review and feedback from ACF and GJU (9 days)
  • Final report addressing feedback (5 days)
  • Presentation of findings (0.5 day)

Total working days expected: 30 days

Work Arrangements

The consultant or consultancy firm is expected work remotely and in person through a field deployment to complete their assignment. This includes travel to GJU’s Madaba campus.

The consultant will be managed by ACF Jordan’s Deputy Director of Programs. Close engagement is also expected with ACF’s Regional WASH Technical Advisor and GJU’s Academic and Administrative Coordinators.

Profile of the Consultant:

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Education, Social Science or another other subject relevant to education
  • Minimum of 7 years of professional experience in higher education or strategic business consultancy services
  • Understanding of the higher education system. Experience in the Jordanian higher education system is considered an advantage
  • Experience in conducting feasibility assessments
  • Experience in working in the humanitarian or development sector desirable
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to dialogue with diverse stakeholders
  • Fluency in written and spoken English. Arabic considered a plus

How to apply

This consultancy is open to both national and international consultants, including individual consultants and consulting firms.

1. Selection Criteria and Application Process:

Interested parties are required to submit a technical and financial proposal for the consultancy including the following:

  1. Technical Proposal: A cover letter outlining relevant experience and suitability for the consultancy (one page); Individual or team CVs; contact details of at least three references; an outline of the methodology that will be taken for conducting the assignment and timeline (two pages), and at least two samples of previous similar work completed
  2. Financial Proposal: An indicative budget covering daily rate(s) and any related expenses. Rates should be in USD and exclusive of VAT. The budget should be inclusive of the visa fee, including all travel related costs (international flights, domestic travel, per diem and in-country accommodation).

For evaluation of the consultant, technical qualifications, experience and quality of past work will be weighted at 70%, with the financial proposal weighted at 30% based on the criteria below. An interview will then be requested with the top two consultants prior to final selection, to validate their suitability and final selection.

Technical (70%)

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Education, Social Science or another other subject relevant to education. Minimum of 7 years of professional experience in higher education or strategic business consultancy services (15%)
  • Understanding of the higher education system. Experience in the Jordanian higher education system is considered an advantage (10%)
  • Experience in conducting feasibility assessments. Quality of sample work provided. (20%)
  • Submitted approach of consultant or consulting firm. (15%)
  • Experience in working in the humanitarian or development sector desirable (5%)
  • Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to dialogue with diverse stakeholders. Fluency in written and spoken English. Arabic considered a plus (5%)

Financial (30%)

2. Intellectual Rights

The ownership of the draft and final documentation belong to ACF, GJU and the project’s donor exclusively. The document, or publication related to it, will not be shared with anybody except ACF and GJU, before the delivery by ACF of the final document to the donor.

ACF and GJU are to be the main addressees of the consultancy and its results might impact on both operational and strategic decision making of the program moving forward. This being said, ACF is likely to share the results of the consultancy with the following groups:

  • Donor
  • Project’s Steering committee

All documentation related to the Assignment (whether or not in the course of the consultant’s duties) shall remain the sole and exclusive property of ACF and GJU.

Applications should be sent to [email protected]





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development