Technical Specialist (WASH)

Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Kananga, Congo (Kinshasa)
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Junior (3-4 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
Languages Required: 


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Job Title

Technical Specialist, WASH, DRC

Position Status


Job Description

Job Title: Technical Specialist, WASH

Job Location: Kananga/Mbuji Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Reports To: Chief of Party

This post is contingent on approved donor funding.

About CRS

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS works to save, protect, and transform lives in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS' relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.

Country Context

CRS has been supporting program activities in the DRC since 1961 and has long-standing relationships throughout the country with church and non-church partners and communities. The DRC country program has a diverse funding base with projects in nutrition, community health, OVC, food security and agricultural livelihoods, microfinance (SILC), WASH, and emergency response. CRS/DRC currently has more than 170 national and 20 international employees. With a FY19 year budget of over USD 23 million, combined with a strong donor interest in supporting CRS work in the country, there are significant growth opportunities for CP. CRS DRC has project offices in Kananga, Mbuji Mayi, Goma, Kalemie, Lodja and Lubumbashi and Kinshasa.

Although the DRC is one of the most freshwater-rich countries in Africa, the water and sanitation sector is defined by very low access rates and strong disparities between urban and rural areas, major cities and peri-urban areas. Government funding for the DRC's water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector generally declined over the MDG period from 5 percent in 1990 to 1.2 percent in 2015, and the sector relies heavily on external partners to receive both funding and technical assistance. Peri-urban areas receive scant attention because they straddle the rural-urban divide. They often leverage a patchwork system of basic services that draws from informal systems and supplies. It is challenging to define the peri-urban interface because of the shifting nature of these areas which embodies a transition from rural to urban.

The DRC failed to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7 targets. 74.8% of the country's urban population live in slums also considered peri-urban areas, which is above the sub-Saharan regional average of 60%. Basic water facilities are available to only 52% of DRC's population, and less than 29% have access to basic sanitation which is below sub-Saharan regional averages of 68% access to clean drinking water and 30% access to sanitation.

This combination of factors has led to a "low level equilibrium," characterized by low tariffs, low consumer expectations regarding service quality, and low consumer willingness to pay - which in turn creates a disincentive for increased government funding for the sector. Compounding the problem, the unprecedented increase of urban population has undercut the impact of new investments and triggered the challenge of maintaining current levels of infrastructure. The country's average urban growth rate in the last decade was 4.1 percent, equaling an increase of 1 million urban dwellers in Congolese cities every year. As a result of recurrent (and protracted) crises and aggregate shocks (lack of basic services in rural areas) these places--known as peri-urban areas--expand quickly, due to a "push of rural instead of the pull of urban areas" making subsequent delivery of services expensive.

Job Summary:

To address the problems listed above, CRS will be working in consortium with other international and national NGOs, and private sector partners, with the aim of developing low-cost sustainable water supply service models, identifying financing needs and options at the water service level (building on Azure model developed by CRS in Central America), and engaging with civil society engagement for payment.

As Technical Specialist, you will provide technical advice and support to a range of program design and implementation issues in the area of water, sanitation, finance and governance, in line with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) program quality principles and standards, donor guidelines, and industry best practices to Country Program (CP) teams to advance the delivery of high-quality programming to the poor and vulnerable. Your advice, knowledge, and support will contribute to determining how effective, adaptive and innovative CRS' WASH programming is across the globe.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Support the development and contribute to the implementation of agency-wide strategies, standards, tools and best practices in water, sanitation, finance and governance that effectively engage partners, donors, and governments. Help ensure a cross-sectoral approach integrating gender, protection mainstreaming, and disaster risk reduction.
  • Provide technical solutions to CP teams, remotely and on-site, for strategic planning and how to best apply standards, best practices, partnership principles, tools and M&E, helping to ensure high-quality implementation.
  • Contribute to, and in some cases lead, the development of the technical design for proposals. Support the process of preparation, design, submission and approval of project concepts and full-fledged proposals. As needed, act as a technical writer on proposal development teams. Advise project teams on integrating donor strategies, priorities and technical requirements into CRS' approach.
  • Support capacity strengthening initiatives in water, sanitation, finance and governance programming for staff and partner through helping develop learning and training strategies and agendas/curriculums, conducting trainings and workshops, and coaching.
  • Collect and analyze program data, capture and share lessons learned and best practices for specific projects to facilitate improvements in decision-making and contribute to the water, sanitation, finance and governance learning agenda.
  • Contribute to maintaining relationships with donors, peer organizations, research and other institutions, participate in forums in the area of water, sanitation, finance and governance to collect and share best practices and promote CRS' work.
  • Work with the CRS team to define quality control processes for water and sanitation system improvement projects.
  • Conduct field visits to verify and review design work, technical studies and construction of rural or peri-urban water and sanitation systems in DRC within the project.

Typical Background, Experience & Requirements:

Education and Experience

  • Master's Degree in water, sanitation, finance and governance, or in a related area, with relevant experience required.
  • Minimum of three years relevant work experience with progressive responsibilities, ideally with an international NGO, with minimum of two years relevant field-based experience in water and sanitation, preferably design, elaboration of technical studies, management or evaluation and monitoring.
  • Knowledge of technical principles and concepts in water, sanitation, finance and governance. General knowledge of other related disciplines to ensure proper cross-sectoral approach.
  • Experience in project design and proposal development. Experience in writing content for proposals.
  • Experience in working in rural areas with Water and Sanitation Operators in the DRC.
  • Knowledge of capacity strengthening best practices.
  • Experience with program monitoring and evaluation and analysis.
  • Experience and skills in networking and relations with donors, peer organizations, and faith-based and civil society partners. Understanding of partnership principles.
  • Proficient in MS Office packages (Excel, Word, PowerPoint), Web Conferencing Applications, information and budget management systems, knowledge-sharing networks.

Personal Skills

  • Strong relationship management skills with ability to influence and get buy-in from people not under direct supervision and to work with individuals in diverse geographical and cultural settings
  • Good strategic, analytical, problem-solving and systems thinking skills with capacity to see the big picture and ability to make sound judgment
  • Able to research, learn and implement new technologies quickly
  • Good technical writing skills
  • Presentation, facilitation, training, mentoring, and coaching skills
  • Proactive, resourceful and results-oriented

Required/Desired Foreign Language English fluency and Advanced French proficiency

(verbal and written ability)

Travel Required Position is based in Kananga or Mbuji Mayi, DRC, with some travel to Kinshasa.

Key Working Relationships

Supervisory -- Project Technical Specialist, MEAL Officer, Finance Officer, Engineer

Internal -- Country Representative, Deputy Country Representative for Programming, Head of Programming,

External -- Consortium Members/Project Team, Governance Advisor, Procurement Focal Point, Community Engagement Lead,

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff)

These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and achieve the desired results.

  • Integrity
  • Continuous Improvement & Innovation
  • Builds Relationships
  • Develops Talent
  • Strategic Mindset
  • Accountability & Stewardship

What we offer

CRS offers a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, life insurance, vision, generous retirement savings plan and the opportunity to work in a collaborative, mission-driven culture that is committed to improving the lives of the poor throughout the world.

***Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. We welcome as a part of our staff people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need. CRS' processes and policies reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.

Disclaimer: This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skill, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position.

CRS' talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.

Equal Opportunity Employer