Senior WASH Officer

Geneva, Switzerland
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

Procedures and Eligibility

Before submitting an application, UNHCR staff members intending to apply to this Job Opening are requested to consult the Recruitment and Assignments Policy (RAP, UNHCR/HCP/2017/2 and the Recruitment and Assignments Administrative Instruction (RAAI), UNHCR/AI/2017/7 OF 15 August 2017.

Duties and Qualifications

Senior WASH Officer (HQ) 


The Public Health Section's objectives are to reduce morbidity and mortality among UNHCR's populations of concern and to improve their quality of life. The Senior WASH Officer's position is among this crucial expertise within the section. This position will provide technical support at headquarters to the bureaux and the field (regional and country) to develop and implement policies and strategies related to water, sanitation and hygiene. The Senior WASH Officer plays a leadership role within UNHCR by developing policy and providing technical support in the area of WASH. The incumbent must ensure that latest policy and technical procedures are shared and used consistently in UNHCR's water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). 

The contacts within UNHCR are with Regional WASH Officers and Country WASH Officers as well as Public Health officer when there is no WASH officer at regional, national and field level for  development, dissemination and coordination of WASH policies and programmes. The incumbent undertakes missions to the field and liaises with Representatives and their staff on the implementation of  WASH programmes. 

In addition, the incumbent has regular contact with UN technical agencies, particularly WHO and UNICEF, NGO Partners, and Government officials as needed. The incumbent will report to the Chief of the Public Health Section. 



  • Technical expertise and support in the area of WASH is provided to the bureaux and the field. 
  • Strategies for WASH guidance and documents are established in line with most up-to-date evidence. 


  • Revise/update/develop and ensure implementation of UNHCR's polices and strategies including strategic plan for WASH taking into account UNHCR's mandate for protection, assistance, and durable solution as well it Global Strategic Objective .  
  • Ensure dissemination and implementation of internationally accepted standards, policies, and guidelines within UNHCR and among partners; adapt accordingly to the unique situation of refugee populations.  
  • Work in a multi-sectoral and co-ordinated approach within the office as well as in co-operation with UN agencies, donors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other humanitarian partners. 
  • Represent UNHCR in relevant international/external meetings, conferences and similar fora and share information on UNHCR's activities in nutrition and related matters as well as coordinate internally with other technical sectors, including DIP, Bureaux, DESS, coordinate with DER on various fund raising and advocacy efforts. 
  • Participate in in the WASH cluster activated by UNICEF to enable effective response to IDPs field operations in a more coordinated manner as well as participate in UNHCR's emergency operations. 
  • Provide technical assistance on WASH to UNHCR's regional and national WASH and public health officers, including consultants and UNVs, NGO partners, the Bureaux, DIPs and direct requests from the field as required including through field missions. 
  • Mentor the WASH personnel at field level through briefings, updates and references. 
  • Review and provide technical inputs on reports and programme proposals from the field with the view to verify compliance with UNHCR policy priorities including refugee women and children, gender, adolescents and other related priorities. 
  • Advise PMCS and Field Offices on the matters related to procurement of sector-related materials and equipment, and regular update on new development and specifications of such items.   
  • Be available for rapid deployment for mission to new refugee emergencies. 
  • Support and guidance, analyse the WASH monitoring systems, KAP surveys and other WASH assessments, such as the WASH module in UNHCR Standardized Expanded Nutrition Survey. 
  • Coordinate and participate in joint needs assessment, WASH assessment of  refugees and returnees. 
  • Assist in the design and implementation of the monitoring and evaluation system for WASH  programmes. 
  • Support implementation and functioning of  WASH Information Systems, and HCR's Result Based Management Framework, Focus as well ensure linkages with WASH assessment tools and process 
  • Facilitate capacity strengthening activities of UNHCR and its implementing partners to address key areas of  WASH to ensure the technical integrity of the programmes. 
  • Expand and establish strategic partnerships in key technical areas to support capacity of field operations as well mobilise WASH specialised expertise as programme required including in emergencies. 
  • Ensure that WASH is adequately addressed in in house capacity building activities venues including training 
  • Ensure that current gaps in skills and knowledge in the area of WASH are addressed through global and regional training as well as on job support is provided during field missions. 
  • Advocate on all issues relating to WASH documented in refugees/IDPs and other persons of concern to UNHCR both within and outside of UNHCR in particular adequate access to services,  including inclusion of refugees and other persons of concern in national and international fora and funding sources. 
  • Lead/support the efforts in resource mobilisation in the area of WASH with an emphasis on non-traditional donors to UNHCR as well as develop/assist in project proposal writing and fundraising 
  • Undertake operational research with relevant stakeholders in order to improve programmatic response, assimilate and produce best practice/lessons learnt/academic articles. 
  • Initiate pilot projects/research on appropriate technologies that are relevant to humanitarian operations in the area of WASH. 


  • Provide guidance and recommendations on the overall strategy and focus of the WASH Programmes. 
  • Provide recommendations and determine quality of  WASH assessments and surveys. 
  • Represent UNHCR in WASH meetings. 


  • Advanced University degree in water and sanitation or environmental or public health engineering/water resources development or post-graduate degree in one of the civil engineering disciplines of water supply and/or hydrology) or sanitation/hygiene engineering. 
  • Minimum of 10 years progressively responsible functions in water/sanitary engineering or a related field in developing countries dealing with large scale water/sanitary activities. Of the ten years, at least 5 years' experience should be in a capacity directly relevant to the current position in an international humanitarian organization dealing with large scale emergencies or displaced/refugee situations.  
  • Specific and proven skills and training in the areas of environmental sanitation, natural resources management, water quality, bore-hole drilling, vector control and appropriate technologies. 
  • Proficient in basic computer software, including engineering design tools. 
  • Strong drafting skills. 
  • Excellent knowledge of English (written/oral/comprehension) is essential.  


Describe any experience or knowledge that would be an asset, such as: UNHCR Learning Programmes, other training, additional languages, Field/HQs experience, etc. 

  • Experience and professional training in water supply, sanitation and hygiene and related infrastructure development works with strong academic qualification in those areas. 
  • Working knowledge of another UN language, preferably French.

Position Competencies

  • C001L3 - Accountability Level 3
  • C002L3 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 3
  • C003L3 - Communication Level 3
  • C004L3 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 3
  • C005L3 - Client & Result Orientation Level 3
  • C006L3 - Organizational Awareness Level 3
  • M001L3 - Empowering and Building Trust Level 3
  • M005L3 - Leadership Level 3
  • M004L3 - Strategic Planning and Vision Level 3
  • M002L3 - Managing Performance Level 3
  • M003L3 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 3
  • X005L3 - Planning and Organizing Level 3
  • X001L3 - Analytical Thinking Level 3
  • X006L3 - Policy Development & Research Level 3

Additional  Information

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Additional  Information

For those people applying for High Risk Duty Stations, we strongly encourage them – before deciding to apply- to read the country specific security and welfare country profiles which can be found on the Intranet under Support Services - Duty of Care ( Ensuring staff are better informed is part of the increased attention UNHCR is paying to Duty of Care.

Staff after having applied to High Risk Duty Stations will have access to country specific information webinars with Field Safety Section (FSS) and Staff Welfare Section (SWS) colleagues and provided with a tool to test their psychological preparedness for serving in High Risk Duty Stations. Applicants who applied for a position in a High Risk country will receive, after the deadline for applications has expired, a joint invitation from the Staff Welfare Section (SWS) and the Field Safety Section (FSS) to participate in these webinars. During the Webinars, latest updates on security and well-being will be provided, and FSS and SWS will address questions raised by participants. Applicants are highly encouraged to benefit, when applicable, from all measures as they provide most up-to-date security and well-being information helpful to assess staff’s readiness to serve in a High Risk Duty Station. A Staff Welfare Officer will also be available, if and when required, to discuss with interested applicants the results of the psychological preparedness tool as well as readiness for assignment in High Risk Duty Stations.

Closing Date

Please note that the closing date for all vacancies in this addendum is Monday 19 August 2019 (midnight Geneva time).