Local recruitment: Water Engineer (WASH)

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Mekele, Ethiopia 🇪🇹

Job categories: Engineering, Water Management, Environment

Vacancy code: VA/2022/B5333/24878

Department/office: AFR, ETMCO, Ethiopia MCO

Duty station: Mekele, Tigray Region, Ethiopia

Contract type: Local ICA Specialist

Contract level: LICA Specialist-9

Duration: Ethiopia Country Office Approved EPP

Application period: 16-Nov-2022 to 30-Nov-2022

 Background Information – Job-specific

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world.  Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations. 

Project Background

Political conflict in Ethiopia continues to affect parts of Tigray, Afar, and Amhara (the Northern Ethiopian Crisis), Central and Western Oromia, as well as Benishangul-Gumuz with involvement of non-state armed groups and Federal authorities.  Inter-communal violence has been witnessed in parts of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNP), Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia, and, recently, in Afar and Western Tigray. These localized conflicts have largely been over access to resources and related grievances, including questions on land and land use rights. To help address these issues, in Ethiopia, the World Bank funded  programme, to be managed by UNOPS EMCO, aims as a response – recovery – resilience for conflict – affected communities in Ethiopia (3R-4-CACE). The Key objectives of  the  project is to (i) rebuild access to basic services and climate-resilient community infrastructure and (ii) improve access to multi-sectoral response services for GBV survivors; in targeted conflict-affected communities in Ethiopia. 

The selected candidate will work closely with the Project team, international consultants and the Bureau of Water Resources in Tigray to support the implementation of activities relating to rebuilding access to basic services and climate-resilient community infrastructure.

Functional Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Project Co-ordinator or their Deputy, the WASH Engineer will perform the following tasks.

1. Liaison and relationship building with WASH stakeholders

  • Represent UNOPS in relevant WASH meetings and events, including UN coordination mechanisms;
  • Liaise with WASH government and donor counterparts;
  • Advise the Project Co-ordinator and the project team on strategic direction and government priorities in the WASH sector.

2. Prepare, conduct, analyze and report on assessments required for the project (infrastructure, capacity building and behavioral change).

  • Prepare needs assessments:
    • Conduct secondary research. 
    • Conduct stakeholders mapping and analysis. 
    • Coordinate with all stakeholders to collect available data. 
    • Review and report on the data available (type, reliability, representativity, etc).
    • Propose assessments’ goals, target, scope, methodology and tools. 
    • Prepare the assessments procedures and data collection protocols. 
    • Prepare the assessment tools (forms, interviews, questionnaires, etc.).
    • Set up the assessment tools (data collection software). 
    • Support the procurement of data collection services (draft of TOR, evaluation of bids, etc.).
  • Conduct needs assessments:
    • Train Data Collectors. 
    • Liaise with authorities and all relevant stakeholders to facilitate data collection.
    • Supervise work of Data Collectors in the field. 
    • Conduct personally complex technical assessments of existing water and sanitation infrastructures. 
    • Identify and troubleshoot issues in the data collection. 
    • Perform quality control to ensure high accuracy during data collection. 
  • Analyze data collected:
    • Clean raw data collected. 
    • Organize, cluster, merge or separate data as necessary. 
    • Perform data analysis by applying analytical and statistical techniques.
    • Develop dashboards, tables, graphs and charts for data representation. 
    • Perform quality control to ensure high accuracy during data analysis.
  • Report on findings:
    • Draft structured, concise and comprehensive reports on assessments findings.
    • Suggest possible courses of action for WASH interventions.

3. Guide the conception and planning of the WASH interventions for all three components of the project (infrastructure, capacity building and behavioral change).

  • Conceptualize and plan interventions:
    • Prepare log frames of WASH interventions (inputs, outputs, outcomes, impact).
    • Plan the interventions (including draft of proposals, design briefs, etc.). 
    • Prepare realistic and detailed interventions’ schedules. 
    • Advise on necessary resources and contribute to budget preparation. 
  • Provide guidance on the applicable regulatory framework:
    • Research and summarize the national legal and regulatory framework applicable to the planned interventions (on water and sanitation, environment, construction, etc.). 
    • Record, organize and disseminate this information to all concerned stakeholders (Engineers, International Consultants, Design Firms, etc.).

4. Development of WASH infrastructure interventions – Advise the engineering team in the design of the infrastructure interventions:

  • Develop conceptual design and prepare design briefs related to water and sanitation works centered on the end-user’s needs and which meet stakeholders requirements, UNOPS quality standards, project’s objectives and budget constraints. 
  • Take into account the specific needs of users based on gender, age, disabilities, socio-cultural norms, etc. Maintain a strong focus on economies of resources and sustainability.
  • Consider all stages of an infrastructure life cycle (design and planning, raw material acquisition, materials processing, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, decommissioning, recycling) and optimize the value for money of the infrastructure proposed.

5. Development of WASH capacity building interventions.

  • Prepare detailed tailored capacity building plans based on the gaps identified in the needs assessment. 
  • Analyze partners policies and processes and propose modifications in view of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the WASH services delivered. 
  • Conduct participatory workshops with partners to refine the understanding of the service gaps’ causes, their capacity building needs and their expectations.
  • Develop/review capacity building methods and material (courses, seminars, workshops, etc.). 
  • Identify potential trainers and relevant service providers. Prepare TORs for training providers.

6. Development of WASH community engagement interventions

  • Prepare detailed tailored community engagement plans based on the gaps identified in the needs assessment. 
  • Analyze the community practices and dynamics and propose interventions in view of improving the management/maintenance of water supply/water sanitation facilities (e.g. improve access, ownership, operation & maintenance, revenue generation and funding of maintenance, etc.), hygiene practices and resilience of the communities in terms of access to safe water and sanitation. 
  • Conduct participatory workshops with communities to refine the understanding of the issues they face, better understand their needs and their expectations.
  • Advise on community engagement methods and material (activities, mobilization or creation of community groups, mass media campaigns, etc). 
  • Prepare a call for proposals for NGOs.

7.Participation in WASH procurement processes

  • Participate in the preparation of WASH services/works tender documents, advising the Project Co-ordinator and other team members on the best selection criteria, and drafting documents in UNOPS e-sourcing procurement system.
  • Participate in tender processes, including but not limited to conducting pre-bid meetings, providing clarifications to bidders, leading site visits, participating in bids opening, etc. (acting in full compliance with the provision of the Procurement Manual).
  • Participate in the evaluation of bids, conducting detailed and substantiated technical evaluations and verification/assessment of the references submitted by the bidders  (acting in full compliance with the provision of the Procurement Manual).

8 Monitoring, quality assurance and reporting on WASH interventions

  • Contribute to set up and manage remote supervision systems, including but not limited to the setup of remote monitoring systems based on the “UNOPS Collect” application, the design of implementation dashboards (in collaboration with Data Analysts and ICT Specialists), and the review and acceptance/rejection of completed WASH interventions). 
  • Conduct regular field visits of WASH interventions under all three components of the project, assess the quality of the interventions and coordinate with other UNOPS and partners personnel (Lead Engineers, Site Engineers, Community Mobilizers, Trainers, Government Officials, Community Leaders, etc.) to address any potential issue. 
  • Perform quality assurance and quality control for all WASH interventions. 
  • Report timely and qualitatively on the progress of the WASH interventions, with a focus on impact, quality, risks and issues and lessons learned.

9. Business development

  • Keep track of government and donor WASH priorities.
  • Assist the Partnership team in developing new WASH project proposals.

IV. Impact of Results

The WASH Engineer ensures that the project prioritizes the WASH interventions that are the most needed by the communities, that those interventions are conducted with the highest quality, in the most efficient way (maximizing their value for money), and with careful consideration for their inclusiveness (gender, age, disabilities, social status, etc.) and sustainability (long term maintenance, resilience, etc.), thereby making a decisive contribution to the quality of the project’s outputs. The WASH Engineer also assists with raising the profile of UNOPS in the WASH sector and securing further funding for increased programmes, projects and interventions.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Advanced Degree/Master Degree in Water Engineering; Water, Waste & Environmental Engineering; Water, Sanitation & Waste Engineering; Hydrology & Water Management or equivalent field is required.
  • A First University Degree/ Bachelor’s Degree in Water Engineering; Water, Waste & Environmental Engineering; Water, Sanitation & Waste Engineering; Hydrology & Water Management or equivalent with  additional four (4) years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of a master’s degree.


  • A minimum of two (2 ) years of  professional experience in the field of Water Engineering or Water Management is required.
  • Demonstrated experience in all three components of the project (WASH infrastructure, capacity building and behavioral change) is an asset.
  • Experience with NGOs or governmental agencies active in the WASH sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or Sindh province is an asset


Skills in Health – Sanitation and hygiene behaviour change (2years) is required

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English (Reading, Speaking & Writing) is required.
  •  Knowledge of Tigrigna  language is an asset.