Programme Manager (R-WASH)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Nairobi, Kenya 🇰🇪

Job no: 557933
Contract type: Temporary Appointment
Duty Station: Nairobi
Level: P-4
Location: Kenya
Categories: WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), Programme Management

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, water.

The East and Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region now currently hosts 4.97 million refugees and asylum seekers, the majority (over 4 million) from South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, and Bu-rundi. A further 12.83 million people are internally displaced in the region, as a result of conflict and natural disasters, the majority (over 10,4 million) of internally displaced persons being in Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan.

Climate change and increasingly extreme weather events present major risks to the region. The horn of Africa is facing severe drought conditions, the most severe in 40 years due to failure of five consecutive rainy seasons, which has induced a water crisis with more than 8.5million people including 4.2 million children facing dire water shortages. Drought-induced population movement is further deepening the displacement crisis in the region with more than 7.5 million people displaced due to the drought in search of safety and assistance.

This has led to increased pressure on WASH infrastructure in the hosting communities. The most affected countries are   South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda with the current crisis in Ethiopia resulting in high numbers of both IDPs and refugees in Sudan. These refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are often resettled in the most marginalised locations, facing multiple economic, social, and geographic induced challenges as well as limited access to natural resources, markets, and infrastructure. Due to this, WASH programmes for the refugee/IDP community and the surrounding host communities are often focused on refugees and IDPs (in some instances providing them with superior services compared to host communities) and often lead to friction and social tensions. In most cases, the water supply for both the host community and the refugees/IDPs is not adequate or reliable as the sources are not well developed, the infrastructure is not well maintained, the utility companies are not well equipped, staff not well trained and there is high operational costs due to expensive and unreliable power supply. Sanitation facilities for both communities are not well established, and, in some cases, open defecation is still practised.

The existing WASH infrastructure within the camps and settlements presents opportunities to build upon. In the areas with low levels of services like Dollow in Somalia, the need is so great that both IDP and host communities have expressed willingness to take on a service delivery role through community water supply management. In addition, national and local governments are likely to receive the programme with strong political goodwill due to the development benefits for the host nation as well as the commitments made by the programme countries through the Global Compact for Refugees as well as the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. The presence of refugees/IDPs has also attracted the attention and concern of international donors and agencies (BMZ/KFW, UNICEF, UNHCR, etc.) which has created a favourable environment for sustained funding beyond the immediate emergency response activities and the short-term needs.

There are a number of inclusive WASH service provision models being implemented within the East Africa Region, jointly by UNHCR and UNICEF as well as other partners. In the Gambella region in Ethiopia, UNICEF and UNHCR have established a water and sanitation utility where UNHCR is the initial anchor client and provides bulk payments to the utility. This provides an opportunity for early financial viability while allowing the utility to improve its technical capacities and expand access to services for both the refugees and host community populations. 

UNICEF East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) and the UNHCR regional office in Nairobi have secured funding for regional WASH programme termed R-WASH. R-WASH stands for Regional WASH Program for Refugees, IDPs and Host Communities in East Africa (R-WASH). The programme covers 4 major refugee/IDP and host community locations in Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan. The programme involves CAPEX and OPEX investments to establish new reticulated urban water supply systems for the host community and refugee communities as well City Wide Inclusive Sanitation (CWiS) interventions. R-WASH will expand the “Gambella model” of water utility management of services for refugees and host communities. The programme is managed by a PMU (Programme Management Unit) which will be coordinated by the R-WASH Programme Manager and involve Senior Representation from UNHCR regional staff, UNICEF ESARO specialists. The PMU is housed and located in the UNICEF ESARO offices in the United Nations Offices in Nairobi (UNON).

How can you make a difference?

Under the direct supervision and technical guidance of the Regional Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) advisor of ESARO. The R-WASH Programme Manager will be responsible for (i) the management of the day-to-day operations of the R-WASH programme, including Country level oversight and coordination as well as regional or multi-country oversight (ii) technical support to, and quality assurance of, R-WASH operations managed by country offices.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Within the delegated authority and under the given organizational set-up, the incumbent may be assigned the primarily, shared, or contributory accountabilities for all or part of the following areas of major duties and key end-results. 

Procurement Oversight 

Manage and quality assure regional procurements for R-WASH 

  • Coordination with UNHCR and UNICEF supply and procurement teams, provide oversight for all R-WASH regional procurements including regional service contracts in engineering feasibility, study, design and supervision, utility capacity development, environmental and social safeguards and knowledge management and monitoring. 
  • With UNHCR and UNICEF ESARO conceptualize, input and develop ToRs and other key documents for Expression of Interest /RFPs for essential procurements. 

Program Management

Manage and co-ordinate all R-WASH Regional Institutional Contracts 

  • Co-ordinate and represent UNICEF ESARO to ensure alignment of the R-WASH regional institutional consultant’s deliverables to the assignment terms of reference, which will include organising and convening technical co-ordination meetings at both regional and country level.
  • Facilitate for the development and deployment of a remote monitoring system, in support of the monitoring and evaluation requirements for the R-WASH Program.

Programme Coordination with Country Offices 

R-WASH coordination with UNICEF and UNHCR Country Offices. 

  • Represent UNICEF with UNHCR and facilitate and organize PMU coordination meetings on monthly basis for programme updates and formulate the R-WASH steering committee meetings  with the major development partners and country office PIUs – (Programme Implementation Units), 

Programme Coordination with KFW 

Alignment between development partner, UNHCR, UNICEF ESARO and country offices 

  • Undertake joint missions with UNICEF ESARO and UNHCR for country level coordination and missions to ensure alignment between regional service contracts and UNICEF and UNHCR Country Office CAPEX works and field level operations. 
  • Co-ordination with KfW, UNICEF ESARO and UNHCR on expansion, and inclusion of additional sub-projects in the R-WASH Program Pipeline

  Program documentation /Knowledge Management 

Coordinate PMU in technical documentation 

  • Draft and coordinate the required R-WASH reports with the PMU (UNHCR) and PIUs (UNICEF/UNHCR) as well as archive project documentation, 
  • Provide required R-WASH presentations and webinars 
  • Take lead in development of Knowledge Products for the R-WASH Programme

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in civil or water engineering. Knowledge of engineering project management.
  • A minimum of eight of relevant professional experience in development programming – including planning, implementation and monitoring of large engineering projects, thorough understanding of water and sanitation engineering theory and practice is essential.
  • Demonstrated experience in designing, managing and quality assuring water and sanitation engineering programmes in complex settings is indispensable.
  • Familiarity with the range of development issues addressed by UNICEF in the Eastern and Southern Africa region is necessary. Prior work experience in the region is a distinct advantage.
  • Experience in providing technical support to development stakeholders at different levels – including government, private sector, civil society, as well as UN and other partners – on engineering issues would be a plus.
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter:

UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships (2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (3) Drive to achieve results for impact (4) Innovates and embraces change (5) Manages ambiguity and complexity (6) Thinks and acts strategically (7) Works collaboratively with others.

During the recruitment process, we test candidates following the competency framework. Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels: competency framework here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.
We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.
UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF is committed to promote the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


UNICEF’s active commitment towards diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments are also subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.

Advertised: 14 Dec 2022 E. Africa Standard Time
Deadline: 28 Dec 2022 E. Africa Standard Time





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development