Programme Specialist (R-WASH)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Nairobi, Kenya 🇰🇪

Job no: 559392
Contract type: Fixed Term 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 UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) ensures that the 21 ESAR country offices are supported to accelerate the fulfilment of Child Rights through programming excellence that builds sustainable and resilient systems, addresses inequality and discrimination, and strengthens sustainable financing; and normative and intellectual leadership, policy dialogue, evidence-based advocacy, partnerships and multi-country initiatives are exercised at the regional level

The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Climate, Entergy and Environment (CEE) team within ESARO comprising of a team of  9 staff including temporary assistance staff provides technical assistance, guidance and project/programme development, design and partnerships for 21 country offices.

The section aims for an enhanced enabling  environment for evidence generation, advocacy, resource leveraging and partnership at RO level to support country programmes for scaling-up climate resilient WASH and innovation to tackle water scarcity, and WASH as a catalyst for peace with young people as agent of change.

The ESARO WASH and CEE team has grown significantly in funding, staffing and influence, with the establishment of a climate, and in partnership with UNHCR, funding for Regional WASH Programme term R-WASH (Regional WASH Program for Refugees, IDPs and Host Communities in East Africa) has been secured.

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.

The R-WASH programme is one of the main ESARO WASH Programmes and ensures the mandate of leaving no one behind by serving both refugees/IDP and host communities. As climate change (including recurrent drought) and conflict continue to cause movement and displacement of vulnerable populations including children, the R-WASH which includes a pipeline of projects provides a ready-made response programme that bridges the humanitarian – development nexus.

The programme is managed by a PMU (Programme Management Unit) which will be coordinated by the Programme Specialist (R-WASH) and involve senior representation from UNHCR regional staff and 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?

The Programme Specialist (R-WASH) will work under the direct supervision and technical guidance of the Regional Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Adviser of ESARO. The R-WASH Programme Specialist 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 procurement oversight (ii) technical support to, and quality assurance of, R-WASH operations managed by country offices (iii) management oversight of the R-WASH Program Management Unit, which also entails liaison with bilateral donors, private sectors and IFIs on a regular basis.

Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks

Programme Coordination

  • R-WASH coordination and alignment between development partners, UNHCR, UNICEF ESARO and country offices.

Technical Oversight for Procurements and Report

  • Manage and quality assure regional procurements and reports for R-WASH Programme

Technical documentation and Knowledgement Management

  • Coordinate PMU in technical documentation

Program Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Co-ordinate the monitoring and evaluation of the R-WASH Program

Monitoring and application of environmental and social safeguard standards

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

  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in  a relevant field such as Water Engineering, Environmental engineering, environmental sciences, Civil engineering, or a field related to international WASH programming. Solid knowledge of engineering project management.
  • A minimum of eight years 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 Values

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. For this position, eligible and suitable female candidates are encouraged to apply.

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

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.

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

Advertised: 13 Feb 2023 E. Africa Standard Time
Deadline: 26 Feb 2023 E. Africa Standard Time





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development