WASH Specialist (Public Health Emergencies)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Nairobi, Kenya 🇰🇪

Job no: 560306
Contract type: Temporary Appointment
Duty Station: Nairobi
Level: P-4
Location: Kenya
Categories: WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)

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.

Diseases related to poor access to water and sanitation services, and lack of hygiene are the direct causes of WASH-related diseases such as cholera, other diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, drought-induced eyes and skin infections, and hepatitis E. These diseases affect primarily the most WASH-deprived and vulnerable groups and beyond the poorest wealth groups everywhere on the African continent.  

Cholera is an endemic disease in 11 countries in Eastern & Southern Africa. In 2023 as of mid-quarter one, the number of cholera deaths in the region was five times higher than in the whole of 2021. In 2022, a cumulative total of 11,568 cholera cases and 235 deaths (Case Fatality Rate, 0.5 to 4%) have been reported by 8 countries.  Drought-induced diseases -skin and eyes infections due to lack of hygiene- are very common in the Horn of Africa countries where the access to water is constrained due to a mega-drought with a 4th consecutive year of failed rainy seasons.  The number of people affected and living in area with Infection Prevention and Control (IFP) 3 and 4 (food crisis and emergency phases) is estimated to be 37 million people, including 24.1 million in Ethiopia, 7.8 million in Somalia and 4.2 million in Kenya, 1 million in Eritrea (about half of them are living with water shortage). The lack of water contributes to both water borne diseases and water-washed diseases. Four countries, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, had developed and implemented Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) preparedness plans. In those countries, UNICEF is implementing projects to reduce the risks of Ebola transmission through risk prevention in selected Health Care Facility (HCF), schools and communities.  Finally, although not a WASH related disease, Ebola is endemic in Uganda and the WASH/IPC has been critical in Uganda in Q3 2022 for stopping the outbreak in 9 affected districts with 3 epicenters: Kassanda district, Mubende district and Kampala district. UNICEF contributed to containing the Sudan Ebola Virus disease through a comprehensive Ebola Ring approach, in close collaboration with all sectors and Ebola responders.  

How can you make a difference?

Under the supervision of the WASH Specialist (Emergencies) and in close coordination with other members of the Regional Office, the WASH Specialist (Public Health Emergencies(PHE)) with be responsible to provide selected ESAR countries affected by Public Health Emergencies with quality assurance, programme strategies, technical support and strengthening outbreak response systems. The primary focus will be on Cholera prevention & control, prevention of drought-induced WASH diseases in WASH programming, and prevention of diarrheal diseases (DD) and other WASH diseases. 

The WASH Specialist (PHEs) will:  

  1. Collect, review and use the data on current WASH related diseases in the ESAR and assess to which extent these data are used in WASH programs for supporting the development, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of UNICEF’s preparedness and response to cholera and other WASH diseases in the concerned countries.  
  1. Analyze and provide guidance to improve the current Public Health response strategies for which WASH sector has a critical role   
  • Cholera prevention & control: implementation of the cholera case-area targeted intervention (CATI approach) and cluster case targeted intervention (CLUSTI approach) supporting district health authorities to deploy the rapid response teams or cholera outbreak response teams (CORT).  
  • Lead on the prevention of Diarrheal diseases (DD) and Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) in poor and displaced people settings. 
  • Support Ebola response through the Ring approach.  
  • Lead on the prevention of drought-induced WASH diseases: the WASH Specialist (Public Health Emergencies) will analyze the health data and review the response and provide technical advice to the UNICEF programme to better integrate elements of diseases prevention and risk reduction.   
  1. Update periodically (each quarter) the list of cross-border PHE focal points and organize ad-hoc cross-border online meetings when diseases transmission risks are increasing on one side of the border.
  1. Support UNICEF Country Offices to ensuring overall efficiency, effectiveness and delivery of PHE response in accordance with UNICEF’s Core Commitment for Children Emergencies (CCCs), WHO Health guidelines and national humanitarian standards.  
  1. Support to the RO/WASH section in analyzing the epidemiological trends of WASH diseases in the region and advise on how to correct the course of ongoing projects/programmes.   
  1. Provide capacity development to WASH and Health staff and partners related PHE strategies and disease response systems that work.  

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

  • Advance degree in Public Health, or Water/Sanitation/Hygiene or equivalent.  *A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with two additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree. 
  • At least eight years’ experience developing and implementing public health and WASH emergency response programme in several countries at local, national, and cross-border level. 
  • Development or participation in development of reference materials on public health emergency WASH response, manuals, guides, national plans, or strategies is highly desirable. 
  • Robust experience in the management of training events and learning exchange initiatives. 
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of a second UN and/or local working language of the duty station 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…

Core Competencies 

  • Builds and maintains partnerships 
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness 
  • Drive to achieve results for impact 
  • Innovates and embraces change 
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity 
  • Thinks and acts strategically 
  • 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.

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

Advertised: 17 Mar 2023 E. Africa Standard Time
Deadline: 31 Mar 2023 E. Africa Standard Time





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development