Consultancy: Data analyst for assessing inequalities in WASH

New York, NY, US

ob Number: 500004 | Vacancy Link
Location: Programme Division, UNICEF NYHQ
Work Type : Consultancy

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children’s survival, protection and development. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Background & Rationale

The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation monitors and reports progress towards global targets related to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. During the MDG period the JMP systematically assessed trends in improved drinking water and sanitation coverage for over 200 countries and reported on differences in access between rural and urban areas. The use of water and sanitation “ladders” encouraged a focus on progressive realization of the human rights to water and sanitation and the targeting of populations with no service, in particular those practicing open defecation. This core dataset was complemented by inequality analyses including trends in wealth quintiles for around 80 countries and occasional analysis of other important inequalities.

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, UN Member States reaffirmed their commitment to address inequality (Goal 10) and ensure universal access to drinking water and sanitation (Goal 6). The JMP convened an inequalities taskforce in January 2016 to review the approaches used during the MDGs and to prioritize inequality monitoring during the SDGs. Two key inequality stratifiers for which there was agreement on the need to conduct systematic analysis and for which data are available are wealth quintiles and sub-national regions. The purpose of this consultancy is to provide support to the JMP team with the analysis of microdata to update, expand and harmonize the existing JMP inequalities databases in advance of the JMP SDG baseline report in June 2017. The majority of the consultancy (around 75%) will be spent on updating the JMP water and sanitation by wealth quintile database.

A recent MICS methodology paper investigated different methodologies for calculating coverage of water and sanitation by wealth quintile and recommended the continued use of bespoke asset indices for sector reports on water and sanitation (Martel, 2016). Since water and sanitation are both closely linked to poverty in many countries, the usual practice of including water and sanitation in the principal component analysis may result in a bias. The methodology paper recommends using standard syntaxes (where available) and removing the water and sanitation variables. The JMP will endeavor to obtain the standard wealth quintile scripts from DHS, MICS and LSMS supported surveys but will require the consultant to create completely new wealth quintiles for other national surveys. The consultant will be expected to build on the existing JMP database and update it using surveys that have become available since the JMP 2015 report at the end of the MDG period. It is estimated that around 100 additional surveys are available for the 80 countries already in the wealth quintile database and a further 30 countries have data for a single point in time. The existing analysis will also be revisited to ensure alignment with the new SDG definitions of basic access, addressing the accessibility of water sources (no more than 30 minutes roundtrip to collect water). The updated database will be used to produce revised estimates for rural, urban and total populations.

The analysis for sub-national regions will be based on surveys conducted since 2010. Trends will not initially be calculated but the most recent survey will be used for each country recognizing that administrative boundaries can change over time. The analysis will be conducted for circa 150 countries with data available.

The JMP intends to also support WHO and UNICEF regional offices in preparing in-depth inequality analyses which will be used in snapshots such as the recent snapshot on inequalities in sanitation and drinking water in Latin America and the Caribbean ( The priorities for these will be agreed with the JMP team and may include particular themes (e.g. the burden of water collection or child faeces disposal) or inequalities that are relevant at a regional of national level (e.g. ethnic groups or languages).

The consultant will be selected by and managed by the UNICEF JMP team based in New York.


The purpose of this consultancy is to update, expand and harmonize the WHO/UNICEF JMP inequalities databases for water, sanitation and handwashing by wealth quintiles and to create a database for coverage by sub-national regions. The consultancy will also enable the JMP to support regional offices in the creation of more in-depth inequality analyses for use in snapshots.

Expected results: (measurable results)

The data analyst will:

  1. Prepare summary report with description of proposed methodology for updating the wealth quintile analysis and generating national estimates for wealth quintiles, including identification of new datasets for analysis (5 days)
  2. Calculate coverage of basic sanitation, basic drinking water and basic hygiene for surveys utilizing existing wealth quintile scripts (e.g. MICS, DHS) and surveys without existing wealth quintile scripts (20 surveys per day with scripts, 3-4 per day without scripts: total 45 days)
  3. Create a dataset with water, sanitation and hygiene ladders for sub-national regions using the latest dataset for around 150 countries (15 surveys per day, 15 days)
  4. Prepare 10 compelling charts on inequalities by wealth and by sub-national region for potential inclusion in the JMP 2017 SDG baseline report (5 days)
  5. Support the JMP team and UNICEF and WHO regional offices with in-depth inequality analyses for specific regions utilizing household survey and census data (5 days)

Duty Station

The consultant will be based remotely, with potential for travel to UNICEF HQ in New York and/or WHO HQ in Geneva as needed. Initial two day training will be provided at UNICEF HQ in New York. UNICEF will pay a maximum of 2 international flights and up to 15 days DSA as required.


Start date:  1 Dec 2016     End date: 31 August 2017  

The consultant will work closely together with specialized staff from both UNICEF and WHO on the completion of these tasks.

Key competences, technical background, and experience required Deadline

  • Advanced Degree in Statistics and/or demonstrated experience of managing and analysing large datasets
  • This is a mid-level position, consultants should have a minimum of five years’ working experience with water and sanitation data
  • Extensive knowledge of and experience with the construction of wealth quintiles using principal component analysis
  • Extensive experience in the analysis of data from stratified cluster household surveys, including the use of SPSS and Stata
  • Preference will be given to candidates with experience of analysis of water and sanitation data from both household surveys and censuses
  • High levels of computer literacy including advanced proficiency with MS Excel
  • Demonstrated technical writing ability
  • Consultant should have good communication skills in English
  • Preference will be given to candidates with French and/or Spanish language

To view our competency framework, please click here

Qualified candidates are requested to submit a cover letter, CV and P 11 form (which can be downloaded from our website at

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable).  Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.

Opening Date 31 Oct 2016 Eastern Daylight Time
Closing Date 15 Nov 2016 Eastern Standard Time