Intern (WASH)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Geneva, , CH

The objective of the Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health (WSH) unit in the World Health Organization (WHO) is to ensure the lowest possible burden of water-, sanitation-, and hygiene- (WASH) related disease by providing a normative framework and supporting the implementation of effective actions to reduce the burden of WASH-related disease.

As part of its normative functions, WSH coordinates the WHO International Scheme to Evaluate Household Water Treatment Technologies (the Scheme), which seeks to ensure that household water treatment (HWT) sufficiently improve the microbial quality of drinking-water to protect against diarrhoeal disease[1]. The specific objectives of the Scheme are to: (i) promote and coordinate independent and consistent testing and evaluation of household water treatment products based on WHO criteria, and in so doing, guide WHO Member States and procuring United Nations (UN) agencies in the selection of HWT; and (ii) support governments in a number of evaluation related functions, including building technical capacity of research institutions, conducting complimentary national assessments of HWT in the field, and strengthening national regulation of HWT.

The WSH unit also coordinates the WHO International Network of Drinking-water Regulators (RegNet)[2]. The objective of RegNet is to promote best practice as it relates in drinking-water regulation and protection of public health. Through RegNet, WHO assists Member States to implement WHO Guidelines on Drinking-water Quality.


Terms of reference
Under the supervision of the WSH technical officer responsible for managing day-to-day operations of the Scheme and coordination of RegNet, the intern will support the following activities:

HWT Scheme

  1. Administration of Round III:
    • undertaking web research to identify candidate products for evaluation
    • following up with manufacturers and reviewing expressions of interest for evaluation
    • contributing to drafting of Round III summary report and product-specific reports
  2. Dissemination of the Scheme testing protocols and Round II summary results:
    • organizing webinars with manufacturers, implementing organizations, regulatory and laboratory officials
    • drafting text and content for information leaflets on interpretation of test results, key performance criteria, etc.
  3. Strengthening national capacity in HWT regulation and evaluation, including:
  • develop tools and associated materials for baseline assessments of national laboratory facilities and resources
  • provide technical support to the adaption of existing WHO evaluation protocols to national contexts
  • drafting criteria for assessing product information, use instructions and product quality in national HWT certification programmes
  • collecting and reviewing literature on best practices in water storage and vector borne disease prevention


  1. Finalize update of the Regulatory Scan[3], which documents the extent to which WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality have been used in developing national drinking-water quality standards:
  • update summary data in existing Regulatory Scan report
  • set-up of the Regulatory Scan database online, with options for continuous update
  1. Development of technical briefs / issue sheets on lead contamination and quality of service:
    • collate and synthesize input from RegNet members on quality of service benchmarks
    • collect and review information on best practices in managing lead contamination in drinking-water

Learning objectives

  • Understand the objectives of WHO’s global WASH programme
  • Communicate clearly about WHO’s work on water quality, including the core recommendations of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality and interface with drinking-water regulators, and recommendations on performance of water treatment technologies,
  • Strengthen skills in conducting literature reviews and synthesizing information
  • Refine skills in data preparation and analysis


20 April – 9 October 2020



Have completed three years of full-time studies (bachelor’s level or equivalent) related to water quality (including microbiology) / environmental science / environmental engineering / public health at a university or equivalent institution prior to commencing the assignment; AND be enrolled in a course of study at a university or equivalent institution leading to a formal qualification. Applicants who have already graduated may also qualify for consideration provided that they apply the internship within six months after completion of their formal qualification.

Core competencies

  • Team work
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural difference
  • Communication

All interns should be able to demonstrate the following skills in line with the WHO core competencies:

  • Communicating effectively orally and in writing
  • Showing willingness to learn from mistakes
  • Producing and delivering quality results
  • Working collaboratively with team members

In addition, interns need to be familiar with commonly used computer programmes, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Sharepoint.


  • Experience in research and/or in drafting reports
  • Experience in water quality management and water policy analysis, through academic work or research
  • Field and/or developing country experience 
  • Experience with data analysis, statistical packages and interest in the design of graphical display and analysis of health information in an international comparative perspective, such as for health system performance assessment 


Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of French. Intermediate knowledge of Other UN language.


Interns do not receive a salary. They do however receive a stipend. The stipend depends on the duty station and other external support (grant, scholarships, etc.) received by the intern. In Geneva, the maximum amount of the stipend provided by WHO is 1728 USD per month. The exact amount of the stipend will be calculated for each intern, after selection, based on a financial disclosure form that they will complete. In addition, all interns in Geneva will receive a daily lunch voucher of a value of CHF15 to be used on WHO campus during the working days. WHO is also providing all interns with an accident and medical insurance coverage.


  • Please note that internships at WHO are very competitive and only a small number of applicants will be accepted every year. Only successful candidates will be contacted.
  • Living abroad is expensive and finding accommodation can be challenging. All intern candidates should be aware of these factors before they consider applying for a WHO Internship.
  • If selected for a WHO Internship, candidates will be required to provide certified copies of proof of enrolment in a course of studies and a medical certificate of fitness for work.
  • Interns are not eligible for appointment to consultants position in WHO for a period of three months following the end of the internship. However, no such restriction apply to temporary or longer term staff positions if the vacancy has been advertised and a competitive process completed.




IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development