WASH Specialist (UNICEF)

United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 🇰🇬


Description of assignment title: WASH Specialist

Assignment country: Kyrgyzstan

Expected start date: 04/12/2023

Sustainable Development Goal: 6. Clean water and sanitation

Volunteer category: International UN Volunteer Specialist

Host entity: UNICEF

Type: Onsite

Duration: 12 months (with possibility of extension)

Number of assignments: 1

Duty stations: Bishkek


Mission and objectives

UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.
UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children’s rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children.
UNICEF insists that the survival, protection and development of children are universal development imperatives that are integral to human progress.
UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a “first call for children” and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families.
UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children – victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation, and those with disabilities.
UNICEF responds in emergencies to protect the rights of children. In coordination with United Nations partners and humanitarian agencies, UNICEF makes its unique facilities for rapid response available to its partners to relieve the suffering of children and those who provide their care.
UNICEF is non-partisan and its cooperation is free of discrimination. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority.
UNICEF aims, through its country programmes, to promote the equal rights of women and girls and to support their full participation in the political, social and economic development of their communities.
UNICEF works with all its partners towards the attainment of the sustainable human development goals adopted by the world community and the realization of the vision of peace and social progress enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

UNICEF helps to build a world where the rights of every child are fully realized. It is our conviction that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress. UNICEF was created in 1946 to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. It has global authority to influence decision-makers, and a wide variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. For 75 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.

The situation with Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) in schools is of concern, with significant implications, particularly for adolescent girls: one in four schools has no access to clean drinking water, 74.4 per cent do not have internal toilets and 68.2 per cent are not connected to the hot water supply.
In most schools, toilets do not meet inclusive and gender responsive criteria. Lack of privacy and safety is a major problem for adolescent girls who avoid using the school toilets whenever possible. Toilets are usually located outside the main building, and this creates a major risk of sexual harassment for girls. Handwashing facilities exist but are not located next to the toilets, which is making it difficult to ensure safe hygiene practices by children.
In 2016, a draft resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic was developed to amend the sanitary and epidemiological rules and regulations “Sanitary and epidemiological requirements for the conditions and organization of education in general educational institutions”- this covers the requirements for the design and equipment of school toilets and hygiene rooms for girls.
In 2022 the UNICEF Country Programme Document (CPD) for Kyrgyzstan has been approved by the Executive Board for the period 2023-2027: the CPD has, among its main objectives the improvement of the capacities of line ministries and stakeholders in legislating and implementing inclusive, gender- responsive WASH services, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction by supporting a WASH sector coordination mechanism; prototyping a climate-resilient and gender-responsive WASH programme; strengthening national, subnational and community capacities in emergency preparedness and response; improving and enforcing the state regulations and policies for environmental health and climate change; and mobilizing public awareness and behavior change on climate risks, environmental health, and hygiene and sanitation.

Task description
Under the overall oversight of the Chief CSLD and direct supervision of Health Specialist, the UN Volunteer the UN Volunteer will undertake the following tasks:
Take the lead:

  • In the planned engagement and required technical capacity to engage WASH in schools’ systems strengthening
  • Take a leadership in WASH Coordination meetings
  • Review of previous achievements and planning of new engagements around development and costing of WASH in schools which is structurally climate resilient, gender sensitive and inclusive in compliance with national standards
  • Advocacy for evidence-based planning and financing by Government of Kyrgyzstan and other actors engaged in WASH in schools

Responsibility (process and functions undertaken to achieve results):
Under the overall supervision of the Chief of CSLD, the UN Volunteer will perform the following tasks related to program planning, management and implementation as well as communication aspects of WASH program:

Effective implementation of WASH program:
Support the revision of existing models and standards related to WASH in schools in the country, ensuring the documentation is up to date, child-centered, gender and disability sensitive;

  • Provide technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes and ensure integration, coherence and harmonization of WASH with other UNICEF sectors, for the achievement of the WASH output results. Provide technical support on WASH related actions specifically on the following:
    (i)foster learning and improvement of the Three Star Approach for WASH in Schools (https://www.unicef.org/kyrgyzstan/reports/field-guide-three-star-approach-wash- schools) especially in Batken and Osh provinces which are identified as the most prone to inter-ethnic tensions that have already basic facilities, however software and hardware components are required there to be improved including low-cost hand washing stations, construction or rehabilitation of low-cost toilets with modest investments;
    (ii) identify priority focus areas for government partners and donors and increase accountability by assessing the effectiveness of the Three Star Approach for WASH in Schools in building sustainable and resilient schools and communities and in changing children’s behaviour as agents of change;
  • Support Ministry of Education and Science and partners to undertake data collection/survey and analysis of the situation of WASH in schools and provide recommendations.
  • Initiate, monitor, examine areas of linkages across programmes, promoting WASH practices and IPC and provide ideas and recommendations.
  • Seek opportunities to integrate inclusive and gender-responsive WASH climate change adaptation and/or disaster risk reduction measures in sector plans, particularly for health and education;

Communication of WASH

Assist in developing terms of reference for WASH and climate activities as needed; Assist in drafting communication and information materials for Country Office (CO) programme advocacy to promote awareness, establish partnership/alliances and
support fundraising for WASH programmes;
Participate in advocacy activities designed to influence Government and other stakeholders to prioritize WASH, particularly in schools;
Assist in developing WASH thematic briefs and providing technical inputs in support to the programmatic work of the WASH section

Management of WASH program

  • Participate in strategic WASH programme planning discussions. Prepare WASH donor proposals, ensuring alignment with UNICEF’s Strategic Plan, UNICEF’s global WASH
    strategy and the Country programme, as well as government plans and priorities, and
    the role of other external support agencies.
  • Contribute to the development/establishment of WASH, Climate Change and
    Environment related outcome and output results, as well as related strategies, through
    analysis of WASH sector needs and priorities.
  • Work with colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies for the
    achievement of WASH output results in the country programme.
  • Assist in preparation and updating of annual work plans and supply plans in discussion with the government, strategic monitoring questions and other key periodic plans as required;
  • Participate in WASH task forces, working groups and meetings, and provide feedback on these (written and verbal feedback);
  • Follow up on and monitor WASH activities being implemented by partner organizations;
  • Contribute to regular reporting on achievements, projects, pertinent developments and
    strategic needs for the Health Unit, donors and partner agencies;
  • Support with preparations, note taking and drafting of reports for workshops,
    conferences and meetings i.e., mid-year and end year joint reviews with the Government, and cooperating partners.


  • Represent the WASH sector in coordination meetings and liaise with implementing partners, UN agencies, NGOs, and the Ministry of Education and Science to coordinate WASH related activities
  • Prepare input for information, communication and advocacy on WASH situation among partners, donors, other agencies and the government; and provide information for funding submissions, appeals or reports.

Eligibility criteria

Age: 27 – 80

Nationality: Candidate must be a national of a country other than the country of assignment.


Required experience
3 years of experience in in developing country. Demonstrated experience in public / environmental health / WASH activities in emergency contexts.

  • Experience of working in water and sanitation improvement projects in schools and kindergardens or other relevant programmes; experience with development work, construction of WASH facilities is an asset, as is experience working in the UN or other international development organization;
  • Knowledge and experience in environmental health, public health, climate change and inclusivity are desired.
  • Excellent oral and written skills; excellent drafting, formulation, reporting skills;
  • Accuracy and professionalism in document production and editing;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; culturally and socially sensitive; ability to work inclusively and collaboratively with a range of partners, including grassroots community members, religious and youth organizations, and authorities at different levels; familiarity with tools and approaches of communications for development;
  • Ability to work and adapt professionally and effectively in a challenging environment; ability to work effectively in a multicultural team of international and national personnel;
  • Solid overall computer literacy, including proficiency in various Microsoft Office applications (Excel, Word, among others), email, and internet; familiarity with database management; and office technology equipment;
  • Self-motivated, ability to work with minimum supervision; ability to work with tight deadlines;
  • Soundsecurityawareness;
  • Have affinity with or interest in child wellbeing, rural development and gender and inclusivity,
    volunteerism as a mechanism for durable development, and the UN system.

Driving license is preferred but not essential.

Area(s) of expertise: Development programmes, Procurement and contracting, Energy and environment

Driving license: .

English, Level: Fluent, Required
Russian, Level: Working knowledge, Desirable
Kirghiz, Level: Working knowledge, Desirable

Required education level
Master degree or equivalent in Engineering in environmental health /WASH program in
emergency setting/hygiene promotion, public health, sanitary engineering or extensive experience in
related field work.

Competencies and values
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 and core competencies – https://www.unicef.org/careers/get-prepared#Values

  • Accountability
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Judgement and decision-making
  • Planning and organising
  • Professionalism
  • Self-management

Other information

Living conditions and remarks

Bishkek is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan is in Central Asia, west of China. The climate is dry continental to polar in the high Tien Shan Mountains, subtropical in the southwest (Fergana Valley) and temperate in the northern foothill zone. The official languages are Kyrgyz and Russian. Kyrgyz is dominant in state circles and is more widely used in the south and in rural areas. Russian is preferred by most business partners. The Cyrillic alphabet is commonly used for public notices, including road signs and street names. English is used in business circles. Hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners usually have some English-speakers. Interpreters are readily available. The main religions are Islam and Christianity. The security risk in Kyrgyzstan is low, however 3 revolutions occurred during the last 20 years time and last year there was a conflict in Batken province bordering with Tajikistan. The currency of Kyrgyzstan is the Som (KGS). Kyrgyz hospitals have not globally highest standards, but the medical service is cheap and serviceable. In recent years, luxury style apartment buildings have found their way into the Bishkek skyline, making reasonably-priced, high-standard accommodation options available. Expats can also find houses with more personal space 20-minute drive away from the city centre. Furnished and semi-furnished apartments are the most common housing options. A semi-furnished apartment may require kitchenware, linen and small appliances. A fully-furnished house will include everything needed to live comfortably. There are several agencies in Bishkek with English-speaking agents who can narrow down available properties to suit an expat’s budget and preferred neighbourhood.
You can check full entitlements at the duty station at https://app.unv.org/calculator.
The complete UN Volunteer Conditions of Service is available at https://explore.unv.org/cos

Entitlements & benefits (International UN Volunteer Specialist):

  1. Pre-assignment
  • Entry lump sum: USD 4000 (one time payment)
  • Relocation costs – Lump sum provided based on route for travel to the duty station and repatriation
  1. During assignment
    Volunteer living allowance – USD 2.354/month
    -Learning – Access to UNV’s learning and career development resources
  • Annual leave. -2.5 days per month
    Insurance – Comprehensive coverage for health, life and malicious acts for the UN Volunteer and health insurance coverage for up to 3 eligible dependents . See the Conditions of Service for more details on eligibility criteria.
    Home visit – May apply depending on duty station and length of service. See the UN Volunteer Conditions of Service for more information
    Family allowance – $250 per month for one dependent. $450 per month for two or more dependents
    Travel for dependents – Subject to approval. See conditions of service for full details.
  1. End of assignment – Exit allowance (paid on successful completion of the assignment)

All of the above is subject to change based on UNV Conditions of Service.

Inclusivity statement
United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

Reasonable accommodation
UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for UN Volunteers with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the recruitment process and afterwards in your assignment.

Note on Covid-19 vaccination requirements
In addition to duty station-specific vaccine requirements, appointments are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the appointment. It does not apply to UN Volunteers who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their contracts.





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