Local recruitment: Senior Water Engineer (Retainer)

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Background Information - Job-specific
Background Information - Ghana Multi Country Office (GMCO)

GMCO is responsible for managing strategic and operational risks associated with a subset of the regional portfolio of engagements, developing and delivering cost effective services contributing to partners’ sustainable results and achievements of UNOPS management results.
The core functions of the Operational Hub are to:

  • Liaise and develop engagements, and deliver services responding to partner needs.
  • Leverage advice and integrate delivery modalities of the three Delivery Practices and the Global Partner Service Office.
  • Maintain appropriate arrangements and capacity for direct transactional support for delivery of the sub-regional portfolio.

Background Information – Sierra Leone 

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) Ghana Multicountry Office (GMCO), located in Accra, Ghana is responsible for projects in Anglophone West Africa, covering Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.  GMCO is responsible for managing strategic and operational risks associated with a subset of the regional portfolio of engagements, developing and delivering cost effective services contributing to partners’ sustainable results and achievements of UNOPS management results.

UNOPS has been established in Sierra Leone since 2000 and currently has 65 personnel in country, operating out of 3 main locations – in Freetown and the other district Field Offices.

During the last 15 years, UNOPS has delivered a variety of infrastructure projects nationwide, particularly in the fields of health and security infrastructure, and has procured a variety of vehicles, non-medical health related items and medical equipment.

The Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) embarked on a series of improvements in the health sector in 2010 through the National Health Sector Strategic Plan (NHSSP). With the launch of Free Health Care Initiative (FHCI) in 2010, GoSL took an ambitious approach to reducing financial barriers by introducing health care systems strengthening across all pillars (Governance, Communications, M&E, Drugs and Medical Supplies, Infrastructure, Health Workforce, and Financing). The FHCI was found to be one important factor contributing to improved health care, in particular to coverage and equity of coverage of essential services for mothers and children. 

Background Information – Job Specific

The Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL)  is committed to advancing such an approach to help ensure that people get affordable, quality health care in the country. In support of this initiative, the Government of Sierra Leone has been working with its development partners in implementing interventions under the Performance Based Financing (PBF) Scheme, aimed at achieving SDG targets by 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age.
The Performance Based Financing was launched in Sierra Leone in April 2011, to strengthen the Free Health Care Initiative. Between 2011 and 2016, the GoSL, through the Ministry of Health & Sanitation (MoHS) implemented a nation-wide “National Performance Based Financing” scheme.  

In support of the Ministry of Health & Sanitation of the Government of Sierra Leone and to strengthen its capacity in the provision of healthcare services, the World Bank Group (WBG), through the PBF scheme, intends to improve the existing infrastructure of eight (8) health facilities in the District of Kailahun before scaling up nation-wide. 

The Senior Water Engineer is part of the Infrastructure/ Engineering Team in UNOPS Sierra Leone, with Primary Supervisor (Infrastructure Specialist) based in GMCO and direct reporting line to the Project Manager on the day-to-day operations of the Project.  He/she is expected to meet and exceed the organization's performance and delivery goals.


Functional Responsibilities

The Senior Water Engineer shall be responsible for accuracy, interpretation, analysis of all data received and for the conclusion and recommendations in their report. The scope of work to be carried by he/she shall broadly include but not limited to the functions detailed below:

  1. Technical

            (a) Desk Study

  • Desk review of available data
  • Define scope of field study to be undertaken

           (b) Field Study 

       The hydrological survey shall collect primary and secondary data to determine the following:

  • Size of the opening and location of cross drainage structure
  • Minimize modification to the natural drainage pattern
  • Determine the HFL and/or Design Flood in line with design requirements
  • Maximum flood levels with respect to road level
  • Field inspection and assessment of the existing drainage structures for condition and suitability
  • Identification of new sites where drainage structures are required
  • Map the major drainage channels and estimate respective catchment areas
  • Collect data from the meteorological section in the water resources department for 10 years return periods
  • Estimate flow rates in major water courses - perennial and seasonal
  • Make design recommendations with regards to size and type of drainage structures including - culverts/drifts/bridge abutment, for 10 years return flood 

2.  Reporting

  • Raw and analyzed data; presented in a format that can be interrogated for sufficiency and accuracy
  • Photos, sketches or marked up drawings to support data
  • Final Report of findings and recommendations
  • Produce any appropriate documentation identified by the Project Manager

3. Knowledge Sharing

  • Contribute to the project evaluation process; highlight challenges associated with the project and feedback into a continuous improvement cycle.
  • Provide training and knowledge transfer where required.
  • Contribute to the dissemination and sharing of best practices and lessons learned for development planning and knowledge building

4. Monitoring and Control

The Senior Water Engineer shall work diligently with the team in Sierra Leone in meeting the below checkpoints to assure the deliverables of the assignment are on time and to the desired quality.

Specific duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • An Inception Report describing among other things, the scope of assessment and approach and standards to which assessment is to be carried out.
  • Field visit reports detailing findings. A standard assessment form should be created and used to capture the necessary information collected in the Field Visits including relevant supporting sketches or marked up As-Built drawings where available.
  • Record of stakeholder management activities carried for the purpose of obtaining relevant information and confirming assessment requirements, standards and best practice
  • Submission of Final Report detailing the sites inspected, analysis and recommendations for design.
  • Undertake additional tasks as required by the Project.

Impact of Results 

The effective and successful achievement of results by the Senior Water Engineer directly impacts the successful delivery of the project on time, budget and above all the expectations of all stakeholders. This consequently reinforces the visibility and image of UNOPS as an effective service provider in project services and management and strengthens its competitive position as a partner of choice in sustainable development and project services. 

Education/Experience/Language requirements


A. Education: 

  • Advanced university degree (master or equivalent) in Hydrological Engineering or Water Resources Engineering is required.
  • University Degree (bachelor’s degree / first level) in Hydrological Engineering or Water Resources Engineering with two (2) additional years of relevant work experience will be accepted in lieu of the  educational  requirement outlined above. 

B. Work Experience:

  • A minimum of seven (7) years' experience with at least five (5) years of specific experience in relevant Hydrological or Water Resource Engineering field is required.
  • At least two (2) years proficiency in the use of Hydrology/Water Resource analysis software (or other technical software) is desired.

C. Language: 

  • Fluency in English is required. 
  • Knowledge of Krio and/or other local languages is an advantage. 

D. Skills and Certifications


  • Project Management certification (PRINCE2® Foundation, PMP) is desirable.
  • Active membership in a professional engineering body will be an added advantage.

Project Management Skills 

  • Stakeholder Management
  • Health and Safety
  • Knowledge Management
  • Quality Management
  • Scoping studies
  • Sustainable development
  • Reporting
  • Capacity Building

Contextual Skills 

  • Experience in Infrastructure in developing country context 
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation