WASH Officer

 (via ReliefWeb)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Yaounde, Cameroon
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

Mission location

Home-based / Teleworking deployment to start, and to become field-based once the situation allows and travel restrictions are lifted


One Year renewable

Operational Context

Cameroon has been facing complex emergency situations spread over three geographical areas: crisis in the Lake Chad basin in the Far North, Central African refugee in the east of the country, and the IPDs in the North West and South West regions. Over one and a half million women, men, children, and youth displaced by armed conflict, and their impact on populations is exacerbated by pre-existing structural vulnerabilities. All these groups of populations need humanitarian assistance in at least one sector (WASH, food, health, education, etc.). Faced with multiple planetary crises, the humanitarian community is struggling to provide basic needs to these people, but the needs keep increasing as those situations are yet to come to an end.

Cameroon currently has 1,961,026 people of concern, including 292, 049 Central African and 115, 047 Nigerian refugees, as well as 1,032,000 IDPs and 484,038 returnees in the Far North region, making Cameroon one of the fastest-growing displacement crisis in Africa.

Refugees and IDPs live in overcrowded communities, in poor shelter conditions in camps and settlements in remote areas, characterized by weak health, water, and sanitation systems, which are often already overstretched and poorly resourced. The precariousness of access to basic social services, already very limited before the crisis, was all the more degraded in the affected regions. This is due to the inaccessibility of certain areas due to insecurity, the flight of personnel (health and education), the destruction of structures, and the lack of interveners present to deal with war injuries or psychosocial trauma related to violence, including sexual violence and rape. In eastern and Adamawa, basic social services are not equipped to meet the demand of the entire population, including that of Central African refugees.

In terms of water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH), the supply of drinking water - in quantity and in quality - remains precarious. In basic sanitation, the latrines are insufficient and unsecured, favouring the practice of open defecation and poor respect for good personal and community hygiene practices. This problem of access to water has serious consequences for the health of displaced populations, who often live in precarious sanitary conditions, in makeshift shelters or overcrowded housing. Girls who cannot go to school are at risk of early pregnancy, difficult childbirth, and the risk of obstetric fistula. Reproductive and sexual health needs also arise for sexually active men and women who are exposed to STIs / HIV and unwanted pregnancies.

Aim of the Mission

The WASH Officer will be responsible for the provision of professional technical support and guidance on activities within the areas of Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) in the locations within the Areas of Responsibility (AoR).

Furthermore, the incumbent is required to play a lead role in formulating appropriate project proposals and assistance activities that should be incorporated into the relevant operation programmes of UNHCR.

In addition, the incumbent will be expected to work within multi-functional and interdisciplinary teams.

The WASH Officer will support the UNHCR Operation, in coordination with the Government, to assess needs and coordinate the provision of WASH services to Persons of Concern (PoC) to UNHCR. This will include WASH contingency and preparedness planning, assessment, and development of long-term WASH strategies and operational plans. The incumbent will be responsible for the coordination of WASH partners in conjunction with government authorities, and for monitoring progress and quality of WASH programme implementation to ensure that an adequate level of WASH services is provided at each site in accordance with the UNHCR WASH manual, technical guidelines, and applicable UNHCR and/or national standards and the Sustainable Development Goal targets.

S/he will follow a rights-based and community-focused approach to programme design and implementation. The incumbent will follow the five principles for protection, accountability, and WASH as outlined in UNHCR’s WASH Manual.

Where there is no senior WASH colleague in operation or the region, the incumbent should maintain regular communication with the WASH team in HQ for technical advice, information, and access to updated global tools and resources.


  • Technical advice, coordination, and oversight provided to WASH activities in Cameroon
  • Technical advice, coordination, and oversight provided to overall WASH response in UNHCR area of responsibility
  • Requested reports on WASH indicators, gaps, opportunities, and activity implementation through agreed reporting channels provided.
  • Water, sanitation, and hygiene situation improved.
  • The environmental and social impact caused by refugees’ presence in hosting areas reduced.


Under the supervision of the Snr. Programme Officer Yaounde, the WASH Officer will:

Leadership and Coordination

  • Coordinate activities of WASH implementing partners, together with other UN agencies, governmental and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and other partners to ensure delivery of WASH services to beneficiaries (PoC and host community) meet UNHCR and /or nationally recognised and most up-to-date standards and policies.
  • Where there are PoC living outside of camps/settlements, strongly lead and collaborate with partners to ensure the enjoyment of the human right to water and sanitation by all PoC.
  • Work closely with government and partners, following the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), to unlock resources (humanitarian and development) for the design and construction of community-centered infrastructure, improved hygiene conditions, safe management of water and sanitation services, and service provision upgrades in refugee-hosting areas.
  • Ensure all decision-making regarding WASH activities to take in to account the needs and capacities of PoC, and the solutions proposed by PoC.
  • Facilitate WASH coordination among partners, ensuring that inclusive and good practice coordination structures for all technical sectors covered are in place, and that sector coordination functions at national and field levels are in line with operational and partner requirements.
  • Address gaps overlap, and unmet needs in UNHCR funded WASH programmes, and ensure that the activities are oriented to address priority WASH issues.
  • Manage and provide support to a multi-sector “technical unit” in the AoR, including sector functions covering site planning, shelter, health, nutrition, and environment.
  • Provide support to the national government(s) for the inclusion of PoC within national SDG 6 development plans (Urban and Rural) and financing mechanisms and service delivery systems.
  • Support key WASH strategic partnerships with development and humanitarian agencies to support the inclusion of refugee WASH services within national systems and development financing mechanisms.
  • Engage with Urban WASH actors (GAUC, UCLG, UNHABITAT, Municipal Authorities, Utilities, and relevant government line ministries) for preparedness planning, inclusion in pro-poor tariffs, and provision of WASH services to PoC hosted in urban areas.

WASH Strategy, Planning and Programme Support

  • Maintain a WASH strategy which identifies the targets and approaches for water supply, excreta management, personal and environmental hygiene (including menstrual health), solid waste management, vector control, and institutional WASH facilities. The strategy should include a contingency plan for potential epidemics, refugee, and returnee movement.
  • Jointly with WASH partners and other stakeholders, update detailed needs and resource assessments and revise designs and technical plans, taking into account practical aspects of implementation, long-term sustainable solutions, and relevant technical specifications and guidelines.
  • Closely advise and assist the UNHCR programme staff on the development of WASH aspects of the programme including planning, budgeting, and input to the financial management of the programme.
  • Ensure PoCs are consulted during planning, design, implementation, and monitoring of WASH services using age, gender, and diversity approach.
  • Ensure the WASH Strategy includes all UNHCR PoC, and considers at a minimum WASH access data collection, and advocacy for inclusion of all PoC (both in camp and out of camp) within national systems of WASH service provision.

Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

  • Ensure that the needs of women, children, the elderly and people living with disabilities are adequately addressed in planning and implementing WASH activities.
  • Support operations to define the scope of UNHCR involvement, expressed in terms of overall and operational objectives during emergency, transition, and protracted phases.
  • Lead in the review and analysis of partner project proposals and budgetary submissions.
  • Use community-based approaches, including clear involvement of women, girls, boys, and men, elderly, persons with disabilities in the design of WASH-related infrastructure, products, and services.
  • Provide technical assistance to UNHCR offices and programmes in the development, integration and mainstreaming of appropriate client-focused and cost-effective WASH programmes.
  • Develop or ensure the development of information, education and communication materials through community consultations, collaborating with women, girls, boys, men, elderly, persons with disability, and other potentially marginalised groups.
  • Assess needs and facilitate capacity strengthening activities of UNHCR and its implementing/operational partners to address key areas of WASH importance to PoC.
  • Build the capacity and competence of UNHCR’s staff on both hardware and software components of WASH
  • Ensure community capacity building is carried out through multi-discipline teams working with women, girls, men, and boys of the community to train and empower them on WASH-related aspects including menstrual health, hygiene promotion, operation and maintenance, monitoring and reporting, and other topics.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Quality Assurance

  • Monitor and evaluate WASH programmes against standard UNHCR and SDG indicators to ensure that programmes are evidence-based and implemented in a comprehensive, client-focused, and cost-effective manner.
  • Ensure robust monitoring and evaluation is carried out following UNHCR’s WASH monitoring system using standard resources for data collection, analysis and interpretation.
  • Ensure that all data regarding the boreholes and WASH infrastructure is updated on UNHCR’s GIS portal and relevant website(s).
  • Ensure SDG 6 WASH access data is collected and recorded in the WASH Monitoring System for all UNHCR PoC to enable comparative reporting against national averages, to ensure that refugees/IDPs are not being “left behind”.
  • Collate WASH services access data (for both in-camp and out-of-camp PoC) to identify and promote inclusion of PoC within national SDG 6 development plans and financing mechanisms and service delivery systems.


  • Foster PoC’s access to feedback and accountability mechanisms for the WASH services.
  • Collate and analyse data on the satisfaction of PoC with regards to WASH services.
  • Prepare regular sectorial reports and submit material for the preparation of periodic project monitoring reports as required.
  • Report regularly on WASH activity implementation by all WASH partners, while maintaining accurate records of all relevant performance indicators.
  • Ensure adequate reporting, timely updates and briefings to donor and management.
  • Perform other related duties as required.



  • 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree
  • Proven experience with Engineering Project Management and ability to achieve quality results, on time, and within budget.
  • Experience working in disease outbreaks
  • Experience in hygiene promotion and behavior change communication
  • Previous exposure to UN sector approach, preferably both at the global policy level and at the field implementation approach.
  • Expertise in planning, formulation, implementation, monitoring, and reporting on humanitarian operations

Essential requirements

  • Ability to coordinate a range of diverse actors and activities to achieve a common objective in the area of WASH.
  • Proven ability to deal with multiple tasks in a courteous and service-oriented manner in demanding working conditions that often have short deadlines.

Personal Characteristics

  • High ethical and professional standards
  • Good communicator with strong interpersonal and negotiation skills to deal with persons of various cultural and educational backgrounds.
  • Ability towards analytical and creative thinking for rapid solutions
  • Team player with service-oriented attitudes.

How to apply

Candidates who wish to be considered for this position must submit:

  • A motivation letter
  • A P11 & CV
  • A copy of the highest diploma

at: . Please clearly indicate the vacancy reference and title:

Example: Vacancy Notice – WASH Officer, P3 Yaoundé

Only shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview.

The deadline for submitting applications is 5:30 p.m. on December 17, 2020.