Global WASH Cluster Strategic Plan 2022 - 2025

Global WASH Cluster

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For every child, results

The Global WASH Cluster (GWC) was formed in 2006, building upon the success of an existing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) humanitarian sector working group. As part of the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Cluster System, the GWC has the primary mandate of “strengthening system-wide preparedness and coordination of technical capacity to respond predictably to humanitarian emergencies and provide clear leadership and accountability in the main areas of humanitarian response”. The GWC supports the 6+1 core functions, which guide cluster coordination at country level to support National Humanitarian WASH Coordination Platforms (NHWCPs), as outlined in the IASC Cluster Coordination Reference Module.[1]

The GWC is led by UNICEF, as the Cluster Lead Agency (CLA), and is a partnership of 80 organizations, 47 full members and 30 associate members, working in the humanitarian WASH sector across international organizations, United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organizations, academic institutes and donors. UNICEF and the GWC partners have designated the Cluster Advocacy and Support Team (CAST) to manage GWC in close collaboration with the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG). The GWC also consists of a Field Support Team (FST), that provides deployable and remote support to national coordination platforms, and Technical Working Groups (TWiGs), that provide technical leadership in key thematic areas, such as Hygiene Promotion, Fecal Sludge Management, Cash and Markets, Quality Assurance and Accountability and Operational Research.

The GWC’s vision is that increased coordination and response quality and capacity of national WASH coordination platforms will result in the improved relevance, quality, coverage, efficiency and effectiveness of WASH assistance provided to people affected by humanitarian crises. The GWC is committed to (1) supporting agencies providing appropriate WASH services to those affected by humanitarian crises, (2) ensuring the quality and coherence of the assistance, and (3) ensuring that the assistance is provided in a manner that is equitable, culturally acceptable and protects the dignity of the populations affected by crises.

  • At global level, the aim of the cluster approach is to strengthen system-wide preparedness and response planning and technical capacity to respond timely to humanitarian emergencies by ensuring that there is predictable and consistent leadership and accountability in the WASH sector.
  • At country level the aim is to strengthen humanitarian response by demanding high standards of predictability, accountability and partnership. It is about achieving more strategic responses and improved prioritization of available resources through better defining roles and responsibilities of humanitarian organizations and providing the Humanitarian Coordinator with both a first point of call and a provider of last resort in each sector or area of activity.      

The GWC is governed by a Way of Working, which guided the 2016 – 2020 GWC Strategic Plan (GWCSP) in a transparent and efficient manner.[2] The Strategic Plan was composed of five pillars aimed to improve the predictability, timeliness and effectiveness of WASH responses to humanitarian crises, including:

  • Effective coordination and capacity of the GWC;
  • Timely operational support to national WASH coordination platforms response as needed;
  • Improved emergency preparedness of WASH stakeholders
  • Accountability and learning to facilitates effective WASH cluster actions; and
  • Operational advocacy for WASH as an essential part of humanitarian response and communication in both emergency and development fora.

The next GWCSP will be developed in 2021 and will take into consideration the achievements and learning from the 2016 – 2020 GWCSP. In addition, it will focus on the important developments in the operating context that have taken place since the last major reforms were introduced under the Transformative Agenda in 2012 and more recently, the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, putting into question where and how the current humanitarian architecture operates and the role and ‘fit-for-purpose’ of the cluster system. It will also draw upon and align to other relevant strategic documents, including the WASH sector’s Road Map 2020 – 2025 and UNICEF’s Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025. It will build upon recommendations from relevant evaluations and reviews of UNICEF as a CLA and cluster coordination, including the Humanitarian Review, MOPAN, CLARE II, Realtime Assessment on Coordination, WASH Gap Analysis.

How can you make a difference?

The purpose is to provide an evaluation of the previous GWCSP 2016 – 2020, to inform the next GWCSP 2022 – 2025. The scope of work consists of three main aspects:

  • Evaluation and review of the GWCSP 2016-2020: This will include a comprehensive and consultative review on the achievements of strategic plan. The review will assess the appropriateness and effectiveness in improving the capacity of NHWCPs to respond to humanitarian emergencies based on the 6+1 core functions. The review will identify bottlenecks, challenges and opportunities within the framework to achieve the outcomes in the GWCSP and put forward key findings and recommendations for the GWCSP 2022 – 2025.
  • The ‘Way of Working’ of the GWC: This will include a comprehensive revision of the current ‘Ways of Working’ exploring the GWC members’ understanding of the GWC’s role and scope of work; the structure of the GWC (including criteria, membership categories and types); engagement, responsibilities and accountabilities of members; and the functions, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of the current GWC entities including the CAST, SAG and TWiGs. The review will identify gaps and put forward recommendations to inform the revised ‘Way of Working’ for the GWC.
  • Development of the GWCSP 2022-2025: This will have a basis in the learning from the review the GWCSP 2016 – 2020, and other key strategic documents, such as the WASH Sector’s Road Map 2020 – 2025 and UNICEF ‘s Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025. The development will include detailed consultations with the GWC’s CAST, SAG, TWiGs and members on how the cluster system will meet the challenges and also identify opportunities for enhanced strategic leadership, improved capacity and resources to deliver a quality WASH response. The strategy will also consider UNICEF’s role as a CLA, as underlined in the Core Commitments of Children (CCC), a core UNICEF policy and framework for humanitarian action and identify  opportunities to strengthen UNICEF corporate commitments to coordination in the WASH sector.[3] Furthermore, the strategy will identify the linkages with the vision and purpose the Global Cluster Coordination Unit (GCCU) at EMOPS UNICEF and more broadly with the Global Coordinator Cluster Group (GCCG) led by OCHA.

In addition, it is expected that for learning purposes, that the review will provide insight to:

  • Cost-effectiveness: cost-effectiveness of the cluster has been part of the critical elements identified by the donor communities, when analyzing the cost of the cluster approach. A better understanding of the ‘value for money’ of the cluster system is key to harnessing investments that are required to sustain the coordination model.
  • ‘Fit-for-purpose’: sustainability of the humanitarian architecture has also become increasingly important in terms of transition and/or re-structuring of the cluster approach to other models of coordination, such as Area-Based Coordination. A reflection on the ‘fit-for-purpose’ of the cluster system, how it can adapt, evolve and further improve while retaining fundamental functions and principles that have proved essential for effective humanitarian responses is essential.
  • Accountability: accountability is important, given the substantial resources allocated to the coordination of the WASH responses and the nature of partnership between the GWC members to share common resources appropriately and efficiently.  In addition, how accountability within and between GWC agencies has been enhanced and facilitated by the documentation of lessons learned and best practice is key. The accountability to the affected population, looking at feedback, communications and adapting coordination and response accordingly should also be considered.


The final methodology to be chosen will be proposed by and agreed upon with the consultant(s) based on a respective technical and financial proposal. It is expected that the selected methodology will be framed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development / Development Assistance Committee (OECD/DAC) evaluation criteria of relevance/appropriateness, connectedness, coherence, coverage, efficiency and effectiveness as well as issues around impact and sustainability.

The methodology should include both summative and formative dimensions. The summative element will review plans and performance to date, to provide impartial evidence on how the coordination and capacity of the GWC have been efficient to achieve the previous strategic plan. The formative and forward-looking element is intended to incorporate learning to improve and develop the next strategic plan and structure of the GWC in the coming years. Note that as an extensive number of reviews and analyses have been completed and/or are under way, the selected methodology should be designed in a way that this review draws upon these as references to avoid duplication of effort.

1. Briefing: the consultant(s) will have briefings with GWC’s CAST, SAG, FST consortium, TWiGs and members.

2. Desk Review: the consultant (s) will be expected to review all relevant cluster documentation, including recent evaluations and reviews such as the Humanitarian Review, MOPAN, CLARE II, Realtime Assessment on Coordination, WASH Gaps Analysis etc.

3. Key Informant Interviews: the consultant(s) will have to undertake interviews with the GWC’s CAST, SAG, FST consortium, TWiGs and members, key members from the Inter-Agency WASH Group, Road Map Steering Committee and NHWCPs. It is estimated that 25 – 30 interviews will be conducted.

4. Stakeholder Survey: an online survey will be shared with all GWC members and the members of NHWCPs. Other key stakeholders identified from inter-cluster/inter-sectoral collaboration will be requested to complete another online survey to ensure consultation beyond the WASH sector.

5. Workshop: given the Covid-19 travel restrictions, a series of online webinars will be conducted to present initial findings and provide an opportunity to brainstorm with key stakeholders. Once the review is finalized, a wrap up webinar will be hosted to present the final recommendations and future “vision” of the GWC and its strategic plan for 2022 – 2025.

Deliverables and Timeframe

The consultant(s) will produce the following outputs, that will be reviewed by the GWC’s CAST and SAG for approval prior to finalization and dissemination. These include:

  1. Inception Report: that clearly presents the methodology for the desk review and data collection and analysis (including draft tools and list of key informants) and timeline for completion of key deliverables, of no more than 5,000 words (plus Annexes).
  2. Review of the GWCSP 2016-2020:
  • Draft report that outlines clear evidence-based findings, conclusions and SMART recommendations, with a clear Executive Summary.
  • Final report of no more than 10,000 words (plus Annexes), with a clear Executive Summary of no more than 2,000 words. This will address as appropriate comments on the draft report.
  1. Updated ‘Way of Working’ document: that clearly outlines the changes to the structure of the GWC and its SAG, TWiGs, members etc. and the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities.
  2. Develop the GWCSP 2022-2025:
  • Draft report that outlines clear evidence-based findings using evaluation describe above, it is key the consultant(s) identify SMART indicator as part of a broader monitoring framework to measure progress of the strategy, with a clear Executive Summary.
  • Final report no more than 10,000 words (plus Annexes), with a clear Executive Summary of no more than 2,000 words. This will address as appropriate comments on the draft report.
  1. Presentations: develop content for presentations for the online webinar series to be hosted.

The review of the GWCSP 2016 – 2020 and the ‘Way of Working’ document, along with the development of the GWCSP 2022 – 2025 will be undertaken from 1st April to 31st October 2021. Following is a tentative work plan.

Contractual arrangements:

  • Duration: The contract is expected to be for 60 days during a 7-month period between April and October 2021.
  • Duty Station: The consultant will work remotely. 
  • Reporting line: the consultant will report to the Global WASH Cluster Coordinator
  • Payment schedule: The payment schedule will be based on the deliverables. This includes the following payment schedule:
    • Produce Inception Report and participation in the GWC Annual Meeting (10 days): 20% of total contract
    • Review of the GWCSP 2016 – 2020 Report and Ways of Working document (20 days): 30% of total contract
    • Produce GWCS 2022 – 2025 Report (30 days): 50% of total contract

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • University degree, preferably at an advanced level, in a subject area relevant to humanitarian, development, international relations or related field.
  • At least 8 years of progressively responsible work experience and expertise in the humanitarian and development sector in strategy development and planning, coordination and partnerships, monitoring, evaluation and research. Strong operational knowledge of the Cluster system and the IASC is desirable.
  • Proven experience and knowledge in conducting evaluations and reviews, preferably for the WASH sector.
  • Strong analytical and synthesis skills, with proven experience in design of data collection tools.
  • Good communications skills and experience of workshop facilitation;
  • Ability to write clearly and present complex strategies into synthesized reports and findings (two examples of similar work to be presented); with fluency in English required, and French as strong asset;
  • Ability to manage the available time and resources and to work to tight deadlines, with minimal supervision; and
  • Independence from the parties involved.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

To apply:

Interested candidates are invited to: 

  • Candidates are invited to: 

    1. complete their UNICEF profile 
    2. attach latest P-11 History Form, CV and Motivation Letter (
    3. indicate a lump sum fee in USD/ deliverable, as per the schedule for delivery. Applications without fees will not be accepted.
    4. submit examples of previous work as an example, preferably from strategy development, evaluations and/or reviews.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.


[1] OCHA (2015) Humanitarian Response <>. The cluster functions are: 1. support service delivery, 2. inform the HC/HCT’s strategic decision-making, 3. plan and implement cluster strategies, 4. monitor and evaluate performance, 5. build national capacity in preparedness and contingency planning. 6. support robust advocacy. The +1 function is accountability to affected populations.

[2] Note that the emphasis is on the support to NHWCPs to meet the 6+1 core coordination functions, as oultined in the IASC Cluster Coordination Reference Module.

[3] UNICEF (2020). CCC <>

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Deadline: W. Europe Standard Time