Local recruitment: Senior Irrigation and Drainage Consultant

The World Bank

Ouagadougou, , BF



Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. 

For more information, visit www.worldbank.org

Water Global Practice and the Sustainable Development Practice Group

The water challenges of the world are tremendous. For human development, livable cities, food security, and energy security the need for better water resources management is growing. Even today, 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, of which 1 billion people practice open defecation. Poor sanitation, including inadequate wastewater collection and treatment, impacts health, education, the environment, and industries such as tourism. At least 800 million people lack access to safe drinking water. The lack of access to safe water and sanitation results in significant economic losses in many countries. This is further exacerbated by climate change, water pollution, water scarcity, and the global covid-19 pandemic in a fast-changing world.

Globally, the World Bank Group finances water development through projects, policy lending and technical assistance in the fields of sustaining water resources, delivering services (both in water in agriculture as in water supply and sanitation) and building resilience, the Water Global Practice (GP) also seeks to ensure that water issues are effectively addressed across all related sub-sectors, such as agriculture (ensuring sustainable water availability for irrigation), climate change and disaster risk management, and energy (hydropower). In each sub-sector, an integrated approach is adopted which considers investment alongside issues such as governance, institutions, and policies. WIA (Water in Agriculture) projects focus on all aspects of agricultural water management, from governance in service delivery, to modernization of irrigation, farmer led irrigation, water accounting and resilience through improved agricultural water practices. The Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) projects include rural and urban water and sanitation services, hygiene behavior, improving the efficiency of utilities, and provision of services to the poor. The Water Resources Management (WRM) projects include integrated water resource management, including groundwater management, dam safety, and flood management. Each team member is connected globally to these broad themes through the Global Solutions Groups (GSGs).

The Water GP is housed within the Sustainable Development Practice Group, which brings together the cross-cutting sectors of Water with Agriculture, Environment, Social Inclusion, and Urban and Disaster Risk Management.

Western and Central Africa (W AFR) Region

Western and Central Africa is a region with diverse cultures, beliefs, languages, and lifestyles – marked by contrasts of stability and conflict; affluence and poverty.  Home to about half a billion people, it encompasses 22 countries stretching from the westernmost point of Africa across the equator and partly along the Atlantic Ocean to the Republic of Congo in the South.

Yet these vast opportunities are tempered by persistent gaps in education, health, and skills, which have Africa not reaching its estimated potential. Moreover, conflict, food insecurity, population growth, and the disruptive forces of climate change threaten to curtail or even reverse the progress that has been made over the past decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought back to the forefront the risks posed by weak health and water supply and sanitation systems, and poor surveillance.

The World Bank Western and Central Africa Region, comprised of approximately 1,139 staff mostly based in about 22 country offices, is committed to help countries to realize their considerable development potential and become more competitive in the global economy by focusing on the following priorities (i) Creating Jobs and Transforming Economies, (ii) Building up the Digital Economy, (iii) Institutions more Efficient and Accountable (iv) Investing in People, (v) Supporting Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption, (vi) Addressing the Drivers of Fragility, Conflict and Violence (vii) Building Partnerships and Working across the African Continent. The water team within the West and Central Africa Region is led by the Water Practice Manager who reports to the AFR-West SD Regional Director, who leads the strategy of RISE:  resilience, integration, sustainability and efficiency.

Western and Central Africa (W AFR) Region: https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/western-and-central-africa

Water Team of the West and Central Africa Region

Within the West and Central Africa Region, the hiring unit (SAWW1) is responsible for ensuring the translation of the World Bank’s Africa Regional Strategy and the Water Global Practice’s Water Security Strategy into practical results relevant to 22 countries, from Mauritania to Gabon. Specifically, the unit supports the definition and achievement of these results through analytical, policy, and investment activities. The unit has a staffing complement of around 35 water professionals, with an active portfolio of over $3.3 Billion,19 investment projects, 2 Programs for Results, Advisory Services and Analytics and contribution to Development Policy Financing.


The hiring unit has an active portfolio of investments and lending projects in Burkina Faso under implementation, focusing on water supply, sanitation, irrigation, and water resources management. In all cases, these require intensive engagement with government counterparts, and other stakeholders to ensure local ownership, capacity and sustained focus on implementation for results. As a result, The World Bank is locally recruiting one Extended Term Senior Irrigation and Drainage Consultant based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, a Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situation (FCS).

The successful candidate will report to the SAWW1 Water Practice Manager.

Role & Responsibilities:

The role of the Extended Term Senior Irrigation and Drainage Consultant will be to provide analytical and technical inputs for teams working on a range of projects and analytics seeking to promote water security and sustainable development, through more resilient, inclusive, efficient, and sustainable development and management of irrigation and drainage infrastructure and technologies, water resources, and climate resilience/adaptation. In addition to the Burkina Faso water program, the work program will cover other neighboring countries, including in the framework of regional projects.

The Extended Term Senior Irrigation and Drainage Consultant area of focus will be Water in Agriculture, which includes large scale irrigation (Aménagements Hydro-Agricoles), small scale irrigation (Périmètres irrigués villageois) or inland valley bottom development based water use (Aménagement de bas fonds), and all forms of private farmer led irrigation development (surface or groundwater), and on-farm agricultural water management. The work encompasses both technical work (planning, evaluation, advice) and policy / institutional dialogue on the enabling environment for sustainable agricultural water management. Water in Agriculture is at the junction of broader water resources management issues (groundwater, surface water management, climate resilience) and agriculture (agronomy, agribusiness, climate smart agriculture). The Extended Term Senior Irrigation and Drainage Consultant should be able to confidently articulate this broader water and agriculture nexus, and address them in an innovative manner that addresses job creation, gender, watershed management and conservation through agro-forestry-livestock systems and groundwater management.

The candidate will be expected to work independently on complex projects / issues with guidance from senior colleagues, including Task Team Leaders (TTLs). The successful candidate will support the lending and advisory services and analytics activities in the areas of Water in Agriculture projects (mainly irrigation and drainage, but also water resources management), water security and/or and climate resilience/adaptation for the Burkina Faso country program, and neighboring countries.  Duties include, in Burkina Faso, and in selected programs/countries in the sub-region:

  • Help task teams by participating in the identification, preparation, appraisal, and negotiations of projects in the above-mentioned areas, including oversight of technical feasibility and prefeasibility studies; As part of project preparation, contribute to the design of specific project components, defining project implementation arrangements, and providing inputs to project documentation and processing;
  • Help task teams in policy and advocacy work in the field of water in agriculture and together with colleagues in the SD team articulate these as part of broader sustainable development policy dialogue (and financing).Advise clients on strategies, best practices and design of programs, both in long-term advisory as well as ad hoc sharing of expertise;
  • Help lead in-country execution of global diagnostics on irrigation service delivery, modernization, water accounting water stewardship in agriculture, and farmer-led irrigation initiatives. Provide guidance on broader water resources management issues. Translate broad policy objectives into concrete development proposals;
  • Conduct specific technical tasks, as designated subject specialist in the field of agricultural water management; and providing technical support to the task teams and clients as needed, including cross-support to other units if needed. Liaise with colleagues working in other sectors (including agriculture, health, environment, energy) on the cross-roads of agricultural water management and how to support synergies;
  • Participate in project supervision, including day-to-day monitoring and follow-up, field supervision, review of technical /procurement documents and work programs, assessing progress and key project outcomes and indicators through dashboards, and contributing to supervision documentation;
  • Develop innovative and practical approaches to solving difficult policy and operational issues for selected ongoing activities;
  • Provide support to the definition, contracting, and supervision of the work of external consultants and technical specialists while ensuring consistency with bank guidelines and best practices;
  • Participate in a close sector dialogue with government officials at the policy and senior management level (possibly from several ministries), other development partners, research institutions, regional Institutions, non-Government organizations, the private sector and other sector-related institutions in Burkina Faso and in sub-region;
  • Participate in and support policy dialogue and advisory services and analytical and other knowledge activities in the water GP, within the region and globally;
  • Work as part of multiple teams (regional water, regional SD, country team, global) and over time.

Selection Criteria

  • At least a master’s degree in agricultural water management (irrigation-related engineering; irrigation management; water resources engineering with relevance to agricultural water management);
  • Recognized technical, operational, and/or policy-oriented expertise, and at least 8 years of relevant work experience. This experience may include work in governments, private companies, consulting firms, academia, and/or multilateral institutions;
  • Extensive experience with irrigation and drainage infrastructure and technologies and the ability to apply knowledge to policy related decisions and advice;  specific expertise on innovative farmer led irrigation technologies (including solar pumping) would be a plus;
  • Good understanding of approaches to irrigation sector financing and the various models for partnering with the private sector;
  • Demonstrated experience in water resources management;
  • Hydrological analysis, water accounting (notably in the framework or irrigation projects but also possibly in other contexts); hydrological modeling experience would be a plus;
  • Ability to think innovatively and to translate technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies while maintaining a strong client focus;
  • Prior work experience and results on the ground and hands-on experience with Government counterpart agencies;
  • Experience in coordinating and/or managing multi-disciplinary projects; 
  • Effective verbal, analytical and written communication skills in French and English and a demonstrated ability to produce high-quality documents and analytical reports; as well as excellent presentation skills using presentation techniques appropriately to communicate complex concepts to non-specialists;
  • Strong drive for results, taking personal ownership and accountability to meet deadlines and achieve agreed-upon results;
  • Knowledge of cross-cutting issues related to the water sector: climate change, environmental and social issues, inclusion, and poverty reduction; 
  • Willingness and ability to travel in the field

 WBG Core Competencies

  • Lead and Innovate – Develops innovative solutions with others.
  • Deliver Results for Clients – Achieves results and identifies mission-driven solutions for the client.
  • Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries – Initiates collaboration across boundaries and broadly across the WBG and brings differing ideas to the forefront.
  • Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – Creates, applies and shares knowledge from across and outside WBG to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions.
  • Make Smart Decisions – Recommends and takes decisive action.

For information about WBG Core Competencies, please visit: https://bit.ly/2kbIA7O