WASH in Disaster Risk Reduction Emergency Preparedness and Response

Panama City, Panama 🇵🇦

Job Number: 503042 | Vacancy Link
Location: Regional Services Division, LACRO
Work Type : Consultancy

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 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.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is one of the most disaster–prone regions in the world. Increasingly vulnerable to the effects of a range of natural hazards, climate change and armed conflict and violence, imminent threats to human lives and individual wellbeing are of increasing concern.

In 2015, 18 Million people still practiced open defecation and 34 Million still used unimproved drinking water sources (including 8,5Million drinking surface water) further underlining the deep rooted social and economic disparities in the region[1]. The most vulnerable population groups to water related diseases and to malnutrition, as well as to the impact of disasters and emergency situations, are the rural and urban poor, who belong to indigenous and afro descendants groups, have low educational levels and limited access to health services.

UNICEF is a key global actor in WASH both in development and emergency contexts. As part of development programs UNICEF supports the capacity development of national governments and other key stakeholders to achieve sustainable access to WASH services for the most vulnerable groups. In emergency situations, UNICEF has identified the WASH sector as a key priority in its “Core Commitments for Children” (CCCs) in Humanitarian Action, and is committed to support access to basic WASH services of affected and displaced populations, with particular focus on children and women. Under the provisions of the Humanitarian Reform, promoted by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), UNICEF has been designated as agency leader of the WASH Cluster with the responsibility to coordinate the humanitarian response at times of emergencies, to deliver a more efficient and effective response to the affected communities, as well as coordinate preparedness actions for capacity strengthening of all involved actors.

The WASH Section of UNICEF’s Latin America and Caribbean Office (LACRO) is seeking an individual consultant to provide technical support to strengthen the capacities of UNICEF programme staff in countries, counterparts and partners in Disaster Risk Reduction and WASH, WASH emergency preparedness and response. 

Key components of the support are 1)the continued development of capacity strengthening tools and trainings opportunities, including the improvement of capacity of UNICEF staff at country level, national partners and their related sectoral working groups/platform via the Regional WASH LAC Group 2)the promotion of the culture of inter-sectorial/cluster coordination for a more coherent and effective DRR management and response 3)the development of a tool for mapping and monitoring of regional WASH in Emergencies preparedness and response capacity.

Purpose of the Assignment

To support regional initiatives in the area of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Emergency in the LAC region, with an emphasis on national capacity development for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and emergency preparedness and response.


Under the supervision of the Regional WASH Specialist and in collaboration with the Regional Health Advisor and the Emergency team, the WASH in emergencies consultant will support LAC Regional Office in strengthening DRR, emergency preparedness and response via UNICEF country Offices and via the regional WASH LAC Group :

  1. Support DRR and WASH in Emergencies related knowledge management
    • Mapping and monitoring of regional DRR and WASH as well as WASH in Emergency preparedness and response capacity
      • Update the list (to be online) of national focal points and ensure liaison with their respective WASH LAC Group members for mentoring
      • Finalize, maintain and disseminate to the national WASH platforms the regional matrix (WASH-LAC) based on InfoRM LAC risk index.
      • Analyze the results of the WASH-LAC matrix to guide resilience building efforts, risk-informed programming and development of national emergency preparedness plans and fostering lateral collaboration among countries in the region.
      • Develop a national model of WASH-LAC Matrix to map and monitor preparedness and response capacity at the sub-national level.
    • Knowledge management
      • Share good practices, lessons learned, evaluations and ensure knowledge/information exchange in the area of DRR and WASH and WASH in emergencies.
      • Conduct regular searches of literature, research, agency updates and any other relevant information and package to share on DRR and WASH and on WASH in emergencies.
      • Support the planning and conducting of the quarterly WASH-LAC webinars on DRR and WASH and WASH in emergencies.
      • Update the online regional WASH in emergencies document depository (www.washlac.org or www.redhum.org with OCHA) with relevant information.
      • Moderate and support the online regional discussion forum (Desaprender?, Facebook?).
  2. Capacity building for emergency preparedness, risk assessment, climate change and resilience in collaboration with Emergency unit and WASH-LAC
    • Support to UNICEF country offices
      • Provide technical support on risk reduction, preparedness and response (this may include travel to countries and remote support from Panama) with a Risk Informed Programming lens[1].
      • Review UNICEF WASH in emergency preparedness and response in the various stages of national and sub-national response process (e.g. initial HAP, development project sheet, cluster coordination, PCA process, LTA for supply procurement and logistics, monitoring, etc.)
      • Identify linkages between general WASH programmes, health and nutrition surveillance systems and WASH in emergencies interventions to analyze how all components contribute to resilience among high-risk populations.
      • Compile information on regional examples of resilience in WASH; develop case studies and advise/ promote opportunities for COs to integrate resilience-based approaches into their planning and implementation of their WASH programs.
      • Assist with training module elaboration and/or conduct training sessions as and when needed
    • Support to national WASH platforms
      • Coordinate with UNICEF country offices and the national WASH platforms the update/development of the national and/or sub national emergency contingency plans via national experts whenever possible.
    • Support to the regional WASH LAC group
      • Review capacity building needs and activities and outline a regional/national WASH Platform-based capacity building plan
      • Conduct capacity-building workshop(s) and other capacity building activities with target national WASH platforms and at regional level,
      • With UNICEF Emergency section assess the status of capacity within the current UNICEF regional WASH surge roster to address capacity requirements and gaps (urban WASH experts, assessments, planning, cluster coordination) and support COs for mobilizing, coordinating and deploying technical support to respond to short-term surges in demand (including standby partners)
      • Proof-reading of Spanish translation of relevant materials.
  3. In collaboration with communication and Health, provide support to health emergency response and in particular epidemics prevention and control
    • Assist with surge capacity for response in WASH in emergencies as and when needed.
  4. In collaboration with Emergency section, build risk analysis and Risk Informed Programming (RIP) capacity
    • Assist with training module elaboration and/or conduct training sessions as and when needed (making reference to GRIP and InfoRM) and follow-up the risk analysis to ensure quality during the process.   


  1. Completion of regional WASH-LAC matrix and written report on its uptake and utilization and analysis of preparedness and response gaps identified and measures taken to address these.
  2. National model of WASH-LAC Matrix developed and tested in one country (preferably one with existing sub national InfoRM risk index).
  3. National and sub national emergency response plans/contingency plans updated and/or developed as a result of direct support to UNICEF COs/National WASH Platforms.
  4. Online depository activated and updated and discussion forum activated
  5. Capacity building plan, workshop/sessions and capacity building training modules
  6. Two pager country profile for priority countries (including sector organigram, etc.) to complement the matrix.
  7. Quarterly webinars conducted and documented.
  8. Monthly activity reports of findings and technical support provided in key countries on priority areas – as will be identified with countries (e.g. information, coordination, training events)


  • At least five years of experience in WASH or related fields
  • Advanced University degree in WASH or related field.
  • Previous work experience and knowledge of UNICEF-supported priorities in WASH an asset
  • Fluent in oral and written Spanish; English, French and/or Portuguese is an added advantage.


Nine months consultancy, from mid-March 2017 to mid-December 2017.

Reporting Responsibilities/supervision

The consultant will be supervised by the Regional WASH Specialist in UNICEF LACRO.


The hired consultant will work primary from UNICEF LACRO in Panama City but may be requested to travel at short notice for surge missions for emergency response if required. If travel is required, travel costs will be covered by UNICEF and DSAs will apply as per corporate guidance.


Applicants are requested to submit an economic proposal for the consultancy.


 The deadline to receive applications is COB 3rd March, 2017.

To view our competency framework, please click here

Opening Date 20 Feb 2017 SA Pacific Standard Time
Closing Date 4 Mar 2017 SA Pacific Standard Time