Senior Officer (WASH in Public Health)

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Nairobi, , KE


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, with 190 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

Organizational Context

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC or “the Federation”) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network. The Federation is a membership organisation established by and comprised of its member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Along with National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Federation is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The overall aim of the IFRC is “to inspire, encourage, facilitate, and promote at all times all forms of humanitarian activities by National Societies with a view to preventing and alleviating human suffering and thereby contributing to the maintenance and promotion of human dignity and peace in the world.” It works to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people before, during and after disasters, health emergencies and other crises. The Federation is served by a Secretariat based in Geneva, with regional and country offices throughout the world. The Secretariat is led by the IFRC Secretary General and provides the central capacity of the International Federation to serve, connect, and represent National Societies. The Secretariat’s focus includes providing support to the IFRC governance mechanisms; setting norms and standards; providing guidance; ensuring consistency, coordination, and accountability for performance; knowledge sharing; promoting collaboration within and respect for the RCRC Movement; and expanding engagement with partners. The Secretariat’s headquarters is organized in three main business groups: (i) Partnerships, including Movement and Membership; (ii) Programmes and Operations; and (iii) Management Services. The Programme Services Division is in turn organised in three Departments, each of them led by a Director. The department of Health consists of 3 teams, of which Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is one. The Senior Officer of the WASH team serves as a member of the WASH team reporting to the WASH Team Leader. The Senior Officer WASH supports the IFRC’s programmatic vision for WASH and its translation into programmatic interventions, in close collaboration with Regional Offices, by providing technical advice, support and coordination to the Federation’s programmes in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion throughout the resilience continuum (in emergency, recovery and development contexts).

Job Purpose

The Senior Officer WASH is expected to contribute to the (1) delivery of all global activities covered by the WASH programs (water, sanitation, hygiene promotion) especially focusing upon public health in WASH and hygiene promotion and ensuring sound and consistent coordination between Geneva Secretariat, its regions and the country offices, the National Societies membership and the wider international and humanitarian network and to ensure linkages and integration in a resilience based program approach (2) contribute to and backstop coordination of WASH support in the emergency and development contexts (3) as member of the WASH team provide additional support to the Team Leader, WASH.

After an initial extended briefing period at the Secretariat in Geneva, the position will be assigned to the Regional Office in Africa (Nairobi) in order to actively support key priority areas in relation to Public Health & WASH.

Job Duties and Responsibilities

Enable RCRC to be a global leading player in the WASH sector

  • Under the direction of the Team Leader WASH, contribute to and support the work of RCRC at relevant international fora, in publications, conferences and meeting and ensure that relevant advocacy themes are well presented, and to the positioning of RCRC as a global leader especially in public health and hygiene promotion in WASH.
  • Contribute to cross-divisional, field and national societies input in the development of global policies, strategies, guidelines and tools as well as the integration of these standards into the work of RCRC to ensure sound and sustainable WASH programmes and effective public health outcomes.
  • Contribute to and support community led WASH, both rural and urban, as a significant means of contributing towards achievement of the health related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other relevant global health development targets.
  • Work closely, with other members of the WASH Team, with Health & Care Department focal points for epidemiology, public health in emergencies, and health promotion, with the Communications and Partnerships Teams contributing to ensuring appropriate visibility, resource mobilization and public awareness of the work of IFRC/RCRC.

Support National Societies in order to improve its WASH performance

  • Ensure that WASH programs support disease control and prevention of transmission in all relevant settings (clinical, home, environment etc.) with a main focus on the African region.
  • Support the mapping of global WASH programming, progress and best practices and priority needs of National Societies especially in the context of WASH in public health and hygiene promotion and ensure professional dialogue with and relevant support to technical staff and maintain a functioning network of delegates, NS staff and professionals in the WASH sector.
  • Act as technical reference point for the Secretariat, Regional/Cluster Offices, National Societies and WASH Delegates especially in the area, but not limited to, public health issues linked to WASH, epidemic response, vector control, medical waste, and hygiene promotion as well as coordinating training initiatives and plans in the area.
  • Contribute to providing specific technical support to ensure National Societies are able to effectively incorporate WASH in public health and hygiene promotion within each stage of the emergency cycle and along the resilience continuum: strengthening of WASH as part of prevention; WASH disaster preparedness; community disease detection and early warning; behaviour change communication; community management of sustainable water supplies.
  • Contribute to the four cross organizational WASH related work streams: WASH for development through expansion of GWSI; WASH in disasters; WASH during public health emergencies and WASH in Urban Settings but with the primary emphasis on WASH during public health emergencies.
  • Focus on establishing integrated cholera control programmes that should develop into long term investment in WASH as well as other public health issues such as linking wash with nutrition, vector control and wash in health facilities in the Africa region.

Support coordination of WASH during emergencies

  • Act as focal and reference point in the Secretariat for WASH in public health emergencies related issues and deployments including training initiatives.
  • Support further development of Emergency Response Units, RDRT and other response systems that provide improved conditions for rapid and efficient response to needs for WASH conditions in public health emergency situations.
  • With other WASH team members actively engage with and provide secretariat support to the Interagency Hygiene Promotion Working Group.
  • Contribute to and when required backstop the RCRC global WASH surge mechanisms and, as part of cross organizational Emergency Support Team and in conjunction with partner and host National Societies, ensure that the right people with the right skills and equipment are able to be deployed to the right places at the right time to support National Societies WASH needs.
  • Work closely with the emergency health team so as to ensure WASH activities (including hygiene promotion) are directed at areas of highest needs particularly during infectious disease emergencies.

Contribute to Delivering quality in operations

  • Under the direction of the Team Leader WASH, ensure that tools, guidelines and projects in the team are based on evidence, applicable international standards and follow a resilience based health approach.
  • Ensure that operational questions and challenges are addressed by operational research in partnership with different research institutions and other partners
  • Ensure that behavioural change components and training are following good standards and are aligned to department wide approaches
  • Perform knowledge extraction, analysis, documentation, validation codification and dissemination of results/lessons learned in the specific thematic area and ensure knowledge sharing and content management with both internal and external stakeholders.

Contribute to an effective, high quality IFRC team:

  • Be accountable to the team manager by providing progress reports on results against objectives and risk analysis.
  • Be flexible in your work definition according to needs and targets and improve team efficiencies and effectiveness within available resources.
  • Be a pro-active team member fostering a customer service-oriented culture that values proactivity, continuous improvement, innovation, high performance and cost effectiveness.
  • Foster a co-creative environment with colleagues in the Secretariat, Regions and the National Societies and open and co-operative view to the actors in the relevant external environment.
  • Support the Team Leader in strengthening financial standards in the team by contributing to: ensure regular reports on use of funds within the WASH Team are provided; and ensure budget needs are met and reported upon in a timely and efficient manner.


Advanced university degree (master’s or equivalent) in WASH, Public Health, engineering or equivalent professional experience – required

Relevant post graduate degree in public health – preferred



At least 5 years working experience in the humanitarian or development sector, with a focus on WASH.

Demonstrated professional credibility in the sector and experience working in an international or cross-cultural environment.


5 years management and supervisory experience in a multicultural environment, with developing countries and/or with an international organisation at management level.

Experience working in a RC/RC National Society and/or Federation/ICRC.

Knowledge, skills and languages


Knowledge of WASH and public health and experience in practically applying this knowledge into policy, programmes and positioning.

Programme and project management.

Results oriented and demand driven individual, entrepreneurial, ability to lead in unprecedented and/or ambiguous situations.

Demonstrated leadership and management skills, including the ability to lead within a matrix management structure and utilise talent and experience of team members in a productive way.

Outstanding networking, representational, communication and negotiation skills. An ability to be proactive and persuasive.

Demonstrated track record in innovating, contributing to a learning culture, sharing knowledge and new approaches to engaging partners.

Professional credibility, able to work effectively at all levels across the organisation.

Proven good judgment and ability to work with complete integrity and confidentiality.

High degree of discretion, tact and sensitivity in dealing with internal and external clients and stakeholders at all levels.

Ability to work within a multi-cultural, multilingual, multidisciplinary environment.

Fluently spoken and written English.

Good command of another IFRC official language (French, Spanish or Arabic) – preferred

Competencies and values

Values: Respect for Diversity, Integrity, Professionalism, Accountability

Core Competencies: Communication, Collaboration & Teamwork, Judgement & Decision Making, National Society & Customer Relations, Creativity & Innovation, Building Trust

Managerial Competencies: Managing Staff Performance, Managing Staff Development

Functional Competencies: Strategic Orientation, Building Alliances, Leadership, Empowering Others