Consultant (Operation and Maintenance of Water Supply Systems in Northern Uganda) via ReliefWeb

Action Against Hunger

Uganda 馃嚭馃嚞

The overall goal of the consultancy will be to study and evaluate the feasibility of a model of preventive and curative maintenance for small and medium sized water systems (handpumps, small water schemes) that will address the shortcomings of the current model relying on Water User Committees (WUC) and local mechanics. The study will facilitate Improvement of the sustainability of water systems in Northern Uganda.Below is the Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference

Definition of a model of preventive and curative maintenance for small and medium sized water systems in refuge hosting districts in Northern Uganda

Approximate duration of assignment: 2 months

Tentative contract starting date: 15/01/2018

Location country: Uganda

Location city: Kampala, Arua District and Kiryandongo District

The consultant will be based at Action Against Hunger offices (Kampala and Yumbe) for the whole duration of the consultancy.

1- General Context


Action Against Hunger is an international humanitarian organization dedicated to improving the health and livelihoods of the world鈥檚 most vulnerable- especially women and children. The organization works to save lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger. Action Against Hunger is committed to research, partnerships, and learning that will allow to continually improve policy and practice to end under nutrition in all its forms by 2030. We promote sustainability by integrating our programmes with local and national systems and further ensure that short-term interventions translate to long-term solutions. In Uganda, the mission has been in existence for over 32 years delivering interventions in Nutrition; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and food security and livelihoods (FSL) in both humanitarian and development contexts with operations in Karamoja and West Nile regions of Uganda in the districts of Kiryandongo, Adjumani, Kaabong, Yumbe, Amuru, Gulu and Nwoya.

Statement of the Problem

The Government of Uganda鈥檚 progressive policy of welcoming refugees and the country鈥檚 geographic position on the border of two countries experiencing protracted conflict has led to Uganda hosting the largest population of refugees in Africa. Uganda currently hosts over 909,723 South Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers and an average of 450 new individuals in need of immediate humanitarian support continue to arrive from South Sudan daily (August 2017). Instability, violence and consequent mass migration into Uganda are expected to persist in South Sudan over the coming months and the authorities are allocating land for new settlements or expanding existing settlements in order to accommodate for the continued influx.

Experience on precedent South Sudanese influx, and studies on refugee movement show that refugees will stay for several years (15 years in average). Refugee response planning should therefore acknowledge this basic assumption to better coordinate operational partners, the Ugandan government and a burgeoning private sector with the goal to build a strong and stable long term response that incorporates the needs of all people in the sub-region.

Access to Water: A Key Issue

In this context where, in few months, the population of some districts have more than doubled due to the refugee influx, access to water and water resources management constitute a critical element of the refugee response. The different partners are now working on shifting from water trucking to more permanent sources of safe water, drilling boreholes and installing hand pumps and motorized systems in the settlements and hosting sub counties. UNHCR and Office of the Prime minister (OPM) in close coordination with the Ministry of Water and environment, should guarantee the maintenance of those systems in the first years of the installation. However with the current trends of funding that is already insufficient to address all the needs of the refugees, it is important to plan now for long term, sustainable and cost effective solutions taking into account the global context, in close adherence to the Ministry of Water and Environment guidelines. Those solutions will have to be harmonized between the host communities and refugees as the settlement model is an open model where refugees and host population are interacting, sharing sometime the same boreholes.

Sustainability of rural water supplies is still a challenge even with the many O&M initiatives in place. The ministry of water set general guidelines for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of boreholes clearly articulating the role of the District, NGOs, private sector and water users. The guidelines should apply for both host and refugee context. Different systems are in place in the country with some disparity in the efficiency and effectiveness of those systems. over the years there has been an increase in the number of functional rural water sources but the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) practices of the rural water sources are still not apt and O&M is a challenge many of them are not fully functional always. For instance few water sources are unable to meet the standards of providing water for a minimum of 350 days in a year with less than 14 days of breakdown. Broken-down water source can sometimes take up to three months or more before being repaired. On average, a water point functions well within the first two years, after which it starts breaking down. majority of the current rural water points in the host communities that existed for more than 5 years old are not regularly maintained and thus at risk of regular breakdowns.

In the refugee settlements there is no system in place to guarantee the sustainability and ownership of the water points. The refugees don鈥檛 have to pay for the water and the operation and maintenance of the water supply systems is shouldered entirely by the NGOs, UNHCR and OPM support. Considering the vulnerability of refugees and their low capacity for payment, it is important to support them to access safe water, in the first year of their arrival. However acknowledging that the refugee population will stay for at least 10 to 15 years, it is important to set from the beginning the bases of a maintenance system. This will increase ownership of the water point and prepare the transition through a harmonized maintenance system in both host community and refugee.

UNHCR and the Ministry of Water and Environment have initiated with partners discussions around O&M. A task group has been constituted to work concretely around this issue and propose concrete solutions. Some decisions have already been taken like the Ministry of Water and Environment creating umbrella organization to coordinate and oversee the O&M system in refuge hosting district in West Nile. Those aspects will constitute a good starting point in the process of defining a good O&M model.

In order to support this work and inform the decision making process to build the detailed architecture of an effective and efficient O&M system, Action Against Hunger would like to hire a consultant. This consultant will work closely with the different members of the task force to review the existing O&M system and propose a pertinent model, involving the private actors, to increase pump functionality in both refugee and host community.

2– Objective and Outcomes of the study**

Overall Objective:

The overall goal of the consultancy will be to study and evaluate the feasibility of a model of preventive and curative maintenance for small and medium sized water systems (handpumps, small water schemes) that will address the shortcomings of the current model relying on Water User Committees (WUC) and local mechanics. The study will facilitate Improvement of the sustainability of water systems in Northern Uganda.


Initial brainstorming suggest that the involvement of one or several private partners that would be able to provide maintenance at the scale of a district or a large area could lead to a business model that could benefit communities, local administration and the service provider. Instead of Water user committees(WUC) working with a locally trained mechanic, and purchasing spare parts from nearby shops, WUC could turn directly to a well identified company that could propose a full and quick service to repairs and maintain water points at a reasonable cost. A well-structured model could be used directly by the Umbrella organisation, the Ugandan WUCs and local water authorities, as well as in bulk by the humanitarian community that delivers service in refugee settlements. As refugees don鈥檛 pay for water, but discussions occur on a possible transition towards the same system as for nationals, the initial linkages between refugee users and the supplier(s) could be progressively transferred under the responsibility of the communities if they were to settle for an extended period of time. Cash transfer solution to support refugees in paying water, and inclusion of cost of water in the Minimum Expenditure Basket are currently being discussed among partners. The study should help to give solid elements to adjust the cost of water included in the MEB.

The consultancy will assess the various aspects of this model and will validate its feasibility and how best to move it forward, or if other models should be favoured. The following tasks will need to be considered:

路 Review the existing O&M mechanisms existing in Uganda for rural areas and refugee settlements; identify gaps, issues and limitations that threaten the sustainability of water services, map actors and study actors dynamic and interest in the model on particular with regards to maintenance and repairs.

路 Assess the existence, capacity and interest from private sector actor(s) and social enterprises in being involved in the delivery of maintenance and repairs at scale.

路 Field investigations to study new systems (following initial identification by Oxfam) being developed and tested in Uganda to create long-term sustainable O&M

路 Analysis the new systems of promise for sustainability and suitability for conditions in the 2 target districts (Kiryandongo and Arua)

路 Study the different model of pricing (on demand, monthly fee, hybrid system)

路 Consult with key stakeholders (Ministry of Water and Environment, UNHCR and other members of the task force, the Umbrella organisation already in place in the country鈥) and with private sector to discuss the needs for an evolution of the current O&M model, as well as ideas and existing or past initiatives with lessons learnt.

路 Propose some solutions to introduce subsidies through Cash transfer to most vulnerable refugees.

路 Propose a new model for maintenance of water service delivery that will aim at overcoming the traditional issues of sustainability of the current system, and has the potential to adapt to the needs of refugee settlements where NGOs provide the service, transition into longer term, and for rural host communities that pay for their O&M.

路 Costing and implementation plan to achieve sustainability

3- Deliverables

The consultant will deliver the following products:

  • Delivery 1-

v Short report on the review of existing O&M in Uganda (10 pages maximum including information matrix). The consultant will discuss and agree with Action Against Hunger the matrix design and proposed criteria to look at in order to have a systemized analysis grid of the different O&M models.

v Detailed minutes of interviews and meetings with stakeholders

  • Delivery 2-

v Report on existing systems in the targeted Districts

  • Delivery 3-

v Detailed feasibility study and proposal of the model, including:

Inputs from stakeholders,

mapping of the actors,

schematic representation of the model,

business plan and costing of the O&M model

Best payment option (pay as you consume, monthly fee, hybrid system,

Cash transfer model for most vulnerable refugees,

Pre-requirements and monitoring framework

Foreseen critical points of success or challenges

Delivery 4-

v Brief description of the model (including a visual / conceptual representation) for external audiences, advocacy and fund raising purposes.

v Dissemination Workshop in Kampala

5- Payment

The Service Provider shall be compensated for the services performed and materials delivered according to the agreed activities provided in the Appendix A. The payment will be completed in four installments and after approval of the named deliverable by the Action Against Hunger representative:

  • The first instalment of 30% shall be done upon signature of contract;

  • The second installment 20% shall be done upon submission and validation of the delivery 1 and 2

  • The third installment of 30% shall be done upon submission and validation of the delivery 3

  • The fourth installment 20% shall be done upon submission and validation of the delivery 4.

6 – Submission of offer/proposal

The consultants interested will submit a technical proposal (max four pages), the CV or the consultant, a work plan indicating the delivery date of each product expected, and a detailed budget.

The detailed budget should include;

  1. Consultancy fee of the researcher and or team:

  2. Travel, perdiem, accommodation, and communication costs

  3. Other costs including withholding tax, printing fees and dissemination workshop

How to apply:

Those three documents have to be sent by e-mail to: Teopista Ochora:[email protected]; copying ‘Sebastien More-Chevalier’ [email protected]; and Jackline [email protected]

Deadline for submission: 18th of December 2017