Global Monitoring of WASH Affordability

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

New York, NY, US

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UNICEF and WHO established a Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) in 1990. The JMP produces national, regional and global estimates of progress in drinking water and sanitation and was responsible for monitoring progress towards MDG target 7c. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets call for universal access to safe drinking, water and sanitation and hygiene by 2030. In July 2017 the JMP published baseline estimates for the new SDG targets and indicators relating to household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. The use of water and sanitation ladders encouraged a focus on progressive realization of the human rights to water and sanitation and the targeting of populations with no service, in particular those practicing open defecation or using surface water for drinking-water.

Affordability is explicitly part of the water target 6.1, and it is also considered implicit in the sanitation and hygiene target 6.2. To date, efforts to monitor WASH affordability globally have been limited, and hampered by lack of data. While the main data sources for monitoring affordability – income and expenditure surveys, and utility billing records – do contain information on water tariffs and sometimes wastewater payments, other types of WASH spending are either hidden in other broader categories, or excluded. Furthermore, the level of WASH service – whether judged according to the ‘basic’ or ‘safely managed’ standard – varies from household to household, making it hard to know what you are actually measuring the affordability of. Hence the efforts to measure affordability so far, such as in the JMP 2017 report, present an incomplete picture.

Also, there is no international consensus around affordability benchmarks (e.g. WASH spending as a proportion of income) or other ways to measure affordability (e.g. whether high spending on WASH affects a household’s ability to access other essential goods and services). The latter issue highlights the need to take a multi-service perspective when measuring affordability, hence WASH cannot be considered in isolation. Other sectors such as food and health have defined their own frameworks over the affordability of for example, adequate nutritional intake or catastrophic health spending which propels a vulnerable households into poverty.

A point of contention remains over whether data on household WASH spending should be presented alongside WASH access figures, or if WASH access figures should be adjusted downwards for those who are judged to not ‘afford’ the service.

Therefore, clarity is needed on how affordability is to be better measured and monitored over time, so that necessary policy interventions can be made for those groups for whom accessing WASH services is a financial challenge. In the short-term, compromises may need to be made over the quality of data and limited spending categories to be able to present preliminary assessments of WASH affordability globally, but in the longer term questions in household surveys need to be added and adapted, special affordability surveys carried out, and improvements in other sources of WASH spending data such as utility billing records or market information.


The objective of this initiative is to develop and begin implementation of a vision for monitoring WASH affordability globally, based on the human rights to drinking water and sanitation. Given the range of stakeholders with a voice, the vision should be developed collaboratively through consensus-building. The solutions proposed should be actionable so that WASH affordability can be reported globally, with progressive improvements, from the JMP 2019 report. In addition to recommendations for global monitoring, recommendations will also be made for how countries can conduct more in-depth assessments of WASH affordability.


The initiative seeks to develop a practical methodology for global and national monitoring of WASH affordability, using country case studies to test and fine-tune the methodology. Given the range of data sources/quality and affordability challenges across different countries, a menu of options need to be made available. A concept note has been developed and an expert group is being assembled to guide the endeavour.

  1. Development of a guidance note for implementation of country case studies. The guidance note will outline the questions to be answered, methodology options for assessing affordability (based on literature reviews conducted prior to the consultant joining), the data sources, the analytical approaches, the principles for interpretation and the reporting format.
  2. Implementation of case studies. The consultant will:
  • Work with the JMP team and working group members to identify programme and non-programme countries who volunteer to offer to support implementation of the guidance note developed under 1. The expected number of case studies is 4.
  • Lead implementation of the four case studies, involving:
    • Collection of the available data sets from each case study country.
    • Analysis of data, in close collaboration with the case study countries.
    • Write a brief paper (10 pages, without annexes) summarising the results of each case study.
    • Write a synthesis paper (20 pages, without annexes) reporting on the affordability of WASH based on the data available.
    • Write a report to answer questions outlined in the concept note (10 pages), with recommendations for the global monitoring of affordability.
    • Revise all these reports based on feedback from the countries and expert working group members.
  1. Meetings of expert WG. The consultant will:
  • Support JMP in the organization of the side event at the UN Statistical Commission event in March 2018.
  • Support JMP in the organization of the final meeting of the expert WG members.
  • Write a report of each of the meetings.
  1. Final synthesis report. The consultant will:
  • Help draft a paper, based on the objectives and questions outlined in the concept note, detailing how JMP will monitor WASH affordability globally, making progressive improvements over time.

Duty Station

The consultancy is home based, except for the duty travel (up to 15 days).


The consultancy will be carried out in 60 working days conducted over the period February – November 2018.

Start date:        1 March 2018
End date:         31 December 2018


The expected results of the operational research with estimated days are presented below. The number of days estimates includes trips and travel time.


The consultant will report to the Senior Adviser (WASH) in WASH Section, New York. The consultant will communicate regularly with other JMP team members in UNICEF and WHO.

Key qualifications, technical background, and experience required:

The consultancy can be carried out by either an individual or a small team, with a total number of 60 days. The individual consultant (if only one person applies) or the team lead (if more than 1 person applies) should have the following:

  • Advanced degree (Masters or PhD) in science or social science. Preferably a PhD in Economics (or of high relevance to this assignment)
  • An economist with solid quantitative skills
  • A minimum of ten years professional experience in development field, with at least 10 years economic analysis experience and at least 5 years’ experience working with developing countries. Prior experience in the WASH sector is desirable.
  • Facilitation and consultation skills – prior experience successfully leading multi-country initiatives, convening stakeholders, organizing workshops and making high-level presentations
  • Excellent communication, presentation and writing skills.
  • Highly proficient in use of English with the ability to write in a clear and practical manner.
  • Familiarity with UNICEF mission, mandate and WASH programme is desirable.
  • As well as being fluent in English, good working knowledge of French or Spanish is desirable.

If a small team is proposed, the CVs of all the team members should also be provided and their roles indicated. The team member(s) should have 3-5 years of relevant work experience (research, writing and organizing skills) to conduct the assignment. The financial offer should provide a breakdown of days and daily rate per team member.

Financial offer

Please include in your financial offer

  • Consultant fees for 60 days work (disaggregated by individual), including overheads
  • 2 trips of the team lead to New York, with min. 4 days per diem allowed for each trip (1 trip for kick-off/early in contract, 1 trip for working group meeting), and possibly 1 trip of a team member to NY with min. 4 days per diem allowed for (working group meeting)


Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

With the exception of the US Citizens, G4 Visa and Green Card holders, should the selected candidate and his/her household members reside in the United States under a different visa, the consultant and his/her household members are required to change their visa status to G4, and the consultant’s household members (spouse) will require an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) to be able to work, even if he/she was authorized to work under the visa held prior to switching to G4.   

At the time the contract is awarded, the selected candidate must have in place current health insurance coverage

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

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.

Opening Date Thu Feb 01 2018 18:00:00 GMT+0100 (CET) Pacific Standard Time
Closing Date Fri Feb 16 2018 08:55:00 GMT+0100 (CET)