Water and Sanitation Engineer

Kolkata, India 🇮🇳

About Oxfam India

Oxfam India’s vision is to help create an equal, just and sustainable society by empowering the underprivileged. Oxfam India believes in the ‘Right to Life with Dignity for All’. This is fulfilled by partnering with others to become a more influencing organization. Oxfam India works with community-based organizations and their networks and mobilize the power of people through them. Oxfam India also seeks to engage broader public in its work to convert them into active citizens that support and fund our causes.

Oxfam India is a member of the global confederation of 19 Oxfam’s. Oxfam India adopts the ‘Oxfam approach’ of linking grassroots programs implemented by partner NGOs to local, national and global advocacy and policymaking.

Oxfam India aims to be a role model for promoting gender equality and diversity.

WASH Public Health Engineering Team Purpose:

The WASH team leads on the delivery of the WASH strategy, supports countries with humanitarian responses, supports humanitarian capacity building in country teams, leads and coordinates the representation of Oxfam WASH in global humanitarian bodies, processes and debates  and in global partnerships and ensures that learning from research, responses and international  forum are shared internally and more broadly with the WASH sector.

Job Purpose:

To enable Oxfam to respond quickly to the Public Health Engineering requirements of an emergency.  The work may involve immediate deployment in the first phase of an emergency stage, to assess the situation and subsequently implement public health engineering solutions appropriate to the context to provide lifesaving water and sanitation measures in accordance with international standards to alleviate the plight of the people affected by the emergency. Support may continue thereafter until the situation is stabilised and/or to strengthen capacities, systems and resources on the ground to be more prepared for either scaling up or future shocks.

Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities

The post holder will undertake a series of deployments of variable duration for which specific Terms of Reference will be negotiated and agreed with relevant parties, prior to deployment and or revised in the early stages of the deployment.  Often these deployments will be to support fast moving emergencies, and/or complex and difficult operating environments, where Oxfam has had to rapidly scale-up its programme and capacity.


·         Promote collaborative working relationships with key stakeholders in regions (Humanitarian Coordinators, Country Directors, country programme and partner WASH staff) to support the delivery of effective, high quality humanitarian programmes in line with Oxfam’s vision for humanitarian preparedness and response

·         Promote joint ways of working and programming particularly with PHP integrating gender, protection, MEAL, (and EFSVL where appropriate), to ensure humanitarian responses  demonstrate a holistic approach and ensure accountability to beneficiaries that are consistent with Oxfam policies and international quality standards

·         Ensure that programme design and implementation is consistent with Oxfam’s quality and accountability standards, emergency guidelines and protocols, the Core Humanitarian Standard and that work meets Sphere Standards and other external quality commitments.


Deployments will normally include some or all of the following responsibilities

1.      To carry out Water and Sanitation assessments and identification of actions to cover Watsan needs in order to provide an efficient and rapid humanitarian response.

2.      To evaluate Public Health risks related to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene practices and assess emergency needs, as requested, especially taking in the broader perspective of WASH.

3.      To carry out the selection, design and construction of water systems, using ground water or surface water, including abstraction, storage, treatment and distribution for new systems or rehabilitation of existing systems, in consultation with the affected population and the PHP team appropriate to the context.

4.      To select, design and implement the most appropriate form of sanitation system, in consultation with the beneficiaries and the PHP team, which includes excreta disposal, refuse disposal, vector control and drainage.

5.      To where possible, ensure designs incorporate sustainability and cost effectiveness

6.      To have an understanding of the role of cash programming and market based approaches in WASH as well as the different approaches that can be used in urban programming.

7.       To formulate and implement capacity-building plans for teams and individuals that the post holder manages in country, which may involve conducting training and mentoring approaches.

8.      To write country WASH Strategies, programme proposals and concise reports.

9.      To analyse assessment and community feedback with MEAL and PHP adapting techniques to formulate more appropriate solutions.

10.  To liaise closely with the Public Health Promotion Team throughout the planning, design and implementation stages of the Public Health Engineering Programme. Hygiene promotion and Community Mobilisation is a vital element of such public health engineering programmes.

11.  The work will include management and administrative duties and co-ordination with other members of the project and with staff of other organisations.

12.  To report regularly, verbally and in writing to the direct line manager in country and liaise with their development manager (PHE Advisor) for mentoring and technical support,

13.  To represent Oxfam to other NGO’s, agencies and Government authorities where requested.

14.  To order equipment from Oxfam’s Purchasing Department as required. Occasionally to organise local purchasing and to keep accounts.

15.  To brief press, media, other agency staff and Oxfam supporters as agreed with the Country Representative, Humanitarian Department and Press Office.

16.  To train and brief Oxfam staff on public health engineering issues.

17.  To ensure that all programmes take gender and protection issues fully into account. This includes the introduction of mechanisms to enable women to participate in decision making around public health engineering issues.

18.   To be familiar with, implement and inculcate the Core Humanitarian Standard, NGO/Red Cross Code of Conduct, Oxfam International procedures and other regulatory codes (e.g. InterAction Field Co-operation Protocol).

Technical Skills, Experience & Knowledge

Minimum requirements all IRT members are expected to fulfil:

a.       Ability to deploy at short notice to areas within the country affected by crisis and support the rapid scale up of humanitarian programmes to meet lifesaving needs of affected people.

b.      Demonstrate Oxfam values and behavioural competencies.

c.       Management skills: deployments may involve managing a team to deliver the work, IRT members will need to demonstrate management competencies, of international and multi-cultural teams, in difficult and stressful environments.

d.      Behavioural skills; all IRT deployments require the individual to successfully work with and mentor others often under challenging circumstances. IRT members should demonstrate competencies around “listening and creating dialogue” and “working with others” as well as networking skills.


·           A suitable qualification in a discipline related to Public Health Engineering. Experience could substitute for a formal qualification, but not vice versa.

·           Proven practical experience in humanitarian responses in appropriate water supplies, sanitation and hygiene promotion. It is desirable that most of this should have been in large scale emergency relief programmes. The post holder should have a good understanding of the WASH needs of poor rural and urban communities and of appropriate ways of tackling them. The post holder must be aware of and sensitive to the particular needs of women in this context.

·           The ability to write strategies, programme proposals and concise reports sometimes at short notice, reflecting the problems and possible solutions for particular situations.

·           To demonstrate the ability or willingness to implement different approaches to Humanitarian WASH programming using cash, vouchers or market based approaches.

·           To understand how Urban WASH programming can be different from more traditional WASH responses.

·           Diplomacy, tact and administrative skills in order to work with people at managerial and, on occasions, senior government levels. The post holder should also be at ease in working with local people.

·           Understanding of the UN response and coordination mechanisms

·           Well-developed interpersonal and team skills and proven ability to be flexible in demanding situations.

·           Experience and the ability to build the capacity of field teams is essential.

·           Willingness to travel at short notice, and often in difficult, stressful, circumstances.

·           Commitment to humanitarian principles and action.

·           Commitment to Oxfam’s equal opportunity and gender policies.

·           Good written and spoken English;



·           Specific expertise in urban or cash programming.

·           Experience or knowledge of emergency shelter


Key Behavioural Competencies  
(based on Oxfam’s Leadership Model)




We are comfortable to make transparent decisions and to adapt decision-making modes to the context and needs.


We have the ability to engage with diverse stakeholders in a way that leads to increased impact for the organization. We spot opportunities to influence effectively and where there are no opportunities, we have the ability to create them in a respectful and impactful manner.


We put ‘we’ before ‘me’ and place an emphasis on the power of the collective, nurture the team and play to the strengths of each individual. We are not concerned with hierarchical power, and we engage with, trust and value the knowledge and expertise of others across all levels of the organization.

Relationship Building

We understand the importance of building relationship, within and outside the organization. We have the ability to engage with traditional and non-traditional stakeholders in ways that lead to increased impact for the organisation.


We are good listeners who can see where deeper levels of thoughts and tacit assumptions differ. Our messages to others are clear, and consider different preferences.

Mutual Accountability

We can explain our decisions and how we have taken them based on our organizational values.  We are ready to be held to account for what we do and how we behave, as we are also holding others to account in a consistent manner.

Agility, Complexity, and Ambiguity

We scan the environment, anticipate changes, are comfortable with lack of clarity and deal with a large number of elements interacting in diverse and unpredictable ways.

Systems Thinking

We view problems as parts of an overall system and in their relation to the whole system, rather than reacting to a specific part, outcome or event in isolation. We focus on cyclical rather than linear cause and effect. By consistently practicing systems thinking, we are aware of and manage well-unintended consequences of organisational decisions and actions.

Strategic Thinking and Judgment

We use judgment, weighing risk against the imperative to act. We make decisions consistent with organizational strategies and values.

Vision Setting

We have the ability to identify and lead visionary initiatives that are beneficial for our organization and we set high-level direction through a visioning process that engages the organization and diverse external stakeholders.


We are able to develop a high degree of self-awareness around our own strengths and weaknesses and our impact on others. Our self-awareness enables us to moderate and self-regulate our behaviors to control and channel our impulses for good purposes.



We all work to effectively empower and enable others to deliver the organizations goals through creating conditions of success. We passionately invest in others by developing their careers, not only their skills for the job.  We provide freedom; demonstrate belief and trust provide appropriate support. We give more freedom and demonstrate belief and trust, underpinned with appropriate support.