Addressing the Gender Gap in Humanitarian WASH

 (via ReliefWeb)
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Juba, South Sudan
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Entry Level (0-2 Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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I. Background

The South Sudan humanitarian response plan (2018) states that more than 4 million people, one-third of the population, have been forced to flee their homes, many of them multiple times, since intense conflict erupted in December 2013. Up to 85% are estimated to be women and children. Mass displacement and a deepening humanitarian crisis has resulted in 7 million people in need of life-saving assistance and protection within South Sudan. About 300,000 internally displaced persons are living in recognized camps or camp-like settings of which a further 202,154[1] people continue to seek protection within six United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) The number of people displaced or in perpetual flight seeking protection continues to rise.

The conflict has significantly worsened the already dire water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs in the country as well as risks of gender-based violence (GBV). Before the outbreak of South Sudan’s internal armed conflict in December 2013, GBV was acknowledged to be high but underreported, especially affecting women and girls. In a recent study 45.8 per cent reported a female within their household having experienced an incident of GBV within the last year (IOM, December 2017). Women and girls are particularly at risk of sexual violence when collecting water, at defecation and bathing sites and collecting emergency assistance. IOM WASH assessment (2018) found that 71% of women in girls in predominately rural areas, did not feel safe when going to collect water.

Humanitarian WASH programming generally targets women and girls since they are primarily responsible for water collection, treatment and storage, hygiene for food preparation, compound cleanliness and care of children and other dependents. Most often women and girls are engaged in unpaid hygiene promotion activities, unpaid labour contributions for household latrine construction and often promoted in water management but rarely in leadership roles. This is in stark contrast to men’s position within WASH programming as project decision makers, and accessing skills building and livelihood opportunities as pump mechanics and WASH engineers. The division of labour acute, with women predominately in unpaid, unskilled roles and men in paid, skilled work, reinforcing women’s subordinate status.

This division of labour is underpinned by gender norms and the threat of violence, including abandonment, to reinforce expected behaviour, especially where paid and prestigious work is involved. This includes the perception that men make naturally better leaders than women (57% of men and women surveyed, IOM 2018). In addition, women’s own confidence, as well as significant gender gap in educational attainment (overall 15.6% according to UNESCO 2016) further hinders their participation.

Globally the United Nations Secretary-General made achieving gender parity was a top priority, and within the sphere of humanitarian action, protection from GBV and meeting the needs of girls, boys, women and men is critical to the humanitarian protection mandate. As part of the Real Time Accountability Partnership (RTAP), the South Sudan humanitarian country team and WASH cluster have committed to roll-out the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) GBV guidelines. Central to these commitments are reducing risks, preventing GBV through meaningful participation of women and girls to address their needs and to be actively involved in humanitarian decision-making and leadership.

The South Sudan WASH cluster humanitarian response plan for 2018 commits to ensure WASH interventions at household-, schools- and community-level for displaced population/host community to mitigate risks of GBV.” The indicators measuring this commitment require WASH actors to conduct GBV risk analysis with women and girls using female staff. To support WASH cluster partners to address this humanitarian requirement, this consultancy intends to generate data and analysis to understand, and tools to practically address, the gender gap in paid roles within WASH teams and programming approach. This initiative has the support of the South Sudan GBV Sub-Cluster and the WASH Cluster, and it is envisaged that these findings and recommendations will be broadly applicable to the wider humanitarian sector in South Sudan.

II. Scope of work

To support roll-out of the IASC GBV guidelines in South Sudan, and globally, by conducting research to identifying the barriers, lessons learnt, good practice and contextual strategies to address the gap in women in paid technical and leadership opportunities in the humanitarian WASH sector. The consultancy must ensure robust collaboration in country with WASH cluster, GBV Sub-Cluster and relevant government agencies.


Anticipated activities & description

Estimated Duration

  1. Identify the extent of the gender gap in WASH, including barriers, facilitators and possible strategies for effectively engaging women in WASH leadership, deployments and technical roles within organizations and at the community level

1. Design & deliver primary research study**, to include:

· Design the methodology including sampling strategy and tools to identify barriers and facilitators of women in paid technical work, skills building and leadership (within NGOs, UN and at the community level) in three contexts: urban, rural and internally displaced persons’ camps.

· The research findings must generate evidence of the gender gap including sex ratios, gender parity measures and gender norms underpinning the gender gap.

· Include a literature review including examples of good practice and lessons learnt globally and from South Sudan for equity in women’s recruitment, retention and professional development in leadership and WASH technical jobs. This should include a review of South Sudan labour law and selected NGO and UN agencies human resource policies, particularly those with effective strategies on affirmative action.

· Engagement with WASH management and field practioners, UNOCHA for engagement with WASH humanitarian response plan partners, South Sudanese universities and institutions where women are enrolling and finalizing engineering/technical WASH related studies.

· Validate the research findings and develop practical recommendations with key stakeholders at the national level.

35 days

  1. Capacitate WASH management and human resource personnel on attitudes, skills and practical strategies to equitably address the gender gap in WASH staffing

2. Develop & deliver practical guidance through training, tips and checklists

· Develop a training and guidance package to address knowledge, skills and behaviour gaps identified through the research, including practical examples of effective strategies.

· Prepare short practical, and contextual tips and checklists for human resources and WASH managers for recruiting, retaining and professional development of women in WASH teams.

· Conduct 2 trainings for WASH management level, human resources, security and country management team staff from WASH cluster partners. The trainings should be adapted according to the research findings, but will need to address unconscious bias in recruitment, deployments and security management, positive masculinities, workplace discrimination and micro-aggressions and effective strategies for addressing the gender gap.

25 days

  1. Support engagement at global and national level on the gender gap in WASH linked to the roll-out of the IASC GBV guidelines.

3. WASH Cluster learning dissemination

· Prepare and conduct presentations to disseminate the research findings tailored to engage different audiences: 1) WASH cluster and GBV sub-cluster and Inter-Cluster Working Group (ICWG) in South Sudan, 2) South Sudan Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), 3) Global WASH cluster and GBV Area of Responsibility and IOM Head Quarters.

10 days

III. Deliverables

All deliverables must be completed within 3 months of commencing. The expected outputs from consultancy services include:


Timeline (anticipated)

1. Gender gap in WASH research

Inception report (detailing research methodology, tools, outline for action plan workshop)

Within 10 days, must be approved by IOM before initiating research

Conduct research and draft WASH gender gap research report with recommendations

Anticipated after 20 days

Validation exercise and report with key stakeholder on research findings and

3 days, including preparation for workshop and validation of the approach by IOM

Final research report

2 days after completion of validation workshop

2. Guidance and training on key gender gap issues identified

Simple guidance with key facts, tips and checklists for WASH managers and human resources contextualised for South Sudan

Anticipated 5 days

Training package (facilitators manual and training materials) to address knowledge, skills and attitudes gaps related to gender gaps in WASH with guidance on adaptions for different audiences

Topics agreed and agenda designed and agreed within 5 days, training manual designed in 10 days.

Conduct 2 trainings and submit training reports with recommendations for follow-up

10-15 days, including preparations

3. WASH Cluster learning dissemination

Presentations for different target audiences for government authorities, humanitarian coordination, WASH cluster & GBV sub-clusters

5 days, to be approved by IOM before commencing presentations.

Presentations report & recommendations for follow-up

Finalised within 3 months of commencing

IV. Person/Firm Specifications


  • Degree level qualification in social science, law, with a focus on gender and development preferred;
  • Minimum 3 years’ experience working on gender equality in humanitarian/development organizations in a senior or advisory position;
  • Experience conducting organizational gender audits, and research on gender gaps and barriers;
  • Demonstrated high level skills in conducting quantitative and qualitative research and analysis;
  • Demonstrated skills in developing and delivering strong adult learning pedagogy, including conducting unconscious bias, inclusion and sexual harassment training;
  • Excellent communication, analysis and report writing skills in English;

· Availability to work and finish assignment within allocated time frame in country.


  • Experience with programming and training on positive masculinities;
  • Experience working in South Sudan in an emergency context;
  • Strong presentation, communication and relationship building skills, including working with humanitarian cluster and government stakeholders;
  • Experience working on humanitarian WASH programming.

V. Consultancy Details

Location: Juba, South Sudan, with possible travel to field sites.

Anticipated start date: 1st October 2018

IOM support: Logistical arrangements for in country, work permit and arranging accommodation.

Required from consultant: Payments for international medical insurance, accommodation in IOM guest house, own expenses in country

How to apply:

IOM invites applications from individuals with the required experience and skills. The applications should include the following:

  1. A cover letter should include a brief profile of the individual
  2. An outline of how you would meet the deliverables, including details on the methods/approaches and a price proposal in USD.
  3. Example of similar research conducted by the consultant.

Interested candidates are required to submit the above documents to IOM Office in Juba or e-mail: Applications sent through email need to reflect the position title and vacancy number on the subject line. Note: Incomplete applications will not be considered valid. Deadline for applications: 19th September 2018. Only short listed applicants will be contacted.