Associate WASH Officer, P2, Lilongwe (for US nationals)

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This vacancy is opened in the context of the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) scheme sponsored by the Government of the USA and is addressed exclusively to candidates WITH THE US NATIONALITY

Duties and Qualifications

Associate Wash Officer (JPO)
There are approximately 60 thousand refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi with new asylum-seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo arriving each month. Most of those of concern to UNHCR live in Dzalake refugee camp, which has a population of nearly 51,000, near the capital Lilongwe.
A recent assessment of the WASH situation in Dzalake identified various WASH gaps and has identified numerous low-cost interventions that can be made to optimise the performance of the existing infrastructure to improve conditions. The same assessment identified a number of WASH needs for the border crossing and transit centres in the north (Karonga District).
The internal contacts are with other colleagues in the field, in particular working in camp management, site planning/shelter, health, protection, and community services sectors. S/he will work with staff from operational and implementing partner’s organization, county water and sanitation department and local officials to discuss and share information on the issues related to WASH in refugee camp and the surrounding communities. UNHCR Manual, programme objectives, Operations Plans, UN and UNHCR financial/budgetary rules and regulations will guide the work of the Assistant Programme Officer. S/he is also expected to stay abreast of the challenges posed to the region by the political context, conflict, Seasonal environmental hazard including floods, disease outbreaks, the UN and humanitarian reform and institutional developments. The incumbent will coordinate closely with the Programme Officer in Lilongwe as well as with UNICEF WASH colleagues in Lilongwe as well as close communication links with the Regional WASH Officer in Johannesburg when requested to do so. The position requires close collaboration with government and contractors and frequent sarong of information with all relevant parties. This will include ensuring that an adequate level of WASH service is provided at each site in accordance with applicable UNHCR and National Standards and developing longer term WASH Strategies and Contingency Plans to cope with possible additional refugee flows in the foreseeable future.

Key Responsibilities

Leadership and Coordination

  • Lead the delivery of WASH services for refugees to meet the UNHCR standards and / or the national WASH standards, depending on the context.
  • Act as a focal point for WASH issues within UNHCR and liaise with UN and international agencies, Government and Non-governmental counterparts.
  • Coordinate the activities of WASH Partners, together with other UN agencies, governmental and non-governmental counterparts and local authorities to ensure delivery of WASH services to beneficiaries meet UNHCR standards of assistance, depending on the context.
  • Facilitate adoption of methodologies for monitoring and reporting.

WASH Strategy, Planning and Programme Support

  • Advocate, help and support the development of new policies and strategies for UNHCR in key aspects of WASH.
  • Contribute to the budgeting, planning, programmatic processes and financial management of the operation in the area of WASH.
  • Formulate project submissions, including budgets, to respond to identified needs in collaboration with appropriate authorities, implementing and other partners, UNHCR Programme and technical sectors.
  • Advise Programme staff and managers on the strategic development of WASH aspects of the Programme.
  • Actively participate in drafting WASH strategies, developing and implementing work plan, indicating indicators, for any existing or newly installed refugee settlement or settlement extension identified.
  • Jointly with technical staff of implementing partners and other WASH actors, update detailed needs and resource assessments and revise designs of technical plans as necessary, taking into account practical aspects of implementation, long-term sustainable solutions, and relevant technical specifications and guidelines.
  • Advise and assist the UNHCR programme staff on the development of WASH aspects of the programme including budgeting and input to financial management of the programme on technical areas, when needed

Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

  • Provide technical guidance and support to partners on all water, sanitation, hygiene promotion and environment related issues, to ensure quality, cost-effectiveness, sustainability and impact soundness in their implementation and in accordance with UNHCR policies, standards and priorities.
  • Facilitate capacity strengthening activities of national UNHCR WASH staff and, if applicable, of staff of implementing/operational partners to address key areas of WASH importance to refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Quality Assurance

  • Supervise and monitor the implementation of the ongoing water, sanitation, hygiene projects administered directly by UNHCR and its partners.
  • Ensure that mechanisms to monitor the performance of UNHCR¿s partners on WASH activities in the refugee camps / settlements / host community are in place.
  • Ensure that the WASH monitoring system data collection and reporting is carried out systematically, properly and timely with quality information


  • Report regularly on WASH activity implementation by WASH partner, while maintaining accurate records of all relevant WASH performance indicators.
  • Prepare monthly sectorial reports and submit material for preparation of periodic project monitoring reports as required by the office at country level.
  • Perform other duties as required.

Expected Outputs

  • Technical advice, coordination and oversight provided to enable response to immediate WASH needs (water supply, toilets, showers, wash basins, solid waste management, etc.).
  • Development of long-term WASH strategy for the sector relevant to those sites that are planned to be long-term sites ensured and local government authorities supported to oversee implementation of the strategy and construction of the necessary infrastructure.
  • Regular reports on WASH gaps and implementation through UNHCR reporting channels provided.
  • Improved and upgraded water supply system and infrastructure to serve the refugees, and if possible, also to the host communities implemented.
  • Sanitation and solid waste management improved.
  • Hygiene promotion and capacity building intensified.
  • Environmental impact caused by refugees¿ presence in Dzalake camp area reduced.

Essential minimum qualifications, professional experience and skills Academic:

University degree in Water / Civil / Environmental / Engineering. Advance training in water, sanitation or public health engineering will be preferable.
Experience: Essential

3 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 2 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 1 year relevant experience with Doctorate degree.

  • At least 2 years of progressively responsible functions in water/ sanitary engineering or a related field in a developing country dealing with WASH facilities.
  • Proven experience with Engineering Project Management and ability to achieve quality results, on time, and within budget.
  • Ability to coordinate a range of diverse actors and activities to achieve a common objective in the area of WASH.
  • Proven ability to deal with multiple tasks in a courteous and service-oriented manner in demanding working conditions that often have short deadlines.
  • Proven technical expertise in the area of WASH assessment including survey, programme implementation, technical design, monitoring and coordination.

Experience: Desirable

  • Exposure to UNHCR mandate, its priorities and principles

How to apply

For a full job description and to apply, interested candidates are requested to visit the UNHCR career page, click on the Vacancies tab and enter job ID 35371.

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Please note that UNHCR does not charge a fee at any stage of its recruitment process (application, interview, meeting, travelling, processing, training or any other fees).

Please note that the closing date for this JPO advertisement is Sunday 22 May 2022 (midnight Geneva time).

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