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UNICEF is looking for Specialist, L-3; IMIS # 81570. Cotonou, BENIN

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UNICEF is looking for Specialist, L-3; IMIS # 81570. Cotonou, BENIN


Job no: 515394
Work type: Fixed Term Staff
Location: Benin
Categories: WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), P-3
Advertised: W. Central Africa Standard Time
Applications close: W. Central Africa Standard Time

Apply here

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, a Champion


I- Context of the position.

“Benin is a stable democracy in West Africa with a socially and culturally diverse population, currently estimated at over 11 million,  51 per cent of which are children and 25.6 per cent, adolescents. Most of the population (55.4 per cent) lives in rural areas, though the country is undergoing rapid urbanization (3.67 per cent per year). The national context is marked by the Government’s commitment to implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Government Action Programme, 2016-2021. 2016 Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis,  revealed that 43 per cent of children lived in poor households and 64.5 per cent were deprived of at least three essential needs (health, nutrition, education, sanitation, etc.). Multidimensional child poverty affects more children than monetary poverty. The most deprived children live in households that are rural, poor, large and/or headed by a person with a low level of education. Children living in some departments in northern and central Benin suffer more deprivations than elsewhere in the country.  Important investments in priority social sectors are made by the country over the past years. At present, health (7 per cent) and education (23 per cent) together account for around 30 per cent of annual public spending.
There have been notable improvements in health service coverage and access to drinking water. Between 2011 and 2016, the neonatal, infant and under-five mortality rates fell respectively from 32, 67 and 125, to 31, 63 and 98 deaths per 1,000 live births,  although significant disparities remain. Mortality rates are highest among the poorest children, those with less-educated mothers and those living in some departments in the north and centre of the country. According to a UNICEF report,  Benin will need to at least double its rate of progress to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target for neonatal mortality by 2030. Malaria, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections cause 37.8 per cent of deaths among children under-five. The proportion of children fully immunized by the age of 12 months has remained unchanged at 41 per cent since 2006. The rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV stands at 6.7 per cent. Approximately 37 per cent of rural health facilities have basic equipment, compared to 55 per cent in urban areas.  Chronic malnutrition remains high (34 per cent). Stunting is more than twice as likely to affect children living in the poorest households (46 per cent) and in some departments, especially in the north of the country, than those living in the wealthiest households (18 per cent). Access to improved sanitation facilities is low (14 per cent), with significant disparities between urban and rural areas. Consequently, Benin has one of the highest open defecation rates in the region.”
How can you make a difference?


II- Purpose of the position:

The WASH Specialist reports to the Chief of WASH/Health/Nutrition/ADAP/CSD (Level 5/4) or WASH Manager (Level 4) for guidance and general supervision. The Specialist supports the development, preparation, management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the WASH programme within the country programme. The Specialist provides technical guidance and management support throughout the programming processes, to facilitate the administration and achievement of the WASH-related output results in the country programme.


III- Summary of key functions/accountabilities: 

  1. Programme development and planning
  2.  Programme management, monitoring and delivery of results
  3.  Technical and operational support for programme implementation
  4.  Humanitarian WASH preparedness and response
  5.  Networking and partnership building
  6. Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building


1. Programme development and planning

  • Draft the WASH inputs for the situation analysis.  Provide timely, comprehensive and current data to inform WASH policy and programme development, planning, management and implementation. Keep abreast of WASH sector development trends, for maximum efficiency and effectiveness in programme design, management and implementation.
  • Participate in strategic WASH programme planning discussions. Prepare WASH donor proposals, ensuring alignment with UNICEF’s Strategic Plan, UNICEF’s global WASH strategy and the Country programme, as well as government plans and priorities, and the role of other external support agencies.
  • Assist in the formulation of the WASH outcome and output results, related indicators, baselines, targets and means of verification. Prepare required documentation for programme reviews.
  • Work with colleagues and partners to discuss strategies and methodologies for the achievement of WASH output results in the country programme.
  •  Provide technical and operational support throughout all stages of programming processes and ensure integration, coherence and harmonization of WASH with other UNICEF sectors, for the achievement of the WASH output results.
  •  Draft assigned sections of the annual work plan, in close cooperation with government and other counterparts.

2 Programme management, monitoring and delivery of results

  •  With other external support agencies, strengthen national government WASH sector monitoring systems, with a focus on WASH outcomes (behaviors), using bottleneck analysis tools available in the sector (WASH-BAT, CSOs, SDAs).
  • Participate in monitoring and evaluation exercises, programme reviews and annual sectoral reviews with government and other counterparts and prepare reports on results for required action/interventions at the higher level of programme management.
  • Prepare/assess monitoring and evaluation reports to identify gaps, strengths/weaknesses in programmes and management, identify and document lessons learned.
  • Monitor and report on the use of sectoral programme resources (financial, administrative and other assets), verify compliance with approved allocations, organizational rules, regulations/procedures and donor commitments, standards of accountability and integrity. Report on issues identified to enable timely resolution by management/stakeholders.
  • Prepare sectoral progress reports for management, donors and partners.

3 Technical and operational support for programme implementation

  • Actively monitor UNICEF-supported activities through field visits, surveys and exchange of information with partners, to assess progress, identify bottlenecks and potential problems and take timely decisions to resolve issues and/or refer to relevant officials for timely interventions.
  • Provide technical and operational support to government counterparts, NGO partners, UN system partners and other country office partners/donors on the application and understanding of UNICEF policies, strategies, processes and best practices in WASH, to support programme implementation.
  • Plan for use of technical experts from the Regional Office and HQ, as and where appropriate in the WASH programme, through remote support and on-site visits.
  • Participate in WASH programme meetings, to review progress, with government, other sector agencies and implementation partners, involved at various stages of WASH programme implementation, to provide expert advice and guidance.
  • Draft policy papers, briefs and other strategic materials for use by management, donors, UNICEF regional offices and headquarters.

4 Humanitarian WASH preparedness and response

  • Prepare requisitions for supplies, services, long-term agreements and partnership agreements to ensure UNICEF is prepared to deliver on its commitments for WASH in case of an emergency.
  • Contribute to the coordination arrangement for humanitarian WASH, for instant robust coordination in case of an emergency.
  • Ensure that all UNICEF WASH staff are familiar with UNICEF’s procedures for responding in an emergency.
  • Take up support roles in an emergency response and early recovery, as and when the need arises.

5 Networking and partnership building

  • Build and sustain close working partnerships with government counterparts and national stakeholders through active sharing of information and knowledge to facilitate programme implementation and build capacity of stakeholders to achieve WASH output results.
  • Prepare materials for WASH programme advocacy to promote awareness, establish partnerships and support fund-raising.
  • Participate in inter-agency discussions, ensuring that UNICEF’s position, interests and priorities are fully considered and integrated in the UNDAF development planning and agenda setting.

6 Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building

  •  Lead the development, implementation, monitoring and documentation of WASH action research and innovation (technical or systems).
  •  Prepare learning/knowledge products, covering innovative approaches and good practices, to support overall WASH sector development.
  • Create and deliver learning opportunities for UNICEF WASH staff, to ensure our sector capacity remains up-to-date with latest developments.
  •  Contribute to the systematic assessment of WASH sector capacity gap analysis, in collaboration with government and other stakeholders, and support the design of initiative to strengthen capacities systematically.
  •  Participate as a resource person in capacity building initiatives to enhance the competencies of clients/stakeholders.


IV-Qualifications, Skills And Technical Requirements:

1- Qualifications

* Education:

  •  An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: public health, social sciences, behavior change communication, sanitary engineering or another relevant technical field.
  • Additional relevant post-graduate courses that complement/supplement the main degree are a strong asset.

2- Experience:

  •  DEVELOPMENTAL:  a minimum of five years of professional experience in WASH-related programmes for developing countries is required.
  •  One year of deployment in a developing country is required.
  •  HUMANITARIAN: At least one three-month deployment mission in a humanitarian situation (with UN-Govt-INGO) is required.

3- Language Requirements:

  •  Fluency in French and English (spoken, and written) is required.
  •  Knowledge of another official UN language or local language of the duty station is considered as an asset.

4- Technical requirements:

a) Expert knowledge of three components and basic knowledge of three components

  1.  Rural water supply for low- and middle-income countries – including water safety, sustainability
  2.  Rural sanitation for low- and middle-income countries, incl sustainability; applying CATS principles
  3. Urban sanitation for low- and middle-income countries, incl sustainability
  4. Handwashing with soap
  5. WASH-in-Schools and Health Centres
  6. Menstrual hygiene management
  7. National government WASH policies, plans and strategies
  8. Analysis of national budgets and expenditure for basic WASH, and related advocacy

b) Basic knowledge of both components

  1. Humanitarian WASH – preparedness
  2. Humanitarian WASH – response and recovery

c) Basic knowledge

  1. Humanitarian WASH – coordination of the response

d) Expert knowledge of two components and basic knowledge of the other two components

  1.  Programme/project management
  2.  Capacity development
  3. Knowledge management
  4. Monitoring and evaluation

e) In-depth knowledge

  1. Human rights and WASH
  2. Gender equality and WASH


V – Competencies and level of proficiency required (based on UNICEF Professional Competency Profiles.

1- Core Values

  • Commitment
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Integrity

2- Core competencies

  • Communication (II)
  • Working with people (II)
  • Drive for results (II)

3- Functional Competencies:

  • Leading and Supervising (I)
  • Formulating strategies and concepts (II)
  • Analyzing (III)
  •  Applying technical expertise (III)
  •  Relating and networking (II)
  •  Deciding and Initiating action (II)

Female qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

For every Child, you demonstrate…
UNICEF’s core values of Commitment, Diversity and Integrity and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.
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.
Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Apply here


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