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Environmental Health (WASH) Technical Advisor, 254 views

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home. The IRC began work in Ethiopia in 2000 in response to severe drought in Ethiopia’s Somali Region. IRC is currently providing assistance to disaster-affected and high-risk communities in the Oromia; Tigray; Gambella; Benishangul-Gumuz; Somali and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regions, and to refugees in thirteen refugee camps across the country. IRC is implementing emergency water and sanitation activities, education, child protection and youth program activities , conducting agricultural activities, working with pastoralists on improving animal health, raising awareness on HIV/AIDS, family planning, and polio, and conducting community-based activities to reduce morbidity and mortality among children under five.


The Environmental Health (WASH) sector in Ethiopia is focused on water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in refugee camps in Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, Tigray and Somali regions, and rural communities in Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, SNNPR, Somali and Oromia regions. Projects started in 2000 in the Somali region and expanded to include refugee camps and drought and AWD-affected rural communities. The current projects aim to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality from diarrheal diseases amongst refugees and disaster-affected populations. The IRC, together with their partners Save the Children UK and Islamic Relief, is currently implementing a project that will work to improve basic services over a large part of the Somali Region, and will involve a significant scope of water and sanitation infrastructure construction, and hygiene promotion activities. The IRC seeks an Environmental Health Technical Expert (expatriate) that would be responsible for the coordination and provision of technical support in the area of water, sanitation and hygiene to the sub-contracting partners, to be based in Jijiga Town, and work 100% on this project.


The Environmental Health Technical Expert provides leadership and technical support of all WASH aspects of the Basic Services program. He/She will work with each of the partner organizations involved in the project, and will be responsible to advise on and monitor technical quality, supporting consortium members in completion of activities to a high quality within the project period. Experience in the particular context of WASH in pastoral communities will be essential in this role. Understanding of, and experience in, Disaster Risk Management and Natural Resource Management is also required.

Key responsibilities include:

This position works alongside the Health and Education Technical Experts, and reports to the Project Director (also based in Jijiga) on day-to-day project management, and is co-supervised by IRC PDP Project Manager based in Addis Ababa. The position is based in Jijiga Town, but with frequent travel throughout the region for management, support, monitoring and evaluation of program activities.

Technical oversight

  • Advise partners on all technical aspects of project implementation, ensuring a unified and effective approach to achieving project impact.
  • Develop guidelines and tools as required for WASH staff to implement key project activities consistently and effectively.
  • Organize technical training for project staff as required to enable them to implement the project strategy and activities effectively.
  • Identify and collate evidence base of context specific promising practices and support dissemination workshops to improve existing practices and introduce new practices and/or ideas among project partners.
  • Prepare or review all technical designs & BoQs, specifications and tenders for a variety of water and sanitation interventions.
  • Ensure that effective engagement is maintained with communities and with local government partners, to ensure responsive and sustainable programming.

Project monitoring

  • Oversee the WASH components of the project in the Somali region, with a focus on keeping activities on track for completion.
  • Lead the NRM and DRM components of the project, coordinating with other sector leads as required.
  • Develop detailed activity, budget plans and monitoring tools for the project, and monitor progress against plans ensuring that objectives and indicators are achieved.
  • Maintain regular contact with the field WASH staff through regular field visits to ensure that the WASH component of the project is carried out promptly, to a high quality and according to the project strategy.
  • Verify and validate WASH project implementation reports (Output tracker, WASH Matrix Activity, Monthly/quarter Reports, ad hoc reports, donors report, etc) from partners
  • Prepare monthly field reports incorporating activity and financial progress for project work across the Somali region.

Coordination & representation

  • Build links with WASH stakeholders to share knowledge, experience and ideas.
  • Represent the project to local communities, government departments, international agencies, local partners and donors as required.
  • Attend relevant meetings as required.
  • Ensure regular communication with Addis Ababa-based WASH Unit technical staff for feedback, updates and guidance as required.

Operations (HR, Logistics and Finance)

  • Identify training needs and ensure that members of the project team receive appropriate training (including mentoring, on-the-job sessions as well as formal trainings).
  • Ensure that high priority purchases are monitored and prioritized by the logistics team.
  • Ensure that tenders are prepared in accordance with the projects logistics requirements.
  • Monitor and ensure spending against plan, and analyze monthly financial reports.


  • BSc in Water Resources Engineering or similar field.
  • Minimum 5 years of WASH (Watsan) experience with an NGO.
  • Previous experience with pastoralist communities essential, preferably in the Somali context.
  • Knowledge and experience in Rangeland Management in dryland environments strongly preferred.
  • Proven practical experience in project implementation and management, particularly engineering activities.
  • Comfortable to work and travel in a remote environment.
  • Ability to work and adapt under pressure.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong organizational and interpersonal skills.
  • Computer literate (word processors, spreadsheet, database, CAD and statistical packages, etc).
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