Chief WASH, P-4, Fixed Term, Lilongwe, Malawi #41111 (Open to Non-Malawian nationals)

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UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

At UNICEF, we are committed, passionate, and proud of what we do. Promoting the rights of every child is not just a job – it is a calling.

UNICEF is a place where careers are built: we offer our staff diverse opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them develop a fulfilling career while delivering on a rewarding mission. We pride ourselves on a culture that helps staff thrive, coupled with an attractive compensation and benefits package.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do at UNICEF.

For every child, access to safe and clean water

The UNICEF Malawi Country Programme (2024-2028) works through a One-UN approach based on the new United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSCDF) Strategic Priorities. 2024-2028).  All four strategic priorities of the UNSCDF2024-2028 hold significance to UNICEF and the priorities identified for children: i) Economic Development, ii) Governance, iii) Human Capital Development, and iv) Climate Change. UNICEF co-leads the further elaboration and results in developing the Human Capital Development strategic priority. The intent of the UNICEF CPD 2024-2028 is fully aligned with these priorities, which are also directly linked to the pillars of Malawi Vision 2063, and the Malawi Implementation Plan (MIP, 2030). To this extent, UNICEF’s strategy for the CPD includes Child Survival and Development (Health, Nutrition and WASH), Education, Learning and Child Protection, Social Policy (Social Protection and Public Finance for Children), Gender Equality, Inclusion and Innovation within a robust evidence-informed environment. These are focus areas under the Human Capital Development Enabler of the MIP (2030). The Country Programme envisages the progressive fulfilment of the rights to survival, development, education, protection and participation of all children, including adolescents, especially the most vulnerable and those at risk of being left behind, in an inclusive, resilient and protective environment. Besides Malawi’s 2063 vision and 2021–2030 implementation plan (MIP), the African Union’s Agenda 2063; UNICEF’s Strategic Plan, Gender Action Plan III, Innovation Strategy; and the SDGs. The country programme includes child survival and development, learning, skills development and protection, and social policy. All components are supported by the programme and operational effectiveness and efficiency imperatives. Risk-informed programming across the humanitarian and development nexus in all three outcome areas will strengthen disaster preparedness, enhance climate adaptation/mitigation and response, and increase the resilience capacity of institutions, communities and young people. Programming aligns with UNICEF Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Transformative Agenda.

Against this backdrop, the Chief of WASH has an exciting leadership role in steering the WASH programme forward. This critical strategic leadership role involves the direct management of WASH programmes that considers the humanitraian-development nexus and the impact of climate change on water and sanitation.

As Chief of WASH, the office will rely on your strong management skills, strategic thinking and experience in system strengthening and the humanitarian-development nexus. You will  work with key stakeholders in Government, Civil Society, Academia and Development Partners to leverage partnerships and resources  to achieve results for children.  Malawi is a dynamic country that will furthermore benefit from your expertise in responding to WASH emergencies such as cholera outbreaks and the impact of climate change, including  floods and droughts and their related impact on social services. Your hands-on experience in climate change will be a great advantage to us.

The WASH Programme in Malawi provides for a non-traditional approach to accelerating water and sanitation for all children in Malawi by combining high-quality WASH strategies with Public Financing for Children, ensuring convergence with Child Protection, Health, Education and Nutrition and leading efforts to systematise and integrate Climate Change programming across all UNICEF programme sectors. As Chief of WASH, you will be at the forefront of these innovations.

How can you make a difference? 

The Malawi Country Office (MCO) offers an exciting and rewarding career opportunity for you to join our dynamic WASH team. Under the overall guidance and supervision of the Deputy Representative Programmes, you will be responsible for managing and supervising all stages of the WASH programme, as well as MCO’s climate agenda, from strategic planning and formulation to the delivery of the WASH outcome and output results. You will manage and ensure that the  WASH and climate outcome and output results are achieved according to plans, budget allocations, results-based-management approaches and methodology, UNICEF’s Strategic Plan, standards of performance and accountability framework. Additionally, you will contribute to and lead WASH and Climate Change discussions within UNICEF, with Development Partners, Civil Society and Government, positioning UNICEF as a thought leader in Climate Change and Children.

This job, therefore, presents a unique and significant opportunity for a qualified, vibrant, motivated and committed person to contribute to the overall achievement of transformative results for children with professional excellence and by delivering on the following key responsibility areas, but not limited to:

  1. Strong and responsible managerial leadership with a focus on teamwork both at section level as well as staff members matrixed to other sections, including nurturing staff morale;
  2. Programme planning, development and implementation through critical strategic and contextualised thinking;
  3. Programme management, monitoring and delivery of results through establishing clear accountability frameworks adaptable to emergency and humanitarian contexts;
  4. Advisory services and technical support to the Government at the national and district level and all other Development Partners, as well as internally, to ensure effective cross-sectoral collaboration;
  5. Advocacy, networking and partnership building, ensuring a responsive and dynamic UNICEF presence on the ground;
  6. Innovation, knowledge management and capacity building to ensure internal and external programme efficiencies and sharing of lessons learned.

You are encouraged to download the detailed Download File Chief WASH Level 4.docx in order to view the full role and its requirements.


To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

Minimum requirements:


  • An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: international development management, civil engineering, sanitary engineering, public health, social sciences, climate change or another relevant technical field deemed appropriate.

Work Experience:

  • A minimum of eight years of professional experience in WASH-related programmes for developing countries is required.
  • Proven experience in effectively leading and managing a technically professional team to deliver results is required.
  • Significant experience in project management is essential. This includes managing budgets, overseeing project timelines, coordinating with various stakeholders (government agencies, NGOs, contractors, communities), and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements is essential.
  • Experience in strategic planning, risk management, and policy development is also required.
  • Experience with water quality testing, environmental impact assessments, and sustainable water management practices is valuable.
  • At least one year of work in humanitarian situations is required.
  • Proven experience in working on climate-related programmes is required.

Technical knowledge and skills:

  • In-depth knowledge and practical experiences with integrated water resource management, climate change and water governance modalities, humanitarian WASH programming – preparedness, response, recovery and coordination mechanisms are required is required.
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of water and sanitation systems, including water treatment processes, wastewater treatment, water distribution systems, sanitation infrastructure, and relevant regulations and standards.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills to effectively liaise with diverse stakeholders, including government officials, community leaders, engineers, scientists, and the general public. This includes the ability to communicate complex technical information in a clear and understandable manner, as well as the ability to negotiate and resolve conflicts diplomatically. .
  •  Strong leadership skills, including the ability to provide vision and direction, motivate and empower team members, foster collaboration, drive results, inspire confidence, and make tough decisions when necessary are essential.
  • Overall, a combination of sound technical expertise, managerial experience, industry knowledge, and interpersonal skills is required to effectively lead programmes and initiatives aimed at improving water quality, ensuring access to safe drinking water, and promoting sanitation and hygiene practices.

Language Requirements: Fluency in English is essential, with strong verbal and written skills.


  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships

(2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness

(3) Drive to achieve results for impact

(4) Innovates and embraces change

(5) Manages ambiguity and complexity

(6) Thinks and acts strategically

(7) Works collaboratively with others 

(8) Nurtures, leads and manages people 

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

The position is not considered an elevated risk role. However, UNICEF reserves the right to conduct further vetting/assessment within the scope of child safeguarding as appropriate.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF does not hire candidates who are married to children (persons under 18). UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and discrimination. UNICEF is committed to promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be canceled.


As per Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

UNICEF’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable female candidates from Latin America and Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, North America, Middle East and North Africa are encouraged to apply.

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

Government employees who are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government positions before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason. 

Visa residence requirements: For National Officer (NO) positions, internal candidates eligible to legally reside and work in a country, independently of UNICEF appointment, are eligible to apply i.e.: UNICEF shall not facilitate the issuance of a visa and working authorization for candidates under consideration for positions at the national officer and general service category.

UNICEF does not charge a processing fee at any stage of its recruitment, selection, and hiring processes (i.e., application stage, interview stage, validation stage, or appointment and training). UNICEF will not ask for applicants’ bank account information.

All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

To effectively contribute to the delivery of results for the children of Malawi, the UNICEF Malawi Country Office operates within a dynamic and results-oriented setting. We foster an environment characterized by creativity, innovation, collaboration, teamwork, a commitment to professional growth, and a safe workspace. Consequently, we are actively searching for individuals who are driven to enact tangible change and dedicated to serving Malawi’s children with resourcefulness, resilience, agility, and a commitment to professional excellence.

Advertised: 14 Jun 2024 South Africa Standard Time
Deadline: 27 Jun 2024 South Africa Standard Time

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