Call for Tender – Study for the Scale-Up of the WASH Severity Classification 

Call for Tender – Study for the Scale-Up of the WASH Severity Classification


Background and rationale:
The absence of a recognized and standardized framework to transform complex data into actionable information has become a major bottleneck in decision-making processes for the WASH sector. This has prevented the sector from effectively delivering evidence-based planning, response prioritization, optimal resource allocation, and advocacy. Although progress has been made in the availability of WASH data, analysis of this data is currently conducted on an ad-hoc basis, with limited consensus on key findings and follow-up actions by key stakeholders.

The development of the WASH Severity Classification (WSC) system, at the request of Global WASH Cluster (GWC) partners and initiated by the GWC’s Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) provides the solution. UNICEF and the GWC, in partnership with REACH, are spearheading this effort. The WSC is part of the Road Map 2020 – 2025 strategy for the humanitarian WASH sector.

The WSC is a set of tools and protocols to classify the severity and drivers of WASH needs and vulnerabilities based on established standards. It is the WASH sector’s equivalent of the ‘IPC system’ used by the Food Security sector, which uses a five-phase approach to quantify the number of people in need by severity level, while assessing likely situational changes and monitoring key risk factors. The WSC combines an array of data from different sources with contextual expertise of practitioners on the ground to guide the process. The WSC is a multi-dimensional approach which centers on integrated analysis of WASH factors and cross-cutting issues. This holistic view can also address a diverse typology of crises, from public health emergencies, such as COVID-19, to natural disasters, including droughts and floods.

The aim is for the WSC to serve as a system-wide benchmark, paving the way for global recognition. This “gamechanging” approach provides the WASH sector with the agility to predict and respond to WASH crises, through robust needs monitoring and early warning systems. By identifying a range of risks and vulnerabilities, the WSC will achieve greater benefits and maximize results, driving decision-making for investment and mitigating emerging crises for the entire humanitarian community.

The purpose of this consultancy is to conduct a feasibility study to inform the institutional set-up for the WSC. The study should outline options and key recommendations on a broad range of aspects related to the operational model for the WSC, including the governance structure and institutional hosting arrangements (both at country and global levels, as well as for countries with formal humanitarian coordination mechanism versus countries without it). The study should draw upon lessons learned from other similar initiatives, such as, JMP, IPC, SMART, FEWS NET.

The report will be based both on a desk review and interviews with key informants. The consultant (or team of consultants) will review relevant material from similar inter-agency initiatives and conduct at least 25 in-depth interviews with key informants, including WSC Steering Committee members, and other global, regional and country stakeholders, including UN agencies, NGOs, donors, as well as similar initiatives, such as JMP, IPC, SMART, FEWS NET.

The consultant(s) will report to the WSC Development Team led by REACH under the strategic oversight and guidance of the WSC Steering Committee. The WSC Development Team will provide daily oversight and support to the consultant throughout the process and involve the WSC Steering Committee at key stages of the consultancy (the review of key milestones, including the approval of the evaluation’s methodology and tools, as well as the final outputs).

Excepted results:
The consultancy will deliver a preliminary findings presentation and the full report of around 20 pages (without annexes), which will review systems in place for similar inter-agency initiatives and formulate options and key recommendations for the WSC on the following topics:

  • Operational model
  • Institutional hosting arrangements
  • Governance structure
  • Country inter-face and technical support platform
  • Coordination and synergy with other inter-sector initiatives
  • Administrative, human and logistical support requirements
  • Funding requirements and financial viability/sustainability

Duty Station:
Remote based with a potential for a three-day visit to IMPACT office in Geneva for meeting with key partners (e.g. UNICEF, GWC etc.). Accommodation and travel arrangements while the consultant is in Geneva should be budgeted in the financial proposal. IMPACT will not be able to facilitate logistics arrangements for the visit in Geneva.

General Expectations

  • 1. All work must be conducted within the framework of IMPACT’s global code of conduct
  • 2. Informed consent must be sought and received from all study participants
  • 3. All deliverables will remain the property of UNICEF, GWC and IMPACT and cannot be shared publicly without their consent


  • Expected start date: 15 February 2021
  • Expected end date: 15 May 2021

Key competences, technical background, and experience required

  • An advanced university degree (Masters’ or equivalent degree) in economics or social science.
  • At least 15 years of humanitarian experience, including at top management level within humanitarian donors, UN agencies and NGOs.
  • Familiarity with the IPC and other relevant inter-agency initiatives with complex governance systems.
  • In depth understanding of latest developments and trends shaping the humanitarian sector, including the Grand Bargain.
  • Understanding of humanitarian coordination, the cluster system and the Humanitarian Program Cycle.
  • Familiarity with assessment, analysis, monitoring and evaluation in the humanitarian sector.
  • Demonstrated excellent analytic, investigative, communication and writing skills.
  • Proficiency in English is required; a second UN language preferably French or Spanish is desirable.

Application Procedure
Interested candidates should submit their offer to no later than 11:59 pm, 31/01/2021, mentioning “T/98AJY/2F3/FCS/HQ/21-01-2021/001” in the subject of the email.

All applications should include the list of documents below, a financial offer, a technical offer in direct response to the ToRs, CVs and description of past experiences, as well as written samples:

  • PRO-05 – Instructions to Bidders
  • PRO-05.1 – Tender Advertisement Form
  • PRO 06 – Offer Form Consultancy
  • PRO-06.1 – Bidders Questionnaire
  • PRO-06.2 – Bidders Ethical Declaration
  • PRO-06.3 – Bidders Checklist

Applications will be assessed according to the following selection criteria:

  • Relevance of the technical offer, in relation to these ToRs
  • Relevance of financial offer
  • Relevance of past experience in conducting similar exercises (writing samples to be provided)
  • Availability at requested dates

Shortlisted applicants will then be required to undertake an interview process (skype/teleconference). The WSC Steering Committee will be consulted on the final selection of the consultant(s).

Any missing document will lead to the direct disqualification of the applicant. Delayed applications will be automatically rejected.

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