Urban WASH Advisor

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Urban WASH Advisor, WaterAid Sweden


By 2030 two-thirds of the estimated global human population of eight billion will live in urban areas. Urbanisation has been a major driver of development and poverty reduction in developed countries. At the same time, ineffective planning and investments in infrastructure have rather exacerbated poverty. Urban water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) will need to become a global priority in order to keep up with the growing populations and meet the ambitious SDG targets in increasingly challenging environments.

In response to this, WaterAid’s involvement in urban WASH services has been expanding and is set to grow further over the coming years. Our vision is to see urban authorities able to plan, deliver and monitor inclusive, affordable and sustainable water and sanitation services for all by 2030.  WaterAid seeks to develop contextually appropriate solutions to urban challenges, treating each city or town as a unique case while also disseminating learning and skill sharing with other actors. We therefore seek an experienced Urban WASH Advisor with specialised expertise in the institutional, political and technical aspects of sustainable water and sanitation services in urban areas, and with significant experience in urban water services. 

The role

This role of Urban WASH Advisor will be working in a matrix fashion between different parts of WaterAid globally. The Advisor will be employed by and based in WaterAid Sweden’s office in Stockholm as part of the International Programmes Team, but will also be a member of the Programme Support Unit, in the WaterAid UK International Programmes Department in London, and work with colleagues from across the global organisation, currently present in 34 countries.

International Programme Team, WaterAid Sweden
The International Programme Team in WaterAid Sweden coordinates programmes funded by Swedish institutional donors and foundations, and supports policy and communications work with thematic and programmatic expertise. This entails close collaboration with colleagues in Sweden and across the federation, as well as close communication with donors and other key stakeholders. 

The Urban WASH Advisor will be responsible for coordinating a multi-country Sida-funded International Training Programme on Sustainable Urban Water and Sanitation (ITP SUSWAS), which is being implemented in a consortium partnership in ten countries in Africa and Asia. This involves coordinating the delivery of the programme together with the consortium partner, contributing to the content and design of the programme, supporting WaterAid country programmes in programme implementation, as well as directly mentoring the participating WASH professionals from government, city administrations and utilities.  

The Urban WASH Advisor will also engage the Swedish and Scandinavian donors and other agencies and actors on urban issues. It is anticipated that the Advisor will spend approximately 50% of their time on the work in Sweden, but that this work will be closely aligned with the work undertaken with the WaterAid UK Programme Support Unit. The role will report to the Head of the International Programmes, and work closely with program, policy and communications colleagues in WaterAid Sweden. 

Programme Support Unit, WaterAid UK
The Programme Support Unit (PSU) works directly with the four WaterAid UK Regional Teams (West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa and South Asia), staff from Country Programmes, as well as the Policy and Campaigns Department and Communications and Fundraising departments, ensuring joined up approaches and messaging. Furthermore, the team liaises with other members of the WaterAid International federation (Australia, America, Canada, India, Sweden and Japan), drawing on our global experience and expertise and providing cross member support as necessary. 

The Urban WASH Advisor will be part of the quality programme team within PSU, which consists of specialists covering the areas of water, sanitation, hygiene behaviour change, urban WASH, sector monitoring, partnership and equality, inclusion and rights. The team has developed a set of quality standards with supporting guidelines in all of these areas, and supports country programmes to apply these standards through a combination of direct support, communities of practice, training, and good practice guidelines. Together with the colleagues from Policy team, our specialists also provide support to our fundraising teams in engaging and influencing donors and other development agencies and performing a key role in the development of programme proposals. 

Under the leadership of the Senior WASH Manager – Urban, the Advisor will provide thematic advice on urban and small town WASH, and in particular water services, on the integration of non-WASH sector in a perspective of a city wide planning, to ensure WaterAid’s interventions are relevant, effective, and add value in the countries where we work and to the global WASH professional community. The Advisor will support country programmes in develop effective Urban WASH programmes, and support the development and promotion of best practice guidance on urban WASH and, when called on, develop and manage programmes of research and capacity development as well as facilitate learning from within WaterAid and externally to build on and improve our practice and policy interventions. It is anticipated that the Advisor will spend approximately 50% their time on the work with PSU. 


  • Coordinate and support WaterAid’s delivery of the ITP programme on Sustainable Urban WASH; and participate in strategic planning, programme development, and reporting together with the consortium partner.
  • Provide technical expertise to the programme and coach participants from government, city administrations and utilities in their capacity building and in the development of their respective organisations.
  • Support donor and other sector agency engagement and influencing particularly in Sweden with the aim to raise funds for Urban WASH sector strengthening programmes, drawing on expertise and resources as needed from across WaterAid globally.
  • Play a key technical role in the development of impactful WASH programmes and grant proposals, ensuring these meet or organisation goals and standards and align with our countries’ strategies and build on work already underway.
  • Liaise with the Urban Sanitation Advisor for a coherent delivery of the objectives of the Urban team.
  • Support the ongoing Water Operator Partnership and manage WaterAid relationship with GWOPA.
  • Support the ongoing development (and their roll out) of frameworks, strategies, policies and guidelines that guide WaterAid’s policy and practice interventions to deliver sustainable WASH services in urban and small town contexts, with a focus on reaching poor and marginalised people and groups.
  • In conjunction with other PSU and regional staff, provide advisory support, mentoring and capacity development to embed standards and commitments in Country Programmes, particularly with respect to water services.
  • Support collaborative research and innovation projects led by country programmes on urban WASH. 
  • Support and guide the continuous analysis, adaptation and documentation of key WaterAid urban WASH experiences for learning and analysis, to ensure experiences lead to scalable and sustainable interventions and are shared within WaterAid and within key external communities and networks.  
  • Support and advise policy, campaigns, fundraising and communications teams as needed in relation to technical issues and the development of donor relations and high quality grant proposals.
  • Represent WaterAid in strategic collaborations to further developments in urban WASH and to ensure WaterAid is benefitting from knowledge shared by other organisations, with a particular focus on sector strengthening for sustainable services, the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, the development of utilities and the role of the private sector in public private partnerships. 
  • Collaborate closely with other members of the quality programme team to make sure relevant linkages are made between the urban work and the other thematic areas. All members of PSU are expected to contribute to and champion the quality programme standards that cut across all the thematic areas. 

Person specification


  • Substantial experience (10-15 years) of urban WASH programmes in low-income countries, with a particular emphasis on water services.
  • Substantial knowledge of water utilities in developing countries.
  • Knowledge on various capacity building approach in the water sector.
  • Strong demonstrated knowledge and expertise of urban WASH issues, particularly appropriate urban technical options, institutional and utility issues, the regulatory environment, urban planning and urban WASH financing.
  • Proven influencing skills and the ability to clearly articulate complex urban WASH issues to both non-technical and technical audiences.  This should be matched with strong programmes development and writing skills.
  • Proven expertise in advisory support, collaboration and team-working.  Experience of advising and motivating staff across a diverse organisation.
  • Proven track record of effectively facilitating learning internally and externally at the organizational level and developing capacity within an organisation in an empowering way.
  • Ability to work effectively with a range of people, organisations and cultures and at all levels. 
  • Postgraduate degree or equivalent professional qualification in a subject of close relevance to urban WASH.
  • Availability to undertake substantial international travel (up to 25%).
  • Commitment to WaterAid’s values and a working style that reflects these.
  • Experience in driving partnerships and consortiums.
  • Proficiency in English and working knowledge in Swedish. 
  • Eligible to work in Sweden.


  • Experience of urban WASH across several countries and across the government, utility and international development sectors.
  • Experience in working under pressure (with short deliverables deadline).
  • Experience in mentoring and coaching.
  • Experience of operating in a global organisation.
  • Chartered membership of a professional institution related to the WASH sector.
  • Working knowledge of two or more of WaterAid’s working languages (French, Portuguese and Spanish).
  • Specialist IT skills.

What WaterAid can offer

We can offer an exciting and challenging role within a dynamic organisation that makes a difference. You will be based at WaterAid Sweden, a growing and vibrant organisation closely linked with global colleagues from the other 34 countries where WaterAid work. This is a 2-year contract, but with a strong possibility of becoming a permanent position. Join us in making sure everyone everywhere have clean water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030 - then we will have to find other jobs! 


Please send your CV and a personal letter to [email protected] now, as we are conducting interviews on a rolling basis. Feel free to email any questions regarding the position to [email protected] or contact Hannah Morris, Head of International Programmes, on Tel 073 661 22 74.

We look forward to receiving your application!