Careers at UNICEF

Careers at UNICEF


Consultant - for PRIs/ communities leading the O&M management of rural water supply systems in Bihar

Location: Patna, Bihar

Duration: 15th October, 2013 – 14 December, 2013

Closing Date: 10 October 2014


·        Government of Bihar (GoB) is committed to provide access to Safe water to all the people of the State. Bihar is endowed with rich resources in terms of availability of groundwater. Nearly 95% of Bihar’s rural households access water from safe sources[1] Dispersed sources[2] are the main source of drinking water for large proportion (96%) of rural households. Within this, nearly 48% are located on the household premises, an indication of own arrangements (/investments) by the households (Census, 2011).  

·        The State is confronted with variety of challenges related to quality of groundwater, which is the main source of drinking water. Groundwater has been found to be contaminated with pollutants like Arsenic, Iron and Fluoride, which has resulted in serious concern about water quality in Bihar. Out of 38 districts, 13 districts are affected with Arsenic, 11 districts are affected with Fluoride and 9 districts are affected with Iron. Apart from this, 17 districts are water stress areas. Moreover, there are also issues of ensuring access to quality services and sustainability of rural water supplies.

·        More than 43% water sources are exposed to high risk of microbial contamination (UNICEF, 2010). A large proportion of the households depend on own arrangements in the form of hand-pumps, tube-wells and covered/ uncovered wells. These households may not be receiving any technical guidance on water safety aspects. There is an apparent need for their education on sanitary surveillance of their own sources to avoid microbial contamination.

·        Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has been entrusted with the responsibility for creation of rural water supply systems. PHED has installed hand pumps, implemented mini piped water supply schemes and single village piped water supply schemes with provision of suitable water treatment. Solar energy based systems have been installed in locations facing shortage / non-availability of electricity.

Proper upkeep and maintenance of the Rural Water Supply (RWS) systems are most critical to ensure sustainable service delivery. In line with the 73rd Constitutional Amendment and as per the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) guidelines, the ownership and responsibility for O&M management of RWS systems rests with the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). However, PHED currently maintains the piped water supply schemes (or do they maintain all schemes?), considering the past experience of poor upkeep of the handed over schemes by the PRIs.

·        The Planning Commission of the Government of India has identified the problems around the operation and maintenance. The approach paper towards the 12th Plan states: Drinking water supply schemes have suffered from poor upkeep. Responsibility for operation and maintenance of water supply schemes lies with the PRIs but in many states this responsibility is poorly defined and not supported by transfer of adequate funds and trained manpower to the PRIs.

PRIs and Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSCs) are not willing to take over completed schemes in which they were not involved at the planning and implementation stages. Inadequate water resource investigation, improper design, poor construction, substandard materials and workmanship and lack of preventive maintenance also lead to rapid deterioration of water supply schemes.

·        This ToR meets the programmatic requirements agreed in the annual rolling work plan 2013 for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). The assignment will review the challenges and provide recommendation for both quality affected and non-affected areas to receive sustainable rural water service delivery. The outputs of the assignment would be utilized to build up the capacity of the PHED staff and PRIs as per recommended strategy.

·        There are no surveys-studies done in the recent past on PRI/ community involvement in O&M of rural water service delivery in Bihar. Although, information in respect to other state and the state of Bihar, is available at various places. UNICEF Bihar has already made an effort to compiled and analysed most of the state specific information to understand trends on key indicators at state and district level, wherever possible. A holistic review of the same is required to capture main bottlenecks, and plausible actions, both at state and district level.


·        Services of an expert are envisaged for undertaking the assignment. It is expected that the available information will be collated, analysed and compared with various existing models and best practices in the country and elsewhere. This would be supported by financial analysis, field observations and discussions with key stakeholders to understand their priorities and perspectives. The strategy shall capture main bottlenecks and suggest plausible actions for promoting greater involvement of PRIs in the O&M management of rural water supply service delivery.

Purpose of Assignment

The purpose of the assignment is to improve rural drinking water service delivery through greater involvement of PRIs/ rural communities in management of water supply systems.


The key objective of the assignment is to develop a contextualised strategy for promoting involvement and ownership of the PRIs/ communities in the O&M management of rural water supply systems in Bihar.

Assignment Scope and Methodology

An indicative scope of the assignment is defined below; the consultant may suggest additional aspects as may be required for proper completion.

·     Review the GOB policies and programmes relating to rural water supply service delivery; role of PRIs in planning, implementation and O&M management of rural water supplies.

·     Assess the adequacy and appropriateness of institutional arrangements including roles and responsibilities of various agencies/ PRIs; staff skills and capacities to promote consumer oriented rural water service delivery through PRIs.   

·     Review the costs and financing of capital and O&M expenditure including assessment of critical gaps that may need to be bridged to ensure sustainable rural water supply services.

·     Review select rural water supply schemes, public sources to assess community participation in planning, implementation, current O&M management including financing, supply of spares, tool kits, availability of trained human resources and sanitary surveillance and mitigation measures.

·     Considering that a substantial households depend on own source of water, review the support received by households to reduce bacteriological contamination risk through improved sanitary surveillance. 

·     A detailed review of finances including allocation, expenditure for operation and maintenance of rural water supply systems; decision making role and powers of Panchayats. Assess realistic funding requirements to ensure sustainable service.

·     Review best practices within the State and elsewhere to understand the potential for adaptation/ scale up.

Undertake stakeholder consultation/ interviews- community/ PRIs/ implementers, decision makers/ development partners


Major Tasks

The following major tasks will need to be accomplished:


1.      Literature Review: The consultant is expected to collect relevant secondary literature including policy, programme guidelines and strategies, study/ assessment reports, best practice examples within country and elsewhere, budget and expenditures, information relating to decentralisation and devolution to the PRIs and review the same.

2.      Data collection instruments: Develop checklists and collect qualitative information through stakeholder consultations, discussions/ interviews with decision makers, PRIs and development partners to understand issues, challenges and priorities.

3.      Consultation: Undertake in-depth qualitative review of select schemes including current O&M management arrangements, financing, supplies of spares, assessment of HR availability, skills and capacity gaps, through field observations, discussions with districts teams and focus group discussions.

4.      Undertake detailed institutional assessment including availability and capacities of HR at all levels.

5.      Analysis and reporting: Undertake analysis of literature, data, and information collected through consultations, discussions and field observations and compile a report.

6.      Final report/ documents: Prepare a study report detailing methodology, literature review and analysis of field findings and recommendations. Develop a strategy note outlining key gaps and recommendations to promote greater involvement of PRIs in operation and maintenance management of rural water supplies. Prepare a detailed presentation on study as well as key elements of strategy. Prior to finalisation of the reports/ documents, submit draft, organise consultation and collect feedback from the PHED and revise the reports based on the inputs received

Duty Station

The consultant can be based anywhere in India during the period of secondary research. But, would be required to visit Bihar for consultations, discussions with PHED/ UNICEF, field visits and interactions with PRIs/ community and presentations as necessary. 

Deliverables :


Key Tasks




- Discussion with PHED, UNICEF government officials on the assignment scope, objectives, key questions and expectations. 

- Collection of secondary literature

- Development of data collection of instruments

An inception report detailing assignment scope, methodology, listing of literature, stakeholder identification, data collection instruments, analysis plan and indicative structure of the report and strategy note

(Due: beginning of week 1)


- Literature review, identification of best practices elsewhere and finalisation of study instruments

- Field visit plan in consultation with PHED, UNICEF and development partners

- Detailed field visit plan

(Due: beginning of week 3)


- Key informant interviews at state, district, block and GP levels

- Field visit to select districts, GPs, discussion with district officials, PRIs other stakeholder and community 

Interim progress report: a brief report outlining broad overview/ initial impressions based field observation.

(Due: end of week 4) 


- Analysis of field findings, draft study report and strategy note and presentation

- Draft report and strategy sharing and consultation with senior officials of PHED

- Draft Study report and strategy note as per the outline agreed during inception phase

- PowerPoint Presentation detailing field findings analysis and recommendations

- Sharing of findings at a consultation workshop and seek feedback

(Due: end of week 6)


 - Feedback on the draft from UNICEF and PHED

- Modified version of draft Strategy Note for final review and feedback

(Due: end of week 7)


- Incorporate suggestions from PHED, UNICEF and feedback received at the consultation and finalising the report as well as presentation

- Final study report: revised on the basis of feedback

- Final strategy note

- PowerPoint presentation

(Due: end of week 8)


Qualifications & Experience required


        Post graduate in Management/ Social Development/ Civil Engineering with a minimum of 15 years of experience in social sector including working with government structures,

        Excellent understanding of national/ state programmes policies and operating environment,

        Strong research and analytical skills including consultations,

        Experience in decentralised governance and consumer oriented public service delivery,

        Experience in conceptualisation, developing strategy for rural water supplies is an asset,

        Excellent written as well as verbal communication skills in English as well as Hindi,

        Previous work experience in Bihar and neighbouring states is an asset. 

Application Procedures

(1)        Qualified female/male candidates are requested to please indicate their ability and availability to undertake the terms of reference above.

(2)        Your application should be sent to by COB 10th October 2013 with subject line "Consultancy for Development of Advocacy Folder & Factsheets, Orissa" in separate files (not to exceed a total size of 4 MB per email):

a)         A cover letter, CV and P11 form (which can be downloaded from our website at

b)         A financial proposal indicating deliverable based fee as per template attached.  In case the candidate is from outside Bihar, the fee to include his/her accommodation/ lodging and travel costs for face to face meetings with UNICEF Bihar Office.

Download Financial Proposal

(3)       The financial proposals of only those candidates, who are found technically responsive, will be opened.

(4)        Please note, offers without financial proposal will not be considered.

(5)        Only short-listed candidates will be called for test/interview (if applicable).  Any attempt to unduly influence UNICEF’s selection process will lead to automatic disqualification of the applicant.

(6)        Joint applications of two or more individuals are not accepted.

[1] Treated water through tap, covered well, hand-pump and tube well

[2] Covered well, Uncovered well, hand-pump and tube well



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