Zimbabwe nationals: Study on Gender Based Violence risks/experiences related to limited access to WASH

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Background and Rationale

Access to clean portable water and sanitation (SDG 6) is a fundamental and key foundational right, enabling communities to access a host of other rights. It is central to the realization of such rights as quality education (SDG 4), good health and well-being (SDG 3), gender equality (SDG 5) and enabling decent work and economic growth (SDG 8). However, due to challenges in infrastructure, investment and planning, every year millions of people in the world— most of them children — die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.  In Africa, women spend roughly 200 hours a day fetching water, travelling long distances and back in search of water. The health impacts of these challenges have been researched. Due to the distances walked carrying heavy cans of water on their heads or back, women suffer from long term back problems, micro-nutrient deficiencies due to high calorific expenditure among other problems (Sorenson, Morssink, & Campos, 2011). In Zimbabwe, evidence has linked lack of access to clean water and sanitation to poor outcomes for children. For instance, higher stunting rates (stunted and severely stunted) were observed among children in households without access to improved water and sanitation (MICS, 2014). Similarly, with experiences elsewhere in Africa, fetching water for household use remains an activity that is reserved for women. MICS evidence in 2014 showed that collection of water requires a substantial amount of time, with almost 30% of total households and 56% of households in the poorest wealth quintile spending more than 30 minutes collecting water from an improved or unimproved source.

While access to water has been a problem predominantly faced by rural communities, in the last decade, with the mounting socio-economic challenges faced by the country, local authorities have faced significant challenges in fulfilling their water and sanitation provision mandate.  This has resulted in the recurrent outbreak of diseases including typhoid and cholera including the 2018/19 cholera outbreak with over 10,000 cases with over 90% of these in Harare.

As the economic challenges have deepened, local authorities have been hard hit and have reported being unable to secure the chemicals needed to treat and deliver water to households in urban areas. Coupled with on-going drought conditions, boreholes are under pressure as evidenced by long queues at these water sources in urban areas.

Gendered roles disproportionately burden women and girls with the responsibility of fetching water and expose women to the risks of sexual and gender-based violence. The farther away from home a water source or toilet is from home the higher the risks of sexual violence that women and girls are exposed to[1].

There is need for rapid a study to assess the impact that lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation are having on women and girls, men and boys. In addition, there is need to specifically assess the sexual and gender-based violence aspects of the lack of water and sanitation faced by communities, in particular, women and girls.

Purpose and Objectives of Qualitative study

Overall purpose

This assignment is aimed at assessing the lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation on women and children in urban communities in Zimbabwe, focusing on gender and SGBV.

Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of the assignment are to:

  • Identify the gendered dynamics linked to water and sanitation needs, roles and responsibilities for women and men, boys and girls in select urban areas in Zimbabwe (incl. women and girls’ safety and mobility; resources and decision-making; access to information, knowledge and technology; time burden and reproductive roles and responsibilities; sex and gender roles and expectations and ideas of masculinity and femininity)
  • Explore the impact of lack of access to water on women and men; boys and girls (school; work; recreation; rest), right to dignity and the coping mechanisms being adopted. Assess the sexual and gender-based risks and vulnerabilities associated with the limited access to clean water and adequate sanitation
  • Investigate the sexual exploitation and abuse related risks and vulnerabilities for communities (men and women; boys and girls) in areas affected by limited access to water and adequate sanitation.
  • Conduct a gender and equity assessment of existing WASH services and facilities (wealth; age; gender; disability)
  • Provide key recommendations to inform action, policy, planning and appropriately designed WASH programmes.

Methodology and Scope Work

This is a qualitative study.  Data collection methods include desk review of existing data sources on gender, SGBV, PSEA and equity aspects of WASH interventions,  research, evaluations, relevant national laws and policies, surveys or practices related to gender, SGBV and PSEA in WASH, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with different stakeholders to understand their perceptions and understanding go the issues under study, for example girls for their ‘risk identification and management/coping strategies if any; and boys in relation to their perceptions, and key informant interviews with teachers and communities.  Other methods, including observation should be applied as needed.

Desk Review: In addition to reviewing published and grey literature, researchers will gather and review country-specific data, policies, previous interventions, current initiatives and program reports. They will identify what practices exist in relation to the integration of gender, SGBV/PSEA and equity concerns in WASH and what gaps remain. Interviews with key stakeholders will complement the review. 

Field Data Collection: In-depth interviews will be carried out with women and men; boys and girls including those with disabilities, to better understand their lived realities and experiences of water scarcity and lack of adequate sanitation. These interviews will also seek to elicit information on the participation and leadership of women in different community initiatives such as participation in water point committees; local authority platforms on service provision etc, if any exist. Focus group discussions will be held to understand social and cultural norms associated with gender roles, sexual and gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse related to access to clean water and adequate sanitation.  It will be important to engage men and boys, and community leaders to understand the attitudes of boys and men also to these issues. Key-informant interviews will be conducted with key stakeholders in the selected communities including; water vendors, affected women and men; boys and girls; teachers; nurses; environmental health technicians, local authority representatives and any local and international non-governmental organisations working in the selected areas whether focusing on WASH or gender and SGBV/PSEA.

Key Research Questions

  • What is the impact of limited/lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation on women and men; boys and girls with or without disabilities including impacts on school attendance and participation; income generation/employment; child care; rest, play etc? (Including specific issues facing adolescent boys and girls in the current WASH challenges)
  • What are the coping mechanisms that households are adopting to respond to the challenges posed by lack of water and adequate sanitation and are there any safety risks associated with these coping mechanisms?
  • Are there effective mechanisms for redress and service provision available and accessible to communities for men and women, boys and girls, and is there information on available services (SGBV reporting, health, legal/justice) for redress?
  • Are there potential economic and livelihoods options to addressing the challenges?
  • Are existing WASH interventions and programmes in the target communities effectively addressing gender, SGBV and SEA, (including, availability and visibility of SGBV and PSEA information and partner capacity to integrate SGBV and PSEA)?
  • What is the level of participation and leadership of women and men; boys and girls in managing WASH facilities and services (repair; maintenance; cleaning; water collection; decision making on management arrangements and any financial contributions levied)
  • What legislation, policies, strategies, guidelines exist on integrating gender and SGBV in WASH in Zimbabwe and are there any gaps in this legislative and policy framework?

These research questions can be further expanded and refined by the consultant in consultation with the UNICEF team.

Scope of Study

  1. Major Cities – Harare Metro, Chitungwiza, Gweru
  2. Small Town – Chipinge, Chegutu, Gwanda

Management of the Research/Reporting Requirements:

The study will be directly managed by the UNICEF Gender and Rights Specialist and the WASH M& E Specialist.  

Ethical Considerations

Consultant must familiarise themselves and comply with global and local PSEA (Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse) guidelines and standards. Consultation with children during the evaluation process will be underpinned by ethical principles enshrined in UNICEF’s Evaluation Technical Note “Children Participating in Research, Monitoring and Evaluation”, April 2002.  The bidder will be responsible for securing formal Ethical clearance for this research. The Consultants will be expected to familiarize themselves with and adhere to UNCIEF standards and guidelines on Ethics in Research. These are found at- https://www.unicef.org/supply/files/ATTACHMENT_IV-UNICEF_Procedure_for_Ethical_Standards.PDF

Expected background and Experience

The consultant should have the following qualifications and skills:

  • Master’s degree in relevant fields (Monitoring and Evaluation, Operational Research, Development studies, Gender, Law);
  • At least seven years of proven experience in conducting qualitative research in SGBV/PSEA, water, sanitation and hygiene
  • Expertise in gender equality programming, gender analysis required,
  • Experience in conducting qualitative quantitative research
  • Fluency in English and in (at least) one local language is required;
  • Ability to write clearly and concisely in English.

General Conditions: Procedures and Logistics

The consultant is expected to work from their own premises, with official travel to target urban centers when necessary.

Application Procedure

If you meet the entry qualifications and you are interested and available to undertake the consultancy assignment, please submit your application online, upload your cover letter, highest academic qualification, CV, technical and an all-inclusive financial proposal detailing your professional fees and other miscellaneous consultancy costs for delivering the assignment.

The selection process will be competitive.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

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 also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

[1] House, Sarah, Suzanne Ferron, Marni Sommer and Sue Cavill (2014) Violence, Gender & WASH: A Practitioner’s Toolkit – Making water, sanitation and hygiene safer through improved programming and services. London, UK

Opening Date Sun Nov 17 2019 02:00:00 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time) South Africa Standard Time
Closing Date Sun Dec 01 2019 16:55:00 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time)