RWSN/ REACH consultancy opportunities: your questions answered

On 30.11.2020 RWSN advertised two consultancies in partnership with the University of Oxford under the REACH programme (deadline for applications: 8th January 2020). The Terms of Reference for the consultancies are below:

We have received a number of questions in relation to these consultancies which we would like to respond here, to so that all applicants can refer to them.

  1. Q: In the Terms of Reference, the essential qualification and age limit is not mentioned. Please inform us so that we know the eligibility criteria.

A: There are no essential (university) qualifications or age limit for these positions. All essential requirements are detailed in the ToRs.

2. Q: Kindly send to me necessary forms or information to enable me apply

A: You can download details via  or here:

3. Q: Is the offered position as “Researcher – Global Diagnostic on Rural Water Services” intended for one person? Or otherwise, could an organisation like the one I am part of apply?

A: Our thinking is that this is better suited to an individual, who can focus on the task rather than it being fragmented across a team. However, we are open to more creative solutions.

4. Q: I am interested in submitting an application to one of the consultancy opportunities for the global diagnostic of rural water service providers under the REACH programme. Now before I go any further I would like to get a better understanding of the programme and this assignment. By rural water service providers, do you mean (a) community members that have been trained to repair hand pumps (b) water utility companies, public and/ or private and/ or (c) rural water supply and sanitation units under the district or local authority?

A. The first point we need to clarify is that the proposed consultancy for the diagnostic of rural water supply providers is global in nature, and that arrangements will likely differ depending on the countries that are chosen for the study. For RWS providers to be considered, there would need to be some data related to basic operational and financial performance available to enable comparison between rural water service providers within and between countries. This would therefore  probably mean that community members could not be considered, but rather (public and/or private) service providers with adequate data and scope of operations. This could mean for instance in the rural water supply and sanitation units under the district or local authority, or water utilities if they operate in rural areas. One of the first tasks under the consultancy will be to propose a typology of service providers (see activity 2 in the ToRs) that would enable us to determine exactly who/ which type of organisations we should target with the diagnostic.

5. Q: I have a question on one requirement in the desired experience section. In the sentence, “Experience in advanced data analytics, mapping and modelling, including GIS”: 1. Is there a specific model that RWSN would like the prospective consultant to use or can the  prospective consultant select a model of their choice? 2. Are there parameters that RWSN would like the prospective consultant to use or can the prospective consultant select parameters they think would be informative to the study? 

A. 1.       There is no specific software that we would recommend to use for data analytics, mapping and modelling, and GIS but we would prefer that the consultant uses open-source software (e.g. QGIS) as we will not support the costs related to licenses for private software.

2.       We would recommend that the prospective consultant thinks about potential parameters for data analytics, mapping and modelling as part of his/her proposal.

6. Q. Could you please clarify the following:

  1. Geographic scope  – the TOR and clarifications point to a global study, but the TOR highlights REACH’s work in Africa and Asia. Is the study likely to focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, or is the intention to gather examples of RWS providers from a much wider group of countries (including those in Eastern Europe given the reference to that consultancy).
  2. Survey scope – can you clarify what the scope of the surveys is likely to be? Our assumption is that this would be online surveys of rural water service providers only (e.g. no household surveys, or attempting to survey service users). Is this correct?
  3. Definition of advanced analytics – Do you have any examples of what you mean by ‘advanced analytics’? It may be challenging to get a high number of responses and in-depth answers to an online survey (particularly as the number of eligible RWS is unknown) which would limit the complexity of any analysis and/or modelling that would be possible.
  4. Intensity of inputs – an earlier clarification was that the thinking of RWSN/REACH was this consultancy was best suited to an individual. Given that, the timeline, the scope of the project, and the budget available to you envisage that this will be (more or less) a full time role?


  1. The intention is to gather examples of RWS from a wide group of countries/ geographies, not restricted to SSA and South Asia.  
  2. The survey is intended to be conducted remotely / online (no household or service user survey). The Marketing consultant will support this exercise to ensure that there is a wide variety of RWS providers who respond to the survey; responsibility for data collection and analysis remains with the diagnostic Consultant.
  3. Advanced analytics: as you said this will depend on the quality of data collection, which is a risk we are hoping to mitigate through the Marketing consultant. For your proposal you could perhaps suggest what you might be able to do given ideal/ less than ideal data.
  4. Intensity of inputs: the intensity of outputs for this consultancy will depend on the level of experience of the consultant/ team.

We will continue answering your questions here as they come along. Any questions can be addressed to ruralwater[at]skat[dot]ch.

(Photo credit: REACH)

Author: RWSN Secretariat

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