Action Against Hunger: Water System Proposal Development

in Practicums/Internships
April 13th, 2017


Terms of Reference for Student Placement:
Water System Proposal Development

  1. Background

Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia and trails behind on human development indicators (HDI ranking: 138 out of 182 countries). While poverty was reduced significantly, the number of vulnerable people has increased. Most people who escaped poverty did so by a small margin. The loss of only $0,3 per day would cause Cambodia’s poverty rate to double to 40 percent. Despite economic, social and medical progress, the nutritional situation in Cambodia is alarming and has not improved in the last 10 years. 1 out of 28 children will not reach 5 years of age, and nearly 10% of children are dangerously thin (wasted) and 32% are stunted. Only 5% of these wasted children are treated and 76% of children aged 6 to 23 months do not eat properly in accordance with international feeding practices.  Wasting and stunting can have profound, irreversible and intergenerational consequences. Wasted children are at greater risk of death and severe illness due to common childhood infections. As for the millions of stunted children, not only will they be forever stunted, but they are also more likely to have poorer cognitive and educational outcomes into adolescence[1]_[2], hence less able to contribute to their nation’s growth[3].

Factors and pathways leading to undernutrition are diverse, complex, and most often interconnected. The immediate determinants are related to food and nutrient intake and to health. Low access to quality water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are also major underlying determinants. There is strong scientific evidence that links undernutrition to unsafe or inadequate water and hygiene practice[4]. UNICEF estimates that more than 90 percent of death from diarrhea illness (which is one of the top three killers of children under 5 worldwide[5]) in young children can be attributed to unsafe or inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene practices[6].

Worldwide by the end of 2015, 91% of the population used an improved drinking-water source, and 58% enjoyed the convenience and associated health benefits of a piped water supply on premises[7]. While in Cambodia in 2015, only 76 % of households use an improved drinking-water source, and only 7% enjoyed piped water supply on premises in rural area. Except Laos where the situation is quite similar, this coverage is by far the lowest rate in the East Asia Pacific region, with similar coverage rates to countries like Congo or Rwanda or Yemen. Low access to safe water is still a major characteristic of poverty in Cambodia.

Indeed, the economic progress in Cambodia has not yet had a significant and positive impact on the access to safe drinking water at home. Decades of projects focused on conventional water supply-sides approaches (wells – ponds – rain harvest water, with or without subsidies) have shown their limit with evidence that a significant proportion of wells are either not operating or unproductive or even sometimes not safe. This requires new approaches for the establishment of sustainable water supply infrastructure, use and maintenance system. Various sector stakeholders have been exploring alternative approaches in water supply in rural area with highly encouraging results. Piped water supply on premise is one of these. The increase of income associated with an increase of awareness about the importance of safe water at home have created a positive enabling environment to develop piped water system at village/ commune level. The focus on sustainable structure for managing the services provided and a view of households as consumers rather than beneficiaries is what sets piped water system apart from conventional approaches to WASH service provision generally implemented in rural area in Cambodia.

Consequently, Action Against Hunger plans to develop new projects for rural piped water system, taking in consideration the existing best practices, limitations and innovative solutions. In line with the expected outcome, Action Against Hunger is looking for an intern/ student studying an advanced degree in hydrology and with professional experience in water supply and in proposal development to carry out this assignment.


To develop project documents (summary/ Concept note + full proposal) aiming at improving access to piped water supply on premises for rural population in the province of Preah Vihear in Cambodia.

  1. Tasks and responsibilities:

The student will work with the existing team in Cambodia (mainly with the Partnership and Fundraising Coordinator, the Field Coordinator and the Project Managers)

The student will be primarily responsible for:

  • Assessment of the water supply situation in Cambodia
    • Collect and analyze of secondary data and information
    • Identification of pre-selected sites
    • Field assessment in the pre-selected sites, collection and analysis of primary data.
  • Definition of the proposed piped water system(s), draft design and estimate sizing and costing (done with the technical team of the Ministry Rural Development who is in charge of the Household Water supply).
  • Calculations of costs for required for capital expenditures, operation & maintenance, using for example the WASHCost approach.
  • Compile and write the project documents that will be submitted to potential donors
  1. Requirements:
  • Ongoing University Degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in water-related studies is compulsory (hydrology, hydraulics, geophysics, civil engineering, environmental science, etc.)
  • Ability to lead field surveys and technical design for rural water systems with minimum supervision
  • Knowledge and experience in Project Cycle Management highly desirable
  • Knowledge and experience in field assessment highly desirable
  • Experience in developing countries highly desirable
  • Experience in proposal writing is an asset
  1. Person Specification
    • Strong networker, with a cultural and political understanding of the South East Asia context
    • Sound understanding of piped water systems.
    • Good analytical, research and negotiation skills.
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
    • Proven ability to plan and deliver work to agreed deadlines.
    • Good interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective relationships in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity and gender.
    • English: advanced level in speaking and writing. Khmer a plus.
  1. Time frame
  • 2-3 months

    6. Budget

  • Transportation with Cambodia during working hours will be covered by Action Against Hunger.
  • Action Against Hunger will provide decent place for working (desk, chair,..) and stationaries.
  • Action Against Hunger will support the visa
  • The students will have to cover his/her food and accommodation
  • The student will need to cover travel from the US to Cambodia (and back), health insurance and repatriation insurance.

    7. Application

  • Interested candidates should send an updated CV and letter of motivation by email indicating in the subject “Cambodia Water 2017” to

[1] Grantham-McGregor S, Cheung YB, Cueto S, Glewwe P, Richter L,Strupp B. Developmental potential in the first 5 years for children in developing countries. Lancet 2007; 369: 60-70
[2]UNICEF (2013) Improving Child Nutrition, UNICEF: New York
[3]Vogl T. 2012. Height, Skills, and Labor Market Outcomes in Mexico. Department of Economic, Princeton University
[4]Black, Robert E., Cesar G. Victora, Susan P. Walker, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Parul Christian, Mercedes de Onis, Majid Ezzati, Sally Grantham-McGregor, Joanne Katz, Reynaldo Martorell, and Ricardo Uauy. “Maternal and child under nutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries”. The Lancet 2013; 382 (9890): 427-451. Pruss-Ustun et al. 2008
[5]Liu et al. 2012. Global, Regional, and National Causes of Child Mortality: An Updated Systematic Analysis for 2010 with Time Trends since 2000. The Lancet 379, 2151 – 2161.
[6]UNICEF. 2012. Children and Water: Global Statistics. New York: United Nations Children’s Fund. http://www.unicef. org/wash/index_31600.html
[7] WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme on Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) 2015