Sanitation Business Model for Northern Region

UN Children's Fund, Malawi

Skill Required:, Finance and Accounts
Preferred Experience: 
Above 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
13th December, 2019

Job Description

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.


Low access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are major contributors to the disease burden in Malawi. Only 10% of Malawians wash their hands with soap. Inadequate access to sanitation services (42%) and water (67%)[1] contribute to high mortality and morbidity. Children in Malawi suffer an average of four to five debilitating bouts of diarrhea per year, which cause and exacerbate malnutrition, and result in long-term growth stunting. Safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene are fundamental to an improved standard of living, including the protection of health and the environment, improved educational outcomes, greater convenience and dignity.

Although many households have access to basic drinking water services, the distribution among districts and between urban and rural areas show disparities. Improved drinking water sources are more common in urban areas at 87% compared to 63% in rural areas. In rural areas, 37% of households spend 30 minutes or more to obtain their drinking water in comparison to 13% in urban areas. Functionality is also a challenge, with only two-thirds of the water points nationwide functional[2]. Women and children bear the brunt of inadequate access to water services as they are often charged with collecting water for their household. Improving access to water significantly increases time savings for women and in turn their productivity.

Malawi loses about USD 57 million each year, or 1.1% of national GDP, due to health and productivity losses[3]. Although much progress has been made in decreasing Open Defecation (the “OD”), 6% of the population continue with this practice[4]. Sanitation has also an issue of equity in Malawi. 7% of the households in rural areas practice OD while in urban areas, only 1% do so[5]. Behaviour change is one of the major challenges affecting the ownership and use of sanitation hygiene facilities. Only 10% of households in Malawi have hand-washing facilities with soap[6].


This scoping study is meant to inform the development of a project between UNICEF, the European Investment Bank and the NRWB on FSM and sanitation services.

Water Boards in Malawi, such as the Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) are committed to sanitation actions for both municipal centers and peri-urban/rural areas. Water Boards acknowledge that for such actions close cooperation with municipalities and local authorities is required.

The NRWB received a grant from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (ABEDA) to prepare a study for a central sewerage system in the centre of the main town of Mzuzu.

The Terms of Reference for this assignment is for a consultant (hereafter, the “Consultant”) to prepare a scoping study for a sanitation value chain and fecal sludge management (FSM) that will be complementary to the ABEDA study.

How can you make a difference?


The overall objective of this scoping study is to identify a self-financing, sustainable model for sanitation and FSM for peri-urban areas of Mzuzu, nearby small towns and rural areas in the Northern Region as a complementary system to a central sewerage planned for Mzuzu town, for which a detailed feasibility study, funded by ABEDA is underway (expected completion: March-April 2020). The sewerage system for Mzuzu is expected to cover only central areas of the city. Fecal sludge coming from areas not connected to the central sewerage system, as well as from nearby small towns and villages could be treated within the central sludge treatment plant.

On this basis, the purpose of this scoping study is:

  • To develop a model for a self-financing, sustainable and scale-able FSM and sanitation value chain for peri-urban areas of Mzuzu and nearby small towns and rural areas ;
  • To advise on sanitation-related business opportunities for different categories of private sector operators and contractors
  • To advise on coordination and timing of actions for on-site sanitation in peri-urban (sub-urban) and rural areas and sanitation in a municipal centre with a central sewerage and waste treatment system.


  • The Consultant, within this scoping assessment, is tasked to develop with relevant stakeholders a sanitation value chain model for scale-able peri-urban of Mzuzu, nearby small towns and rural areas or larger villages in Malawi, which combines a system of self-financing with publicly financed treatment facilities.
  • The Consultant, while being responsible for the timely submission and the quality of the deliverables described in this TOR, will be supported in the various activities by a dedicated technical team from Mzuzu University, contracted by UNICEF specifically for this purpose. The inputs required by the Mzuzu University will be defined at the commencement of this consultancy as part of the preparatory steps.
  • The Consultant needs therefore to ensure that the FSM model will have the following features:
  • The proposed model, resulting from comparison of different options and target sites, is structured to become financially self-sustaining via: (i) affordable and acceptable indicative tariffs and a estimates pricing system for sanitation; (ii) cross-subsidies (cross subsidies between urban / sub-urban; drinking water/ sanitation); (iii) central government subsidies (e.g. to NRWB; to schools and medical facilities, etc.); and (iv) other options (e.g. revenues from sludge processing).

An assessment of the bankability of the proposed model

  • An exploration of appropriate technologies for sludge processing (e.g. planted drying beds) and assessment of the score on climate action of such technologies and the sanitation value chain model as a whole. This includes identification of business opportunities for the reuse of treated sludges
  • An assessment of the required size/capacity of a larger central treatment facility or a series of smaller decentral treatment facilities; it is assumed that the facility/facilities will be owned and financed by public agencies (e.g. the water utility); advice is expected on the question whether operations and maintenance of the facility/facilities should be done by employees of the public agencies or should be outsourced to private operators to be paid by the public agencies;
  • An agreed modus operandi with a utility committed to developing a sanitation value chain, including the operation of a fecal sludge processing and treatment plant and a possible cooperation modus with private operators/contractors/masons for toilet building at private and public plots; latrine-pit cleaners, sludge transporters, etc.
  • While the focus of this study is on FSM the connections with water supply should be considered; advice is needed on where a water supply component (extension of existing systems) in peri-urban areas is required for enabling a FSM system, also in view of cross-subsidies that water tariffs can generate for a FSM system;
  • Considerations on opportunities and financial instruments to facilitate or initiate blended finance;
  • Considerations on community based financing mechanisms related to sanitation marketing to boost construction of private latrines;
  • An overview of training needs in case of public and in case of private operations of the fecal sludge treatment plant; a system for issuing concessions and standards for private operators to be agreed with utility/local authorities; a system for sale of possible products on the basis of sludge processing (e.g. license to sell electricity).

Specific activities

Analysis of the FSM business model

The core of this assignment is the identification of a financially self-sustaining model for FSM in the target areas. The Service Provider shall perform an analysis including:

  • Comparison of different options/target sites and analysis of the implications related to possible changes in existing tariffs systems, adoption of (indicative) new tariff structures and mechanisms of cost recovery for both CAPEX and OPEX. The Service Provider shall also review opportunities for cross-subsidization of proposed sanitation fees with water supply, with taxation systems in place as well as other potential revenue streams. While detailed analysis on tariffs should be handled within a further feasibility study before project commencement, this scoping assessment shall, in consultation with different stakeholders, define the financial viability of the proposed service chain as well as the bankability of the proposed investment.
  • Considerations on the most appropriate technical solution(s) for the treatment of the sludge. This scoping study will focus mainly on the financial and institutional aspects related to the adoption of identified technology (ies), considering the need for complementarity with the ABEDA feasibility assessment.
  • Considerations of re-use of treated liquid waste and financial implications
  • Considerations on mechanisms and financing arrangements (i.e. through micro-financing institutions) to boost private latrines constructions.
  • As part of a long term vision and scaling up of the proposed model, ideas for blended financing mechanisms (e.g. revolving fund). Considerations on sanitation marketing opportunities and identification of community-based financing streams (e.g. micro-credit facilities…) shall be included.

Definition of a Modus Operandi

The Service Provider, in consultation with stakeholders such as NRWB, local authorities, community structures and others will define an operational approach for the implementation and rolling out of the proposed FSM model. This modus operandi will cover the following aspects (but not limited to):

  • Institutional arrangements required (service agreements will be done at later stage, during the feasibility assessment);
  • Site-selection of treatment facilities (or process to agree on site selection) and coverage of costs for transport/logistic of sludge from peri-urban/rural areas to a central sludge treatment facility as will be proposed under the ABEDA study;
  • Approach to serve pro-poor communities;
  • Licensing system for private operators and entrepreneurs in the value chain, including re-use of resources or ..;
  • Financing by institutional parties such as schools, medical centers, including agreements for operations and maintenance for toilet facilities;
  • Any other element arising from stakeholders’ consultations
  • The proposed Modus Operandi will identify and include agreed areas where clear service agreements, licensing and implementation of regulatory functions are needed to ensure that accountabilities are in place.

Implementation planning

Taking into consideration (i) (draft) outcomes of the ABEDA study, (ii) existing sanitation facilities/investments (e.g. in schools, medical centers existing public toilet facilities), and (iii) on the basis of the proposed sanitation value chain model and activities with all relevant stakeholders to be carried out, the Service Provider will:

  • Propose an overall implementation plan, which reflects on complementarities of the proposals of the ABEDA study;
  • Propose possible water supply components (extension of existing systems) in peri-urban areas, for instance when cross-subsidies for financing a FSM system are needed; such cross-subsidies can be generated by water tariffs;
  • Propose implementation of no-regret actual pilots such as building private toilets with pit-latrines, assignments for masons, improved cleaning of existing latrine-pits and transport/treatment of sludge. If stakeholders so agree, actual implementation of such no-regret actions should be supported as part of this assignment.

Validation Workshop: feedback from stakeholders and validation

All the above activities, implemented in a consultative manner with relevant stakeholders, will be validated through a final consultative workshop at the end of scoping study. The workshop proceedings will serve as commitment of involved stakeholders for the implementation of the proposed FSM model.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • Academic qualification: Master’s Degree or an academic equivalent on WASH engineering with experience on financing sanitation and micro-finance solutions for sanitation.
  • Technical skills and knowledge: sound understanding of WASH sector and financing mechanisms, including functioning of IFIs and UN systems. Capacity of analyze data and business models for sanitation services.
  • Work experience: 10+ years of experience in the WASH sector with at least 8 years on project related to WASH sector financing
  • Competencies: proficient written and communication skills
  • Languages: English


Recommend your friend

Copyrights 2017. All rights reserved | Technology Partner: Indev Consultancy Pvt. Ltd