Vacancy: Women’s Empowerment Action Researcher

1. Overview
WaterSHED is seeking a dynamic new team member to assist in implementing a Women’s Empowerment through WASH (Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene) program across its existing WASH Marketing programs. The Action Researcher will help find meaningful, high-impact ways to strengthen women’s participation in WaterSHED’s market-based WASH programs, help Cambodian women to grow professionally in the WASH and NGO sectors, and ensure that WaterSHED’s marketing is doing all it can to empower women as consumers of WASH products and services.

Organization: WaterSHED
Project: Safe Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Marketing
Topic: Women’s Empowerment through WASH
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia with travel to provinces
Technical Personnel: Action Researcher
Timing and Duration: 1 year starting February 15th, 2015
Application closing: February 10th, 2015

2. Background and Rationale
WaterSHED (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Enterprise Development) is an NGO registered in Cambodia with operations in Vietnam and Cambodia. It engages local businesses and government to develop sustainable, market-based approaches that empower households to be active and informed consumers of water, sanitation and hygiene products. WaterSHED implements its signature Hands-Off marketing strategy with low-cost latrine cores (Sanitation Marketing) as well as ceramic water filters (Safe Water Marketing) in rural Cambodia. The Hands-Off approach aims to strengthen the ability of local suppliers to meet the large and growing demand for WASH products in Cambodia while maintaining a long-term focus on sustainability and local capacity building.

Over a period of four years, WaterSHED has grown to establishing itself as a prominent local NGO in the field of market-based WASH interventions. It has continued to improve its programs by building a strong evidence base about the impact and sustainability of its interventions on households, businesses, and communities.

Seeking to stay at the forefront of market-based WASH solutions, WaterSHED continues to expand its scope to address the comprehensive range of WASH needs in Cambodia. Recognizing that women are crucial gatekeepers in families’ and communities’ sanitation and hygiene, and recognizing that its programming has heretofore not purposefully addressed the concerns of women in WASH, WaterSHED intends to address this gap in its programming through its Women’s Empowerment through WASH program.

3. Women’s Empowerment through WASH Components and Objectives
The Women’s Empowerment through WASH program will build on the foundations of WaterSHED’s existing Hands-Off Sanitation and Safe Water marketing programs. While some research will be necessary at the beginning, the program will strive for an action research model in which solutions are rapidly tested in the field and then refined over time.

Some of the main challenges the Action Researcher will help to address are:

a. Engaging female sales agents, suppliers and staff more deeply through intentional mentorship and training. To encourage the professional growth of women in the WaterSHED network, whether in the home office or in the field, the WE program will design a mentoring program for female employees. The Action Researcher will assist with key elements in the design and implementation of this mentorship program.

b. Improving the recruitment and retention of female sales agents, suppliers, and staff. Cambodian women face employment barriers that Cambodian men do not, whether those be social pressure to stay close to home, cultural norms that prevent them from being saleswomen who can “get out” and market aggressively, a demanding burden of household chores, pressure not to take on professional or public leadership roles, or generally lower access to opportunities for employment. The Action Researcher will help WaterSHED find solutions for some of the barriers that make it difficult for Cambodian women to take on professional roles in the WASH products supply chain.

c. Understanding how women can be reached as a target market through sales events. WaterSHED will seek to better understand Cambodian women as consumers and household decision-makers, and to tailor marketing strategies to address the concerns of Cambodian women. The Action Researcher will help design and run trials to better understand how to market to women audiences.

d. Review and refine existing marketing materials to better reflect women’s concerns and motivations as consumers. WaterSHED will review its current marketing materials to address any elements that don’t appeal to Cambodian women as household decision-makers. The Action Researcher will be crucial in auditing and re-designing marketing materials.

4. Duties of the Action Researcher
Working with the Behaviour Change Specialist, the Action Researcher will have a critical role in the design and implementation of WaterSHED’s Women’s Empowerment strategy. Duties will include:

  • Actively contribute ideas to the design of all program elements with the Behavior Change Specialist
  • Plan and execute all action research in the field with Behavior Change Specialist
  • Help design curriculum for women’s mentorship program
  • Help plan and lead training of trainers for mentors
  • Reach out to and establish contact with professional women across Cambodia who could be program mentors
  • Work with WaterSHED field staff to arrange logistics for all field work
  • Facilitate group sessions as necessary
  • Conduct interviews with key informants
  • Translate between English and Khmer as necessary

5. Qualifications of the Successful Candidate

  • Experience in project planning, development of creative strategies and solutions, and implementation/field testing of programs
  • Willingness to take initiative, work independently, ask important questions and try new approaches
  • Experience working on gender in Cambodia
  • Experience doing fieldwork and research in rural Cambodia
  • Experience facilitating group sessions
  • Experience working with rural consumers
  • Ability to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds, from rural consumers to successful professionals in Phnom Penh
  • Willingness to spend significant time in the field away from Phnom Penh
  • Fluency in Khmer and strong English language skills
  • Positive attitude and ability to communicate honestly and clearly with all team members

6. Additional Details

  • Reports to: Behaviour Change Specialist
  • Location: Phnom Penh with frequent travel to WaterSHED’s provinces of operation
  • Compensation: Competitive and commensurate with experience
  • Contract: The Action Researcher will be offered a 12-month employment agreement with standard 3-month probationary period, renewable after the first year

Interested applicants should send an email to with the subject “Action Researcher”. The application must include the:

  1. WaterSHED application form (download)
  2. Cover letter
  3. C.V or Resume, include the names and contact of two references

Please do not send copies of certificates or other documentation in addition to the above.
Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview. For further information about the organization visit:
Closing date: 10 Feb 2015

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.