Consultancy - Integrated Maji Infrastructure and Governance Initiative for Eastern DRC (IMAGINE)

Edinburgh | London

Please note this position description has been summarised. For more information on the position please contact quoting 'Consultancy - IMAGINE' in the Subject Line.


Mercy Corps has been working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since 2007, with a focus on both humanitarian response and development programming. The current portfolio includes the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) services in urban centres. Mercy Corps DRC receives technical support from its central headquarters in Portland, as well as support from its European headquarters in Edinburgh.

In 2015, Mercy Corps signed a 5 year Accountability Grant with DFID for the Integrated Maji Infrastructure and Governance Initiative for Eastern DRC (IMAGINE). The programme aims at increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene in two urban centres in eastern DRC. IMAGINE builds on the success of the Extension Goma Nord (EGN) – a water network set up by Mercy Corps and REGIDESO (DRC’s parastatal water utility company) and managed through an innovative tri-partite agreement between Mercy Corps, REGIDESO and a local operator. The system currently meets the water supply needs of 130,000 people in Northern Goma every day.


DRC Water Sector Context

The pace of change in the water sector in DRC is slow. The Steering Committee for the Reform of State-owned Enterprises and REGIDESO Kinshasa, with donor support, are implementing reforms aiming to bring increased sustainability and accountability to the provision of water services. The current phase of the reforms, aim at stabilizing REGIDESO’s operations by improving its performance and reaching financial equilibrium in the cities of Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Matadi. The second phase comprises more far-reaching structural reform with gradual disengagement of the state from the sub-sector and private sector participation with widespread use of PPPs and delegated management contracts. These reforms arose out of World Bank funded diagnostic studies which found that REGIDESO was unable to turn around its worsening financial and commercial situation and that a public sector solution was no longer suitable to transform the utility into a viable business service that met the needs of the unserved population.

The reforms recognize that the largest unserved segment of the urban water sector are those at the lowest income levels, who pay up to seven times more than they would otherwise pay per litre of water had they been adequately served by REGIDESO.

A new water code was promulgated on January 4th 2016. Under this new law, the roles and responsibilities are laid out in accordance with the laws of decentralisation. The law mandates the establishment of an independent regulator, since, at present, there is no water sector regulator in DRC to monitor the performance of REGIDESO in terms of water coverage, water quality, hours of supply, non-revenue water, metering ratio, staff efficiency, O+M cost coverage and personnel expenditure as a % of O+M costs.

Consultancy Context

This consultancy has two elements (Part 1 & 2) that are both inter-related and inter-dependent. The consultancy seeks to assess in part 1 the commercial and contractual viability of the SGP in its current form (by building on the work that has been carried out by the IMAGINE programme team) and in part 2provide advice on how the current management model of the SGP should evolve both commercially and***contractually***, in order for it to expand and develop into a professional and sustainable operation (whoever the operator).

Contract Goals and Objectives (Part 1 & 2)

The goal of Parts 1 and 2 is to ensure that, at the end of the consultancy, a clear management option has been identified for the future sustainable operation and management of the SGP which is aligned with a realistic and achievable long term contracting arrangement (i.e., length in decades so as to achieve a durable solution beyond the implementation phase of the programme).

Common objectives for Parts 1 & 2 are to:

  • Critically review of the Service Delivery Strategy, SGP business plan, and current operator YGL;
  • Review and assess the financial capacity of the EGN-SGP as being a source of revenue growth to a point where its performance indicators match those of a well-run utility in a comparable context (ref. IBNET, etc.);
  • Analyse the management options identified by the IMAGINE programme team (in terms of their suitability and viability) in relation to various water utility ownership and management models that could apply to the EGN/SGP (including an analysis of Virunga Power/Virunga Foundation model);
  • Assess the commercial interest in the EGN/SGP through an appropriate review of the market if deemed required (e.g., possibly using an approach similar to an early market engagement);
  • Assess the contractual delegation options and procurement implications in relation to the most suitable management option for the EGN/SGP.

Deliverables: Initial Document Review and Inception Report



Submission Timeline – after commencement date


Document Review & Inception Report

2 weeks after signing the contract

The consultant will produce an Inception Report that will inform the client and reach agreement on the consultant’s understanding of the project, and to expand and, if necessary, modify the approach and methodology.

The Inception Report shall be kept as brief as possible and shall be limited to highlighting key issues and tasks and any significant proposed modifications to the original proposal.

Inception Report should discuss at least:

  • List of documents and other information sources used for the project (plus contact details) and incorporate findings and revised understanding of the assignment in the following sections of the Inception Report:
    • Background, objectives and scope;
    • Conditions at the start of the assignment;
    • Further developed methodology for each deliverable;
    • Updated schedule of key activities and deliverables.

Documents available for review by the consultant are identified in Annex A. The consultant should reference others which he/she deem relevant.

Deliverables Part 1:



Submission Timeline – after commencement date


Assessment of commercial interest - to be posted, opened and analysed during the consultancy in association with the IMAGINE/DFID programme team.

3 weeks after signing the contract


Commercial proposal and structure underpinned by a Baseline Assessment & Report

7 weeks after signing the contract


Ownership / Management Assessment Report

10 weeks after signing the contract


Action Plan and Time Line for formalizing the recommended Ownership & Management Model

12 weeks after signing the contract

Deliverable 1: Assessment of Commercial Interest

Mercy Corps believes it to be pre-mature at the present time to consider launching a tender package for an EGN/SGP operator, since the SGP business is not fully established, there is no long-term contracting arrangement in place and there is substantial uncertainty with regards to the implications of the new water code. However, Mercy Corps believes that some form of early stage market engagement may be appropriate to determine the level and type of commercial interest for the current and future EGN/SGP. In consultation with Mercy Corps, the consultant will suggest and prepare an early market engagement process listing standard pre-qualification criteria (e.g., experience in a fragile / transitioning context, financial capacity and relevant technical experience) as well as minimal conditions that would raise the interest of potential operators (e.g., minimal length of contract).

The type of assessment of commercial interest and its timing should be discussed with the client and included in the Inception Report. As the extent of this deliverable is undefined, the consultant should price this effort on the basis of an initial allowance of 10 days.

Form of deliverable: Set of meetings and market sounding report

Deliverable 2: Commercial proposal and structure underpinned by a Baseline Assessment and Report

EGN/SGP is not currently operated as a stand-alone public water utility. It is operated by an independent local NGO in collaboration with REGIDESO and Mercy Corps. The operator that runs the EGN/SGP does not have adequate structures for governance, O+M and customer accountability.

The main task of the consultant is to propose a commercial structure for the operator. For the purposes of projecting its analysis into the future, the consultant should assume that the operator has sufficient oversight (initially from Mercy Corps), the right incentives, and the necessary accountability to consumers and a Board.

In support of the consultant’s proposal of a commercial structure, s/he should undertake a rapid baseline assessment, based on work that has already been carried out by the IMAGINE team, of the operator’s current performance using the indicators presented below. Assessment of the operator YGL versus the EGN/SGP network should be, to the extent possible, done separately. The consultant should review and utilise the material that the IMAGINE programme team has gathered, prior to carrying out any additional research.

All deliverables in part 1 & 2 have been itemized as a quasi-work plan which may be updated at Inception and according to discussions/agreement with the selected consultant.

Deliverable 3: Ownership / Management Assessment Report

The ownership and management assessment report will be informed by the current operator performance and the potential for EGN/SGP to generate net revenue as a result of planned investments.

The assessment should consider the various functions of the operator, including customer relations, governance and communication, finance, planning, non-revenue water, water demand management, operation and maintenance.

From a commercial perspective, the consultant should review current and desirable commercial processes, such as collection procedures, handling customer complaints, building public awareness and improving customer relations, assessing financial status and cost control.

From a human resources perspective, the consultant can propose the minimum needed staff, their roles and responsibilities, the required resources for them to perform and appropriate KPIs.

From an operational perspective, the consultant can outline the current and desired functions of the operator in asset and operations management, record keeping, methods of data analysis, internal information dissemination, maintenance, leak reporting and repairs, indicators for monitoring and evaluating water demand management.

The consultant can compare performance of the current operator against a similar operation in a similar context and in relation to best regional and/or international practice. The consultant may also want to make parallel comparisons with Virunga Power which has many similarities to the EGN/SGP yet in the energy sector.

Risks should be discussed, such as cash-flow risks, O+M risks and key-man risks.

The consultant’s recommendation of the best ownership / management option should consider a comprehensive review of:

  • IMAGINE’s Water Service Delivery Strategy (which includes a range of management options) and Business Plan prepared by Mercy Corps for the EGN/SGP;
  • The set-up of Virunga Power and the Virunga Foundation;
  • The baseline and assessment report of this consultancy (including the projection of performance indicators);
  • The proposed commercial structure and plan
  • The results of early market engagement (to be carried out in association with Mercy Corps during this consultancy if required);
  • Feasibility based on the contracting options undertaken in part 2 of this consultancy.

The sustainability of EGN/SGP dictates that the principle characteristics of the operator should be experience, technical and administrative competence, and a commitment to transparency. It is critical that the option selected gives the best chance for the EGN/SGP to be operated in a responsible, professional and truly accountable manner.

Form of deliverable: Ownership / Management Assessment Report. The recommended option retained by the consultant and Mercy Corps will be assessed for contractual and legal feasibility under part 2 of this consultancy.

Deliverable 4: Action Plan and Time Line for formalizing the recommended Ownership & Management Model

This deliverable should be guided by what is practical within the context of DRC. It should also, in discussion with Mercy Corps and based on the consultant’s experience, determine what REGIDESO’s role and involvement would be. The options for management of EGN/SGP should consider the capacity of the current operator, YGL, its suitability in relation to other potential operators, its ability and willingness to change, the time required to put in place or develop a replacement operator, if recommended. Additionally, the action plan should be informed by Virunga Power’s model should the option be to establish a new model. Lastly the steps involved in setting up the ownership and management for the long term sustainability of EGN/SGP should be outlined.

Form of deliverable: The Ownership / Management Assessment Report should be informed by the baseline and the consultant’s assessment of the commercial and other performance indicator improvements likely to occur during the IMAGINE programme. In addition to a detailed narrative of the action plan, timelines shall be represented on either MS project or Primavera with clear interdependencies between key actions.

Deliverables Part 2:

The form of deliverables will be in documents to be produced by the consultant under this mission will be:



Submission Timeline – after commencement date


A report taking stock of the current legal situation and proposing the most appropriate procurement and contracting arrangement and management structure according to the set objectives.



Draft contracts necessary for the implementation of the selected operator with preparatory documents to initiate negotiations with relevant government authorities.



Preparatory documents for a multi-stakeholder meeting/presentation outlining the results of the consultancy and the standpoint of the Mercy Corps/DFID.



Conduct multi-stakeholder meeting presentation in line with output 3 above.



The final versions of contracts after presentation and validation at the workshop.



Further negotiation meetings with the authorities as well as potential contract amendments.


To achieve part 2 of the deliverables, the consultant’s mission will includes six phases. These phases would need to be seamlessly integrated into part 1 deliverables as required to achieve the overall goal and common objectives:

Phase 1: Review of the present situation,

Phase 2: The proposal of possible institutional arrangements and selecting the most appropriate,

Phase 3: The selection of the managing body.

Phase 4: Preparation of contracts for the managing body proposed in coordination with the consultant undertakes contract C-I-1,

Phase 4: The presentation of the assembly and contracts offered in a workshop.

Phase 6: Negotiations with state entities and finalization of contracts.

Phase 1: Review of the current situation

Drawing on the outcome of deliverable 2 part 1 (Commercial proposal and structure underpinned by a Baseline Assessment and Report), this first phase, as its title suggests, is to examine the current situation of small water systems Goma (phase 1 and 2) including:

  • The institutional arrangements implemented and their consistency with the texts in force and the projected texts, including the Water Act and the draft REGIDESO concession contract;
  • The current contracts, highlighting their strengths, which should be preserved, and their potential weaknesses that must be corrected;
  • Commercial and technical performance obtained and their comparison with the performance obtained in other small autonomous water networks in the DRC (e.g., ASUREP).

The review of the current situation will also consider the projected extensions of the service water to the outskirts of Goma and Bukavu and the projects likely to influence on management.

The consultant may elect to merge this deliverable with that of deliverable 2 part 1. Should this be the case, it should be stated in the inception report.

Phase 2: Review of contracting options

The institutional arrangements that will be considered will:

  • Be consistent with the draft Water Law, in particular the delegating authority, delegation contract for competition between operators;
  • Give stakeholders effective power in the organization and control of the operation of public water service they receive;
  • Ensure the sustainability of infrastructure and the efficiency (cost-effectiveness) of the proposal.

Consideration may be given to a transitional organization for a short period and a final organization, especially if it requires some prerequisites that cannot be met in the short term.

Under phase 2, the consultant:

  • Provides the possible contractual arrangements;
  • Analysis of each contractual arrangement in terms of advantages and disadvantages and implementation modalities, including prerequisites;
  • Provides a list of main implementation actions under all options.

The consultant should be mindful that Mercy Corps will favour options that offer the best chances of success as well as the strongest social contract in relation to the investments that will be made. I.e., the option that best achieves the objectives of the IMAGINE programme.

Phase 3: Review and selection of the contracting option in relation to the chosen management option

As part of deliverable in Part 1 of the consultancy, a market assessment/early market engagement may be initiated for the operation of the EGN / SGP. Close link between deliverable in parts 1 & 2 is necessary to carry out this phase.

This phase will compare and contrast the contractual options (above) in relation to the chosen management option (part 1 deliverable 3). The selection criteria will include: quality of the expected technical and commercial management, the sustainability of the structure, the quality of its governance, the evaluation of the membership of users to the option, the difficulty of implementation…etc.

Following these investigations, the consultant will propose the role of each project actor: DFID (and other donors), Mercy Corps, REGIDESO, Provincial and municipal authorities… etc.

Phase 4: Preparation of contracts

This phase will be initiated only after obtaining the agreement of Mercy Corps/DFID and the parties in the assembly proposed by the consultant.

The consultant will draft contracts necessary for the implementation of the successful installation, including the management contract to be concluded between the delegating authority and the selected delegate and the optional contracts subcontracting between delegated and operators.

Phase 5: The introductory workshop

An explanation and exchange workshop bringing together the stakeholders will be organized by the consultant (in collaboration with Mercy Corps), after the completion of the first four phases of the mission of the consultant. Mercy Corps will be responsible for the costs of the organising the workshop logistics (hotel, travel, accommodation of invitees etc). The consultants will be responsible for including their own costs as part of their consultancy agreement.

The consultant will present its investigations and proposals for the management of small water systems in Kinshasa, Goma and Bukavu potentially. The floor will then be given to participants to discuss the proposals of the Consultant and to reach a common project as consensual as possible.
This joint project will be formalized by the Consultant after the workshop. The proceedings of the workshop will be prepared jointly by the consultant and Mercy Corps.

Phase 6: Negotiations with state entities and finalization of contracts.

Additional time may be added to this consultancy to ensure that negotiations can take place with relevant authorities to conclude the signing of contracts.

Conduct of the Mission

Consultant investigations will be made during two missions:

  • A first mission, for a period of 5 days, for the review of the current situation and the improvements that could be made to it. A short stay in Goma will be provided during this first mission. This may be carried out as part of deliverable 2 part 1.
  • A second mission, lasting about 10 days dedicated to the workshop, its preparation and the drafting of its report.

Provisional Schedules for Parts 1 & 2: See Annex C

Desired Consultant Profile

The consultant should have the following competencies:

  • Substantial experience of urban water sector (i.e., more than 15-years experience),
  • At least 5 years recent experience in scoping out PPPs in the water sector;
  • Understanding of World Bank and African Development Bank development objectives pertaining to sustainability of water utilities and public private partnerships developed from at least 15 years of ongoing working with these IFIs;
  • Excellent ability in French.

Other information

Mercy Corps’ deliverable dates are based on consultant commencement in March/2016 and EGN/SGP operating under the recommended new structure by September 2016.

The deliverables will be provided by the Consultant draft in the form of electronic files. The final versions will be prepared by the Consultant in the light of comments made by the Mercy Corps on the drafts. They will also be published in the form of electronic files.

Comments will be made within a maximum period of three weeks from receipt of the draft. After this time, in the absence of observations from Mercy Corps, and the report will be considered approved.


To apply, please submit your details here:

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
  • Organization: Mercy Corps
  • Location: Edinburgh | London
  • Grade: Mid/Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • International Relations
    • International Relations
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Infrastructure and Urban-Rural development
    • Environment
    • Public Administration - Restructuring
    • Public Administration - Restructuring
    • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Closing Date: 2016-03-31

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