WaterAid appoints first Executive Director of WaterAid International

WaterAid is delighted to announce the appointment of Ken Caldwell as its first Executive Director of WaterAid International.

10 Oct 2016

The WaterAid international secretariat supports the members of the WaterAid global federation through coordinating the development and review of our global strategy; facilitating collective decision making and shared standards, and supporting planned growth. The WaterAid federation members are based in America, Canada, Sweden, the UK, India, Japan and Australia, and together aim to help transform the lives of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people by improving access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

The WaterAid international secretariat was established in 2010 by Barbara Frost, who has led it to date alongside her responsibilities as Chief Executive of WaterAid.

Mr Caldwell will start his new post in January based in WaterAid’s London office when Barbara will be handing over her responsibilities for WaterAid international. He will be working alongside the WaterAid CEs and the UK Directors as well as leading the WaterAid international Secretariat. Barbara is retiring from WaterAid UK in the Spring of 2017 and her replacement as Chief Executive is currently being recruited.

Mr Caldwell said “‘It is a huge privilege to be joining WaterAid international as its first Executive Director. I have previously worked with WaterAid in a wide variety of contexts and am a great advocate for WaterAid’s distinctively focused mission and ways of working. At this early stage in the development of WaterAid’s global federation, I can’t think of many roles in the world that would be a more exciting challenge.”

Rob Skinner, Chair of WaterAid international said “I am delighted that Ken is joining us as Executive Director of WaterAid international. WaterAid international seeks to ensure that, working together, the WaterAid federation members can maximise their contribution to ensuring a world where everyone everywhere has access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene. We will benefit hugely from Ken’s senior leadership experience both within and outside of the international development sector.”

Mr Caldwell joins WaterAid international having previously held a number of senior leadership roles within the sector. Since 2009 Ken has led a consultancy business focused on working with several leading INGOs on the leadership and governance challenges of developing a successful global INGO federation.

Prior to that Ken spent seven years as International Director for Save the Children, where he was responsible for the development and delivery of Save the Children’s programme work in 50 countries around the world. Ken has also previously been Chief Executive of Sussex Enterprise, a business regeneration agency in south England, and worked for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) as their Deputy Director.

Ken is also the founder of Baobab, an online resources hub on leadership and governance issues for international civil society, now bringing together over 300 leaders in the sector from around the world.


For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Suzy Vickers, PR manager, on [email protected] or 0207 793 4995, or Fiona Callister, media relations lead, on [email protected] or 0207 793 5022. Or call our after-hours press line on 07887 521 552 or email [email protected]

Notes to Editors:


WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation.  The international organisation works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities.  Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 23 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 21 million people with sanitation.  For more information, visit, follow @WaterAidUK on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at

* Around 315,000 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s almost 900 children each day, or one child every two minutes.

* Over 650 million people (around one in ten) are without safe water

* Over 2.3 billion people (around one in three) live without improved sanitation

* For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of £4 is returned in increased productivity.

* Just £15 can help provide one person with access to safe water.

* For details on how individual countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, please see our online database,