JOB Director of Policy and Practice | WaterAid

WaterAid is the #1 international non-governmental organization exclusively focused on clean water, hygiene and sanitation, and there are 780 million reasons we do what we do. That daunting figure is the number of men, women and children who have yet to see, taste and enjoy access to an improved water source.


WaterAid America (WAA), a Member of the global WaterAid federation, is seeking an experienced Director of Policy & Practice with strong influencing, communication and interpersonal skills to lead its evidence-based policy and program areas towards WaterAid’s goal of reaching everyone, everywhere with clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene within a generation.


Position Summary

The Director will influence stakeholders and partners, provide thought leadership, and guide the planning, implementation and evaluation of WaterAid America’s policy and program work. The incumbent must be well versed in the intersectionality of WASH with global health, climate change adaptation, and gender equity. 

The Director will also represent WAA, its global work, and public policy positions to high-profile external audiences; adapt and disseminate policy, program, and advocacy messages and lead educational outreach to many audiences, including the American public, institutional, academic and NGO partners, USG agencies and Members of Congress.

Strategic collaboration with others in the WASH and WASH-related program and advocacy space and demonstrated ability to build and maintain trusting partnerships, shared goals, and collective progress is essential. The incumbent should have experience leading and/or working within coalitions towards legislative and policy goals.

The Director will report to the CEO of WaterAid America and will be based in Washington, DC. A Member of WAA’s Leadership Team, the Director will contribute to the overall and general management of the organization while managing three direct reports (Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean; Associate Director of Government Relations; and Sanitation Policy Officer).


Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement WAA policy, practice and advocacy strategies in collaboration with the Policy and Practice Team.   
  • Provide guidance and support to WA’s policy and advocacy work in Colombia, Nicaragua and the Latin America and Caribbean region, connecting it with global priorities and initiatives.
  • Track developments in the US policy environment, Administration policies, and related policy implementation processes in WASH, as well as more broadly in international development and global health.
  • Represent WaterAid at the highest levels through advocacy and partnerships with key decision-makers.
  • Provide leadership on WASH to the international development and USG community, serving as a trusted resource to coalitions, Administration officials and Congressional offices.
  • Represent WAA on the cross-federation WaterAid Global Program and Advocacy Executive. Work closely with the program, policy and advocacy staff of other WaterAid members, to ensure overall policy coherence and programmatic alignment and complementarity.
  • Work with WaterAid country programs as appropriate to contribute to their understanding of U.S. policies and processes and enhance their relationship building with USG representatives in their countries and regions.
  • Work closely with WAA’s media and communications staff to serve as a spokesperson for WAA, provide background on key US policy issues, and support WaterAid’s awareness-raising efforts by providing advocacy content for use with the media and with individual supporters.
  • Collaborate with the Strategic Partnerships team in WAA’s NYC office on program development, ranging from prospecting, stewarding key relationships to proposal writing/pitch presentations.
  • Represent WAA and WaterAid International in selected national and international forums, including global conferences and UN fora.
  • Serve on WAA’s Leadership Team, responsible for organizational strategy and management; in this capacity, represent the Policy & Advocacy Program to the WAA Board of Directors.
  • Manage the WAA Washington, DC, office, and supervise three full-time staff members (2 DC-based and one remote), and consultants as relevant.



Essential Qualifications

  • 10 years’ experience working in international development, with a strong background in program and policy advocacy.  
  • A strong working knowledge of US government international development policies and processes and of the US political, legislative, and NGO landscapes.
  • The capacity, confidence, maturity and poise to represent WAA and WaterAid International with high-level constituencies.
  • Demonstrated high-level advocacy and negotiation experience with government agencies, NGO coalitions and other stakeholders. Significant experience with legislative strategy and advocacy work, with demonstrable impact (even if it took years to win).
  • A strong commitment to advocacy as a critical tool for lasting systemic change and a core element of your personal theory of change, holding the US government accountable for lifting barriers to universal access to WASH.
  • Proven experience in coalition and consensus building.
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills; confidence as a media spokesperson and public speaker.
  • A desire to work across cultures, job remits, time zones, and languages to learn from each other.
  • Willingness to travel domestically and internationally for up to 20% time at peak periods.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Graduate degree in public policy, international affairs, or related relevant area.
  • A strong technical background in an area intersecting with WASH: health, education, gender, or climate change and extensive NGO and USG relationships in that sector.
  • Expertise in global water, sanitation and hygiene policy debates, policy trends and financing.
  • Experience working for or with multi-lateral agencies such as the World Bank, UNICEF or WHO; and/or experience working on Capitol Hill; direct knowledge of Congressional processes.
  • French and/or Spanish language skills, written and spoken.



[email protected]

Please email a cover letter and CV to [email protected] with “DPP” in the subject line. Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is fulfilled.