Senior Expert, Utility Partnerships
Reports to: Regional Director, Africa
1 in 10 people around the world lack access to safe water and 1 in 4 people don’t have access to a toilet. We are working every day to change this. We are Water.org. We’re here to bring water and sanitation to the world. We want to make it safe, accessible and cost-effective because we believe that water is the way to empowering a bright future that we can all share in, worldwide. We are an international nonprofit organization based in Kansas City, Missouri that has positively transformed millions of lives around the world through access to safe water and sanitation. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, we pioneer market-driven financial solutions to the global water crisis. For more than 25 years, we’ve been providing women hope, children health and families a future.
The Senior Expert for Utility Partnerships is a key contributor to the overall success of Water.org initiatives across all levels of impact in Africa, with a specific focus on effective and timely execution of partnerships related to water and sanitation service providers and infrastructure within her/his assigned portfolio.
The Senior Expert will be instrumental in helping Africa Regional Team define how best to facilitate greater financing flows for utilities and other service providers in key markets across the region. This individual will lead the establishment of a utility practice and development of client services in the region, by leading strategy and partnership pipeline development, supporting fundraising and donor engagement, thought leadership and global learning.
This individual will oversee partnership design, management, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of utility partnerships, as well as lead the development of financing mechanisms designed to create a more enabling environment for investment into the sector.
The Senior Expert, Utility Partnerships is based in Kenya.
Partnership & Business Development (50%)
Lead the development, execution, and sustained growth of key partnerships and priorities for impact across the region, as requested. Key activities include, but are not limited to:
- Lead strategy development at the regional and country-specific levels and assist with development of programmatic roadmaps, workplans and budgets.
- Oversee regional landscaping of the service provider sector, identifying opportunities for Water.org to enter the market with the right services.
- Bring a business development mindset and approach to engaging with the service provider sector to enable ongoing identification of opportunities for Water.org to enter and stimulate the market.
- Lead the development of a compelling and influential business case for Water.org’s services to investors and development organizations.
- Develop and manage a diverse portfolio of influential relationships and partnerships including but not limited to water and sanitation utilities, municipal and sub-national entities, national governments, regulatory bodies, bi/multilateral organizations, capital providers, regional apex entities, and other stakeholders across the region to:
- establish and maintain a strong position for Water.org’s influence and visibility across the Africa region,
- ensure Water.org is effectively leveraging, collaborating, and adding value to the WSS and Finance sectors’ ecosystem of actors and policies, and
- strengthen Water.org’s efforts to mobilize investment in WSS through the deployment of new resources and larger amounts of capital, ensuring new service provision of water and sanitation reaches low-income communities and households.
Portfolio Management (35%)
Demonstrate a personal drive for and embodiment of Water.org’s mission and leadership values, by motivating and mobilizing efforts to rapidly scale impact. Key accountabilities include, but are not limited to:
- Support the execution of the service provider regional strategy, overseeing establishment of new partnerships, program design and development, and programmatic execution.
- Accountable for successful delivery of technical assistance to service provider partners and / or sector associations, ensuring the ongoing viability of their water and sanitation lending services and sustainability.
- Support establishment of linkages between international and domestic capital providers and partners seeking loan capital, facilitating creation of various financing mechanisms to de-risk investments, if needed.
- Oversee compliance to established Water.org monitoring & evaluation practices.
- Contribute to the strengthening of Water.org’s reputation as a robust brand and influential brand and influential thought leader in Africa. This may include serving as the primary representative of Water.org to key government, media, enabling partners, and other influencers. Contribute as an effective presenter at key industry and sector events across the region.
- Contribute to building an evidence base to enable full range of impact and innovation internally at Water.org and externally across the sector.
- Play a significant role in regional efforts to identify and effect reforms and changes at the system-level, i.e., enabling policies and investment practices which mobilize capital for WSS financing solutions.
Organizational Support (15%)
- Collaborate with Water.org US and global teams to ensure integration of efforts, effective deployment of shared resources, and dissemination of best practices.
- Participate in assisting with the development of new tools and processes, membership on cross-functional committees as requested, and/or participation at internal or external conferences or workshops.
- Assist in the development of new tools, processes and/or procedures to gain efficiencies in the execution of work.
- Availability to take calls outside normal working hours to coordinate with US-based staff or staff at other country offices.
- Individual contributor with no subordinates.
This description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required. Some duties, responsibilities and activities may change or be assigned at any time with or without notice.
Skills and Competencies
- Customer Focus – Building strong customer relationships and delivering customer-centric solutions.
- Communicates Effectively – Developing and delivering multi-mode communications that convey a clear understanding of the unique needs of different audiences.
- Drives Results – Consistently achieving results, even under tough circumstances.
- Collaborates – Building partnerships and working collaboratively with others to meet shared objectives.
- Self-development – Actively seeking new ways to grow and be challenged using other formal and informal development channels.
- Optimize Work Processes – Knowing the most effective and efficient processes to get things done, with a focus on continuous improvement.
- Manages Ambiguity – Manages ambiguity by operating effectively, even when things are not certain or the way forward is not clear.
- Instills Trust – Gaining the confidence and trust of others through honesty, integrity, and authenticity.
- Financial Stewardship – Demonstrates fiscally responsible decision making as applicable to one’s role.
- Cultivates Innovation – Creating new and better ways for the organization to be successful.
- Manages Complexity – Making sense of complex, high quantity, and sometimes contradictory information to effectively solve problems.
- Business Insight – Applying knowledge of business and the marketplace to advance the organization’s goals.
- Builds Networks– Effectively building formal and informal relationship networks inside and outside the organization with partners, donors, and complimentary peers and organizations.
- Bachelor's degree in finance, commerce, business administration, water engineering or management, or related fields; Additional relevant certifications in accounting or finance are an added advantage. Trainings and coursework will also be considered.
- Deep understanding of the financing environment supporting the achievement of SDG 6 goals:
- At least 6 years of proven professional experience, leading investment projects with water and sanitation service providers in Africa, with increasing levels of experience and responsibility.
- Experience with infrastructure financing strongly preferred.
- Experience working in East Africa and knowledge across the broader Africa continent desired.
- Possess a robust network across the water supply and sanitation sector in East Africa, as well as more broadly across Africa, ranging across capital providers, utilities and other water and sanitation service providers, government institutions, investors, and other relevant stakeholders.
- Operational and financial experience in managing national/ sub-national entities that oversee or invest in Utilities or private sector small medium WSS enterprises.
- At least five years of project and/or program management experience required.
- Demonstrated proficiency in facilitation of collaboration and linkages between staff, donors, partners and stakeholders.
- Proficient in the use of effective communication techniques, particularly across a variety of constituencies and stakeholder groups. Skilled at cross-cultural communication and collaboration.
- Demonstrated ability to identify new opportunities, establish cross- sector partnerships and design programs that are creative and leverage different stakeholders' core capacities and assets.
- Knowledge of relevant computer applications and ability to integrate technology into office and partnership activities.
- Language proficiency in English and Kiswahili required.
Up to 20% of domestic and global travel. Travel will be subject to the evolving COVID-19 situation in the region.
Salary and Benefits
This position offers country-specific benefits and market-based, competitive salary; as well as periodic review for merit and incentive pay based on organizational and personal achievement.