Head of Programmes – Zambia

Programme Operations and Funding

Reports to:
Country Director

Direct Reports:
– Programme Manager MAWASH
– PMER Manager
– Funding Manager

Key Relationships:
– Regional Programme Manager
– Regional Technical Advisor
– Regional Funding Manager
– Counterparts in other CPs

About WaterAid

WaterAid started in 1981 because no charity like them existed. And they will end when no charity like them is needed. In the meantime, they are resolutely focused on helping people break free from poverty and change their lives for good through the three essentials of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. And with your support, they will reach everyone, everywhere within a generation.

Purpose of the Role

As a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT) of WaterAid Zambia (WAZ), the role of Head of Programme Operations and Funding is responsible for:

  • Strategic planning, development, management and delivery of sustainable, integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes through fostering modelling- driven innovation.
  • Leading on programme planning, development, effectiveness, quality assurance, learning and impact in the Country Programme (CP).
  • Leading fundraising initiatives through development of high quality, coherent and feasible fundraising proposals and budgets, management of all donor relationships and ensuring compliance with grant requirements.


Strategic Leadership:

  • Contribute to the development of the strategic plan for the CP and develop and maintain appropriate and effective monitoring and evaluation framework, operational plans and policies to support the strategic plan.
  • Design and lead the development of programmes in line with the country strategy and WA standards and approaches to ensure maximum impact, effectiveness and transformational change at a country wide scale.
  • Identify the key gaps and strategic opportunities in Zambia where WaterAid’s programmatic intervention can have high impact and bring about progressive change.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of a partnership strategy to ensure that impactful and effective partnerships are identified, built and managed.
  • Represent WAZ in national civil society organisations (CSOs), donor, and government (and international) forums related to WASH so as to influence thinking of other stakeholders on effective delivery of WASH, and build WAZ’s reputation as a sector leader.

Programme Development and Management:

  • Ensure effective WASH programme design, plan and deliver in line with strategic plans and WaterAid’s programmatic approach and quality standards and identify and proactively seek linkages and integration between policy and service delivery programmes.
  • Guide partnership engagement and manage relationships with strategic partners and provide appropriate guidance and support.
  • Ensure that the programme team, collaboratively works with the funding team to effectively manage relationships, negotiations and communication efforts with donors and partners in all phases of project design and implementation; promote appropriate involvement of partners at all stages of the project cycle.
  • Initiate challenging and innovative programmes and ensure learning is applied for improved programme effectiveness and external influencing.
  • Plan and conduct regular partner monitoring and support visits at least once per quarter and submits field visit monitoring reports to the CD, and taking forward any issues with respective partners.
  • Make informed decisions on the management of WASH programmes to maintain quality and ensure delivery against plans.
  • Ensure effective integration and coordination with policy and advocacy initiatives.

Programme Effectiveness across the Country Programme:

  • Coordinate the development of a comprehensive overall monitoring and evaluation framework and toolkits such as benchmarks and ensure adherence to the framework, relevant legal regulations, industry standards and organisational policies, standards and guidelines.
  • Lead the development and implementation of action plans based on M&E recommendations, monitoring progress on achievements.
  • Ensure the development and maintenance of a comprehensive reporting framework in line with PMER core procedures.
  • Support Country Director with risk management by leading the development and updating of programme/ project risk management plans.
  • Monitor the programme/project qualitative and quantitative outcomes and their impacts, working in collaboration partners, to ensure successful delivery of the CP strategy.
  • Facilitate the development of country programme frameworks for planning, monitoring, communication and reporting, operational policies and standards, in line with PMER Core procedures and Accountability framework.
  • Develop concise and high quarterly, bi-annual and annual operational plans and budgets for the implementation of programmes.
  • Exercise oversight and accountability for the delivery of quality programme work across all thematic areas, ensuring all WAZ programmes are based on WaterAid programme quality standards and approaches.
  • Set high standards of WASH programming quality that reflect adherence to technical standards, best practice and donor guidelines, while fostering needs-driven innovation to improve programme effectiveness and impact.
  • Ensure timely and quality preparation of donor narrative reports, six monthly and annual CP reports, CP annual business plans, evaluation reports, and any other reports needed/required by the government, donors, region or WAUK.
  • Ensure that learning is embedded in CP operations and activities, through knowledge capture sharing and feedback.
  • Maintain up to date knowledge of sector and best practice to ensure that the CP stays at the forefront of practice and disseminate appropriately within team and other staff.


  • Lead the Senior Management Team (SMT) members to support the implementation of the CP fundraising strategy. Develop the short-term and long-term fundraising strategy and plan required to deliver WAZ’s overall strategy.
  • Secure new funding streams from international & national-based private for profit and non-profit entities, mass engagement and multilateral /bilateral funding sources. Initiates and coordinates fundraising campaigns and events to maximise new engagement and funding opportunities.
  • Manage and support the Country Funding Manager to maintain clear communication channels with donors and with member country fundraising teams when approaching new donors and managing existing ones, sharing information to maximise donor engagement opportunities globally and maintain a clear record of reasons for proceeding with or rejecting opportunities.
  • Lead all funding proposal development and contract processes in WAZ. Anchor funding proposal development activities, including contributions and inputs of the CP programme, finance, people teams as well as Southern Africa Regional Office and WaterAid member country departments to deliver grant proposals and budgets of the highest quality.
  • Propose, seek inputs and negotiate funding contracts terms and agreements which protect WAZ with donors and ensure WAZ’s capacity to meet contractual requirements.
  • Ensure all WAZ proposal review protocols are completed and in line with gold standards for fundraising.
  • Lead the design of quality projects and proposals that are responsive to Funding requirements and speak to CP’s strategic priorities, experience and lessons learned.
  • Provide oversight and backstopping for the contractual requirements of donor-funded projects to ensure good contract management and good donor relations.
  • Ensure the development and maintenance of an effective contract management system for the CP, including management of all critical donor contract information and reporting processes and updating the Restricted Income System.
  • Convene and ensure Project Accountability Team meetings and external support meetings are held as scheduled and agreed actions implemented.

Financial Management and Budget Control:

  • Lead the development of operational plans and budgets for functions under his/her control in line with donor contractual agreements.
  • Manage and monitor expenditure against budgets for strategic and annual plans in adherence to financial guidelines, ensure value for money, and act as appropriate within delegated authorities.
  • Carry out regular budget monitoring. This will include ensuring that partners spend within the agreed budget limits and at least 95% expenditure is attained by end of Financial Year. Assist finance department, in liaison with Programme Managers, with reasons for variances to plan remedial action.
  • Prepares monthly financial cash flow plans & timely submission to the Finance department.

People Leadership:

  • Identify skills and resource needed to deliver against strategic plans of Programme Operations and Funding and plan, recruit and develop team members accordingly.
  • Effectively manage performance of team members and motivate them to develop and perform at their best.
  • Create and maintain a positive team environment conducive to high performance, according to WA Values and model values based leadership.

Specific Context

The role will require some travel in-country, as well as infrequent trips across the region and some internationally.

Experience and Technical Skills

  • Master’s Degree or higher, preferably in a discipline directly or closely related to WASH, such as Water Resources, Engineering, Development Management, Social Sciences, Environmental Health or Public Health.
  • Minimum of seven (7) years’ development and management experience and at least three (3) of which should be in a senior management position in reputed international or national non-governmental organization (NGO).
  • Experience in development of strategy and operational plans.
  • Experience of developing key strategic and operational partnerships at different levels (NGOs, donors, government) for programme operations and funding interventions.
  • Ability to attract and secure new funds and develop and review funding proposals.
  • A clear and sound understanding of community-based water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion development projects/programmes.
  • Experience of successfully managing multiple grants, donors and programmes involving adherence to strict donor rules and regulations.
  • Experience in participatory monitoring and evaluation approaches.
  • Experience of managing quality to reduce programme risks.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills (including report writing) in English.
  • Ability to communicate in a local language where work is focused is desirable.

Skills and Abilities

  • Strategic thinker. Able to see the bigger picture, challenges and opportunities and create a long term vision. Able to lead strategic discussions.
  • Ability to take outputs from critical thoughts/analysis to inform ‘hands on’ problem solving.
  • Excellent relationship management skills. Proven ability in building strong working relationship with colleagues and a variety of stakeholders such as government officials, partners and community members, donors, business leaders, senior academics, other sector actors and high level decision makers.
  • Strong negotiation, influencing and networking skills.
  • Excellent communication skills. Ability to represent and act as a spokesperson for WaterAid in a way that builds credibility and influence including strong writing skills.
  • Able to work with and across the organisation and other teams effectively.
  • Successfully leading, managing, building and motivating high performing teams and developing individual capacity.
  • Flexibility and willingness to go the extra mile, which also includes willingness to work additional hours at crucial times.
  • Strong initiative, with a willingness to take on new responsibilities and challenges.
  • Able to plan, prioritise and organise self and others and ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • Commitment to WaterAid’s values and a working style that reflects these.
Important Notes

  • In order to apply for this role, you must demonstrate your eligibility to work in Zambia.
  • WaterAid is an equal opportunities employer and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity. They particularly encourage applications from women who are underrepresented at this level in the organisation. 

How to Apply

To apply for this role, kindly send through a Microsoft Word version of your CV and a cover letter detailing why you are suited to this role. Please mark it for the attention of Melissa Nicholson, email address: applications@redseasearch.com. Please subject your email with the following reference: HOP-ZAMBIA.

Please note that the interview dates for this role will be confirmed with you should your application be successful.