Unit Lead (Water, Advice & Innovation Unit)

Netherlands Red Cross

The Hague, Netherlands 🇳🇱

The International Assistance division is responsible for all Netherlands Red Cross (NLRC) international support for victims of disasters and conflicts and for vulnerable people exposed to hazards.

The International Assistance division has opened a vacancy for a

Unit Lead – Water, Advice & Innovation Unit

(The Hague, 32-40 hours p/w)


The NLRC enables other Red Cross Crescent Movement (Movement) partners to achieve greater collective impact in helping people to cope with crises. NLRC supports its partners with financial and technical support, through humanitarian innovation and by building partnerships.

Following a strategy development process for the coming decade, NLRC has prioritised water, use of data and digital solutions and financial sustainability of Red Cross Red Crescent sister societies as its key focus areas for the period 2020-2030 for its international assistance. The focus on a limited number of expert areas requires adjustments to the way the NLRC has operated during the past decade: the variety of in-house expertise will be reduced, and the expertise that has been prioritised will be strengthened.

Water expertise, together with other technical support functions that remain in-house (resilience, response preparedness, protection gender & inclusion – PGI support), and innovation are concentrated in one unit: Water, Advice & Innovation (WA&I). Together with other units (Disaster Response, Strategic and Programmatic Partnerships, 510, Programme Development and Strategy, Financial Sustainability) programmes and projects are developed and implemented through bilateral and multilateral partnerships. Other technical support required to achieve impact in more resilient communities, will be obtained through partnering with other Movement Actors. Local needs are the starting point for everything we do and so is our way of working: as local as possible, as international as needed.

Currently, the NLRC is working mainly on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) in both emergency contexts as well as on longer term programmes and projects in 12 partner countries. The ambition is two-fold. On the one hand it is to grow the portfolio and services related to it, also outside the 12 current partner countries of the NLRC in the field of water, focussing on humanitarian assistance, collaboration with local and international partners and through partnering with the Dutch private and public sector. Sub-domains that we have defined in which the portfolio can grow are water management, (urban and rural) WASH and WASH in emergencies. On the other hand the ambition is to establish and create new partnerships with other Movement partners and reference centres, to be able to buy in technical expertise we don’t have in-house, when needed for our work with the 12 partner countries.

The WA&I Unit is part of the International Assistance division and works closely with other divisions within the Netherlands Red Cross such as Fundraising & Market Development and Communications.

Purpose of the position

The unit lead WA&I will be responsible for the overall management of the unit. Together with key experts in the field of water, resilience, response preparedness, PGI and humanitarian innovation, (s)he will be leading the thematic development positioning of the NLRC in the Red Cross Red Crescent movement and build partnerships with Dutch private and public sector and academia. Especially in the field of water, NLRC intends to become a key player in the global Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The unit lead will be driving the strengthening of collaboration, unlocking the Dutch water knowledge and expertise in the field of water and linking it to Movement partners that can’t address needs with only local knowledge and solutions.

The NLRC’s long term objective is to make communities more resilient, so they can anticipate, cope with and respond to disasters and adapt their habits and/or environment in such a way the impact of disasters or reoccurring climate related hazards is reduced. Water related hazards, both seasonal floods, droughts and extremes are key risk factors for many communities. The WA&I unit will play a key role in strengthening the link between water and community resilience, by leading the dialogue in the Movement (e.g. through competency networks) and by actively using other NLRC solutions and approaches in the use of data and digital solutions and yearly defining two humanitarian challenges that require innovative approaches. An important task of the unit lead is to establish these links, support the team in enhancing the quality of the interventions support the teams in enhancing the quality of the interventions, promote internal and external collaboration and strive for collective impact and shared value with internal and external partners.


  • Keep WA&I Unit’s overall goal and ambitions up to date and aligned with international strategy; develop and monitor the Unit’s workplan and related targets.
  • Develop and monitor the WA&I annual budget (including oversee funding gaps/ potentials) and HR challenges;
  • Develop, manage and resource a cohesive, multi-disciplinary team of professionals, graduates and volunteers (ca 10FTE) and actively look for synergies between the different disciplines and members of the Unit and across Units and other departments and external partners in cooperation with the WAI team members.
  • Represent the WA&I team in the International Departmental Management Team and keep the WAI team informed of discussions and decisions taken by the ID;
  • Ensure access to relevant fields of expertise that are not in-house, e.g. through framework agreements with Movement partners, and long term partnerships with external non-Red Cross actors;
  • Anchor the expertise, by working with the 12 current partnerships and ensure growth and development of the expertise by pro-actively offering our services outside the current 12 bilateral partnerships at cost-recovery.
  • Build a strong joint portfolio between the WA&I and the other units to strengthen the implementation of the international strategy.

Profile candidate

  • MA degree in relevant field
  • At least 10 years professional experience in Humanitarian work (including experience in the field) + 5 years field-based experience. Experience in emergency contexts is an asset;
  • Demonstrable knowledge of key international humanitarian themes, including WASH, Public Health, Disaster Risk Reduction, Disaster Management, Livelihood and Community Resilience;
  • +5 years of experience in leadership positions (collaborative and with teams of multi-disciplinary specialists);
  • Track record in liaising with Institutional Donors (EU, Ministries);
  • Demonstrable network (water and humanitarian sector) and ability to position organisations in (inter)national platforms;
  • Proficiency in Dutch; Fluent in English; French is an asset
  • EU working permit;
  • Excellent and engaging communication and inter-personal skills;
  • Affinity with and knowledge of design and innovation in humanitarian work (e.g. localization of aid, connect to digital and data);


  • Experience working for a Red Cross Movement organization (IFRC, ICRC, National Society);
  • Demonstrable experience with incubation of partnerships with international companies.


Organisational sensitivity, cooperation, providing feed-back, helicopter view, strategic insight, planning, decisiveness, motivating, engaging, encouraging.

We offer  

A full time appointment (based on 40-hour work week) for one year, with the possibility of extension depending on performance.  

A flexible and human centred working environment in an international environment with a variety of international organizations.  

Well balanced employment conditions with space for initiative and development.  

Remuneration: the salary scale level is set at 13 as mentioned in the CAO, depending on education level and experience. (min. € 4.414,- until max. € 5.860,- gross per month on the basis of full-time employment).  


Please send your resume in English and letter of motivation with reference to Annemieke van Teeffelen before 18 October via https://werkenbij.rodekruis.nl/nl/Vacature/details/205075/job.

For more information about the position you can contact  Sandra Cats, [email protected]  

An assessment can be part of the selection procedure.

For more information of the work of the Netherlands Red Cross, please visit www.rodekruis.nl
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