Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Section (WASH)

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

New York, NY, USA 🇺🇸

Job no: 553541
Contract type: Fixed Term Appointment
Duty Station: New York
Level: D-2
Location: United States
Categories: WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), Senior Leadership Vacancies, Executive Management

*Internal UNICEF candidates should apply through the SSRRE 2023 Batch Link

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfil their potential. 

 Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone. And we never give up. 

For every child, dedication.

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programs, in advocacy, in partnerships and in operations.  The UNICEF Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025 sets out how the organization will translate this mission into action, contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families.

Water and sanitation are basic human rights and contribute to positive outcomes for children.  The UNICEF Strategy for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 2016 – 2030 sets out UNICEF’s contribution to SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation.  The “Reimagine WASH – Water Security for all” initiative reflects a significant evolution of UNICEF programmes, particularly in responding to the water and climate crisis.  These are captured in the Strategic Plan, 2021-2025, under Goal Area 4 which is centered on ensuring that every child uses safe and equitable WASH services and lives in a safe and sustainable climate and environment. Work under this Goal Area, including in humanitarian crises and fragile contexts, contributes to environmental, resilience and gender components of the 2030 Agenda. Goal Area 4 serves to guide UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) & Climate, Environment, Energy, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CEED) programmes at global, regional and country level.

Job organizational Context:

The post sits within the Programme Group and reports to the Director, Programme Group with a dotted line to the Deputy Executive Director Programmes.  The Director will also serve as the senior WASH and CEED policy advisor to the Executive Director, Deputy Executive Directors, and the Global Management Team.

Purpose of the Job:

The Director will be the global lead in WASH and CEED to ensure a safe and sustainable climate and environment for all children. The incumbent of the post will provide strategic vision and direction for UNICEFs WASH, Climate, Energy & Environment, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CEED) programme and lead the development of programme policies, strategies and guidance for the implementation of the WASH related goals and targets in UNICEF’s Strategic Plan, 2021-2025, Goal Area 4.  She/He will lead UNICEF’s global advocacy to ‘Reimagine WASH – Water Security for all’ and working closely with key partners, the incumbent will contribute to environmental, resilience and gender components of the 2030 Agenda.  The Director will be accountable for results, internal controls, resource planning and financial management for the WASH and anchored CEED Team and for working collaboratively with the other programme teams and divisions.

How can you make a difference?

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

  1. Vision & Strategy
  2. Representation & Partnership
  3. Policy Development and Advice
  4. Management of people and resources

1. Vision & Strategy

  • Shape and develop global strategies for accelerating the achievement of the SDG targets in water, sanitation and hygiene.
  • Define UNICEF’s contribution towards achieving a safe and sustainable climate and environment for all children.
  • Develop a strategic vision for UNICEF programmes in WASH and CEED to pursue UNICEF’s mission to promote and protect child rights.
  • Maintain UNICEF’s position as the knowledge center on child rights, provide technical leadership in the relevant programme areas through learning, knowledge management and application of evidence to programmes at scale.
  • Lead the improvement of the function and develop strategies to support UNICEF’s current and future WASH and CEED programme requirements and direction.
  • Ensure that the policies and practices of the WASH and CEED functional area are sufficiently comprehensive and flexible to meet accountabilities in both development and humanitarian settings.

2. Representation & Partnerships

  • Develop and maintain strategic partnerships with counterparts in programme partnerships, including UN agencies, development partners, institutions/foundations, non-governmental organizations and academia to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and resource mobilization.
  • Advise the Office of the Executive Director on strengthening relations with key partners through effective policy dialogue and advocacy to mobilize and leverage resources for children.
  • Develop and capitalize on new and emerging opportunities for resource mobilization including innovative financing and partnerships.
  • Represent UNICEF in WASH and CEED global forums.

3. Policy Development and Advice

  • Guide the development and implementation of the WASH and CEED sector policy and strategy.
  • Generate regular policy briefs to inform UNICEF leadership and field operations on the emerging evidence and new frontiers in relation to the relevant programme.
  • Provide leadership in the development of the major policies, regulations and rules, and systems that underpin the work of the WASH and CEED Programme.

4. Management of people and resources

  • Lead UNICEF’s Global Technical Team in WASH and CEED.
  • Ensure cross-sectoral (nutrition, gender, adolescents, child protection, social policy, education, health) and cross-divisional (EMOPs, DHR, DAPM, Supply Division, PPD and PFP, Natcoms) programme collaboration to align and maximize UNICEF’s support to regions and countries.
  • Support the leadership and management of Programme Group working collaboratively with the Directors of the other Programme Teams and the Director of Programme Group including contributing to the steer and management of the Headquarters Efficiency Initiative (HQEI).
  • Lead the management of the human, financial and material resources assigned to the WASH and CEED programme.
  • Ensure accountability and fiduciary integrity in the WASH and CEED programme’s budget execution when leading the programme’s strategic budget preparation exercises.
  • Create a unified culture to achieve common goals and objectives by motivating, coaching and supporting staff in the Programme.
  • Develop and manage workforce planning, recruitment, performance management, learning and career management of staff.
  • Manage staff performance and development through regular feedback, mentoring and career planning.

Key Performance Indicators include:

  • Leadership in strategic planning
  • Policy development
  • Programme implementation guidance
  • Management of UNICEF’s human, financial and material resources assigned to the portfolio.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

 Person Profile:

  • Credibility and technical excellence in water, sanitation and hygiene and climate, environment, energy and disaster risk reduction.
  • Recognized management skills in a multicultural setting, combined with ability to achieve results through motivating people and influencing partners.
  • Results-oriented decision-making ability with an aptitude to address operational challenges and for developing practical solutions.
  • Innovation mindset with risk management ability and a proven track record as a successful agent of change.
  • Rigorous analytical and conceptual thinking.
  • High sense of integrity, trust and confidence.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English, including the ability to set out a coherent analysis in presentations.
  • Strong diplomatic and communication skills and the ability to develop effective working relationships with clients and counterparts at the appropriate levels.
  • Ability to represent UNICEF in international fora.


  • An Advanced University Degree from an accredited institution in Public Health, Engineering, Social Sciences, Water management or related fields is required.
  • A minimum of 15 years of professional experience that combines intellectual and managerial leadership in an international organization or corporation is required.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language or a local language is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

Core Values

  • Commitment
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Sustainability


  • Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (3)
  • Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (3)
  • Works Collaboratively with others (3)
  • Builds and Maintains Partnerships (3)
  • Innovates and Embraces Change (3)
  • Thinks and Acts Strategically (3)
  • Drives to achieve impactful results (3)
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (3)

To view our competency framework, please visit here.


This position is classified as “rotational” which means the incumbent is expected to rotate to another duty station upon completion of their tour of duty.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.

Advertised: 02 Aug 2022 Eastern Daylight Time
Deadline: 11 Aug 2022 Eastern Daylight Time