Senior Program Officer, CityWide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS)

Gates Family Foundation

Abuja, Nigeria 🇳🇬

The Foundation

We are the largest nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world. Founded on a simple premise: that people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live healthy, productive lives. By building a global and cultural workplace that supports greater diversity, equity, and inclusion — of voices, ideas, and approaches — together with our employees and partners, we can help all people improve their lives from poverty and health to education. As an organization we offer full healthcare premiums coverage, generous paid time off, contribution to your retirement fund, several employee communities, and a commitment to embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion into everything we do.

The TeamThe Africa team works to enable the foundation’s ambitious goals of scaling evidence-based interventions that target a range of disease and socio-economic conditions which are endemic across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The team implements through direct country engagement to deploy interventions and delivery models, and by building the partner architecture to replicate successful interventions and models across multiple countries.

Your Role

The Gates Foundation’s global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WSH) vision is to enable widespread use of safely managed, sustainable sanitation services, contributing to positive health, economic, and gender equality outcomes for the world’s poorest. Unsafe sanitation is a problem that is becoming more urgent as our global population increases and trends like water scarcity and urbanization intensify. About 4.2 billion people—more than half the world’s population—either practice open defecation or use unsafe sanitation facilities and services.

The Gates Foundation collaborates with government leaders, the private sector, and technologists to advance promising new toilet and waste treatment technologies, service delivery models, and policies with the greatest potential to improve sanitation conditions for underserved communities. We focus our grantmaking in three complementary areas: 1) developing and commercializing transformative sanitation technologies, led by our Transformative Technology & Commercialization (TTC) initiative; 2. transforming how cities can provide sanitation as a reliable, inclusive and sustainable public service – led by our CityWide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) initiative; and 3. policy, advocacy and communications.

The CWIS initiative focuses on furthering the CWIS public service approach to achieve equitable, sustainable and safely managed sanitation by strengthening the design and implementation of core public systems functions of responsibility, accountability and resource planning and management. The CWIS initiative includes a portfolio of investments and relationships to 1) demonstrate, enable and strengthen CWIS approaches through proof points, examples, tools and normative guidance; 2) influence development and financing partners through institutionalization of CWIS approaches in their support to country governments; 3) develop markets for innovative sanitation technology; and 4) replicate and scale CWIS systems change approaches in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia through support to implementation of CWIS programs and policies in selected countries and scaling through regional platforms. In sub-Saharan Africa, the CWIS initiative partners with a range of regional, national and international organizations working to advance the CWIS agenda.

The Senior Program Officer (SPO), CWIS will advance the WSH citywide inclusive sanitation portfolio, with a focus on the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and in particular West and Central Africa. The successful candidate will be a senior leader accelerating urban service delivery and systems change.

The SPO reports to the Director, Nigeria Country Office, based in Abuja, with dotted line management to the Deputy Director, CityWide Inclusive Sanitation for the WSH team, based in the foundation’s Seattle headquarters.

What You’ll Do

  • Make and manage a broad and inter-connected portfolio of grants, investments and relationships.
  • Build, develop and cultivate relationships with key Africa regional platforms, public sector officials, private service operators, technical and financial partners, and community and civil society organizations.
  • Support grantee and partner efforts to work with governments to mainstream and institutionalize key sanitation approaches and frameworks within municipal, sub-national and national service systems.
  • Design new investments and forge new partnerships to fill gaps within the portfolio, including investments focused on integrating sanitation with urban resilience and climate resilience agendas.
  • Collaborate to advance the overarching WSH strategy in Sub-Saharan Africa, including contributions to the market adoption of transformative technologies as a key lever to accelerate safely managed sanitation.
  • Work at the interface between service delivery, policy and financing for urban inclusive sanitation, working with a range of financial and technical partners to support government-led systems change.
  • As a senior member of the Africa Regional Office and WSH teams, support the shaping and execution of the WSH regional strategy, whilst integrating WSH within regional engagement plans.
  • Take part in the broader global WSH strategy, working within an inter-connected team where strong coordination is essential.
  • Further linkages, cross-learning opportunities and peer exchange across regions and countries in order to disseminate useful urban sanitation service delivery lessons.
  • Engage in frequent communications and build relationships with government officials at various levels, with a focus on service delivery authorities.
  • Commitment to foundation Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) goals, and demonstrated track record of furthering DEI objectives in previous work experience.
  • Travel up to 25% of time.

Your Experience

  • Master’s degree in WSH science, engineering, economics, business, government, urban planning, social science or closely related field or Bachelor’s degree with substantial relevant work experience.
  • 10+ years of experience with increased senior leadership responsibilities in planning and managing urban basic service delivery systems, systems change and data systems strengthening, utility management, and/or economic regulation, ideally including sanitation.
  • Experience working with or for the public sector in a municipal government, utility, regulatory agency or ministry responsible for urban service delivery and/or WASH services.
  • Strong working understanding of financing modalities for urban basic services, including investment planning, tariff setting, etc. within complex and fragmented/decentralized institutional and regulatory environments
  • Experience working with and facilitating a broad range of stakeholders and development partnerships on the African continent; comfortable in a wide range of cultural, geographic and operational situations, demonstrating culturally sensitive behavior with a diverse range of people.
  • Proven track record in driving public sector systems change, including strengthening required data systems to set benchmarks, targets and service improvement plans.
  • Strong analytical skills; Creative problem solver with a tenacious focus on achieving results.
  • Data driven, partner focused, naturally curious, and willingness to span from strategy development to execution
  • Comfortable with role ambiguity, working in a fast-paced environment, frequent travel and navigating large complex organizations.
  • Effective communicator who can passionately articulate the vision and inspire collaboration.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; strong ability to coordinate complex projects; ability to collaborate across functions and geographies and transition projects to other colleagues successfully.
  • Excellent relationship management, facilitation and conflict resolution skills; confident and comfortable working with senior government officials, private sector service providers, international development partners and community organization.
  • Excellent technical writing, communication and presentation skills in both French and English.

Other Attributes

  • Experience in policy implementation at a national/ministerial level
  • Experience working within a development finance institution
  • Experience working within a philanthropic or grant-making organization
  • Subject matter expertise on urban resilience and climate change
  • Experience working with gender equity initiatives

Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Depending upon your work location, we may require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses. All employees based in the United States are to provide proof of full vaccination upon hire and any recommended boosters, subject to applicable laws.


If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request to [email protected].

Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.






IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development