Senior Technical Advisor (Water and Environment)

Catholic Relief Services (CRS)

Baltimore, MD, US

About CRS

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS works to save, protect, and transform lives in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.


CRS recently launched its Water Security for 2030 strategy

. Water security, as defined in CRS’ Water Security for 2030 agency strategy, encompasses a range of water programming areas. The three priority areas of the strategy are Water in Sustainable Landscapes (e.g. Water for Agriculture); Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Humanitarian and Development contexts; and Water Finance and Governance. CRS and its partners implement a range of water projects globally, and water security components are integrated into sectoral projects such as food security, agriculture, nutrition, and education. In addition to an expanding portfolio of projects, CRS is carrying out initiatives in each of the priority areas: strengthening WASH in health care facilities, scaling restoration of degraded land, and adapting a successful model for sustainable finance and governance of municipal water systems. CRS seeks a senior technical leader and original thinker to lead the agency’s water work as Senior Technical Advisor, Water and Environment.

Job Summary

You will serve as the global technical lead for CRS water security activities, including WASH, water for agriculture, and water finance and governance. You will ensure technical excellence and innovation in water programming through high quality design and implementation, strategic growth of water programming, recruitment and mentoring of staff, training, publications, partner engagement, and representation. Equipped with a deep understanding of technical approaches in the three areas of CRS’ water strategy (WASH, water for agriculture, water finance and governance), you will foster high quality programming and position CRS with major donors in water security. You will support learning and application of best practices across CRS’ global project portfolio. You will coordinate closely with the WASH team in CRS’ Humanitarian Response Department (HRD) to ensure coordinated water interventions and approaches across the agency in humanitarian and development contexts. You will manage coordination across the agency’s global water team and guide delivery of the CRS Water Security Strategy.

Roles and Key Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

  • Provide strategic leadership for the agency in the development of water and environment programmatic directions, standards and best practices.
  • Advance CRS’ technical and thought leadership in water programming.
  • Support the water team in engaging with research partners to support knowledge generation and innovations
  • Liaise with other headquarters teams and departments to ensure robust technical leadership.

Business Development and Growth

  • Lead donor relationships in water security with partners, donors and stakeholders, including USAID, USAID/OFDA, UNICEF, DFID, and private donors. Collaborate with HRD on emergency and recovery related efforts.
  • Pursue strategic growth of CRS’ water activities through expanded funding, the global and regional water teams to adequately support the agency demand for water support.
  • Support the work of other CRS divisions, specifically Charitable Giving and Mission & Mobilization, in linking donors to water-related projects and building awareness in the U.S.
  • Lead PIQA technical contributions to proposals for new water projects and for water and environment components of multisectoral project proposals.
  • Manage budgets for existing and new water business lines, including but not limited to WASH in Health Care Facilities and the Azure water financing initiative.

Team Coordination

  • Coordinate the global water team, including direct supervision of two technical specialists, technical mentorship of regional technical advisors, and close coordination with HRD water team.
  • Provide technical guidance, mentorship, and assistance to field staff on overall water program development.
  • Lead an agency community of practice and/or other mechanism to facilitate information sharing and learning among members of the agency’s water team.
  • Communicate regularly with the HRD water team to share project information and practices, especially those pertaining to the development-humanitarian nexus.
  • Oversee development of work plans and budgets for globally managed project activities.
  • Foster an environment of high morale and motivation among the water team.
  • Facilitate the water team’s effective collaboration with other CRS teams.

Technical Assistance

  • Provide technical leadership on program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of water security programs.
  • Advise regional offices and country programs on water strategy development, in line with the agency’s water strategy.
  • Provide strategic support to other CRS sectors to ensure that activities are well integrated and consistent with water security strategies. These sectors include health, HRD, nutrition, peacebuilding, governance, agriculture, food security, Impact investing, education, microfinance, gender, and others on an as needed basis.


  • Represent and raise the profile of CRS at strategic technical events, conferences, workshops, etc. through presentations, papers and other technical outputs.
  • Establish partnerships with organizations (NGOs, private sector, government, universities) to promote water-related issues and build capacity.
  • Engage with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development to support initiatives to advance water security.

Basic Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in engineering, public health, environmental services or related field.
  • Minimum 10 or more years relevant field experience designing, implementing in water and WASH programs in developing countries, with at least seven years of developing country field experience in designing and implementing programs.
  • Demonstrated success in proposal development; strong project design, writing and analytical skills.
  • Experience managing technical staff and teams.

Required Languages — Proficiency in French or Spanish preferred.

Travel – Willing and able to travel up to 25%.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Excellent strategic, analytical, problem-solving and systems thinking skills with capacity to see the big picture and ability to make sound judgment and decisions
  • Demonstrated success promoting cooperation and collaboration with governmental agencies, private sector and other NGOs.
  • Strong representational skills and wide network of contacts in the water sector
  • Demonstrated interpersonal relations skills.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent presentation, facilitation, training, mentoring, and coaching skills
  • Proactive, resourceful and results-oriented

Preferred Qualifications

  • PhDin engineering, public health, environmental services or related field
  • Technical and/or academic publications are desirable

Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff)

These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and achieve the desired results.

  • Integrity
  • Continuous Improvement & Innovation
  • Builds Relationships
  • Develops Talent
  • Strategic Mindset
  • Accountability & Stewardship

Supervisory Responsibilities

Azure Program Director; and WASH in Health Care Facilities Advisor

Key Working Relationships

Internal: PIQA agriculture/livelihoods and health teams. HRD water team. Regional and country teams. The STA will also collaborate closely with IDEA and CG staff on resource mobilization for water activities

External: Institutional and private donors, project partners, research and technical partners, and technical forums (e.g. Millennium Water Alliance, Agenda for Change, WASH in HCF groups)