WASH Program Officer

San Luis Obispo, CA, United States 🇺🇸

The Opportunity

At Lifewater, we believe that work should be more than a job; it should be an opportunity for you to make a difference in the world. We are social scientists, engineers, program managers, advocates, and community workers who care deeply about preventing the needless and tragic death of 1,600 children who die each and every day from preventable water-borne diseases. If you are looking to join a lean but rapidly growing global team comprised of like-minded, professional, passionate people motivated by faith in Jesus Christ then this might be just the job you have been praying for, and yes – you’ll even get paid for your work.

Who We Are

Lifewater is a non-profit Christian community development organization dedicated to effectively serving vulnerable children and families by partnering with underserved communities to overcome water poverty. With experience in more than 40 countries since 1977, Lifewater serves all people by providing them with contextually appropriate water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions. We walk alongside families, leaders, schools, and churches to overcome all forms of water poverty by helping them learn to live in healthy relationship with God and the environment and to recognize how small changes can transform their life and community.

We are a non-governmental, faith-based organization serving communities in the rural regions of East Africa and Southeast Asia. We have active programs in Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Uganda; countries with a desperate lack of resources to provide basic water and sanitation services to rural children and families. Since our inception, Lifewater’s worldwide team has impacted the lives of more than 2.5 million people. And we’re just getting started!

Lifewater has an annual budget of $3.5M USD with plans to grow this strategically to over $5M USD in the next three years. Our global headquarters is located in San Luis Obispo, California with domestic staff fewer than 20 people that serve our field offices around the world. We have regional program offices in Addis Ababa, Kampala, and Phnom Penh and program offices in the actual remote regions of service. All in-country operations are staffed by qualified local personnel, currently numbering 50 people.   

Who You Are

You are hungry to see lives and communities transformed and have community development experience, preferably in the WASH sector. You are an effective cross-cultural communicator and participatory trainer that understands the value in building the capacity of local staff. You have excellent inter-personal skills and emotional intelligence allowing you to work effectively with western volunteers just as easily as you walk the muddy rural backroads of the Ethiopian Highlands. You’ve preferably had global travel or experience living abroad that has helped you understand the realistic challenges that field teams face, and you see yourself as a critical support to their success. You can analyze program data, monitor program activities, and make data-informed recommendations to the leadership team to continually improve our programs. You preferably have a master’s degree in a related field, are excited about living in San Luis Obispo, California, with a willingness to travel extensively to support program needs to our field locations in Southeast Asia and East Africa, or other regions as we expand.

What You Are Responsible For

Reporting to the Director of Program Quality, the WASH Program Officer will serve as an invaluable member of the Global Programs Team. You will contribute to the overall continuous evaluation and improvement of Lifewater programs around the globe. You will answer the questions: “What are we doing that is working? What could be better?”  You will analyze actual data from our field programs to support your answer and make recommendations on how to improve the program.

Your three primary areas of responsibility are:

Monitoring & Evaluation

  • Conduct regular on-site analysis of Lifewater programs, shadowing/interviewing program staff and participants to determine effectiveness of intervention.
  • Provide ongoing support and equip field staff as the programs progress through the various stages of intervention.
  • Determine gaps in program plans and make recommendations to address them.
  • Coordinate and actively participate in regular program reporting and evaluate planned vs. accomplished activities for a given period of program activity (month, quarterly, annually).
  • Contribute to the preparation of proposals and reports for internal and external stakeholders, including institutional funders.

Program Data Analysis

  • Review program data gathered from AKVOFlow and turn raw data into actionable intelligence for program managers and Lifewater leadership.
  • Prepare well-developed reports for multiple stakeholders based on your analysis of program data to help them remain informed about progress and changes.
  • Recommend program and training modifications based on analysis data.

Training & Capacity Building

  • Facilitate in-country training for field staff and relevant community leaders, including but not limited to Healthy Communities, Healthy Homes, Healthy Schools, and refresher trainings for field staff before and during program intervention.
  • Continuously improve curriculum and operations manuals based on lessons learned from M/E and Analysis of Program Data.
  • Contribute to the overall development of Lifewater programming by remaining relevant in the WASH sector, and by representing Lifewater in various forums.

Work Experience & Qualifications

Education and work experience required:

  • Bachelor’s degree with 5 to 7 years of community development or program evaluation experience in a related sector. Masters with fewer years of experience is preferred (see below).

Required competencies and skills:

  • Active Christian Faith as evidenced by adherence to Lifewater’s statement of faith and demonstrated involvement in a local church
  • Excellent people skills & emotional intelligence in working with teams
  • Analytical thinking and data interpretation
  • Cross-cultural relationship building & training/facilitation skills
  • Ability to construct a story and present data in an effective way in both written and spoken formats (reports & presentations)
  • Excellent command of oral and written English for business
  • Travel experience and/or living abroad for extended timelines (few weeks at a time)

Desired competencies and experience:

  • Master’s degree in related field of study (Public Health, Environmental Engineering, Economics, International Development, International Relations, etc.) with at least 3 years’ experience in WASH program activity in a developing world context.
  • Ability to use Microsoft Office Suite including advanced skills & experience in:
    • Working with workflow spreadsheets in Excel and data analysis in Excel or SPSS
    • Design & Preparation of presentations and posters in PowerPoint
  • Program work-plan design, monitoring, and evaluation                   
  • Working knowledge of ArcGIS and/or other GIS systems
  • A command of AKVOFlow and/or other field-database tools