Program Manager I (WASH)

Sierra Leone 🇸🇱

Job Background/Summary:
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. CRS launched its work in Sierra Leone in 1963 supporting relief and development operations in the country. CRS Sierra Lone has proudly maintained a strong reputation and relationship with partners and the communities we serve in the country implementing a multi-sector program portfolio. Today, CRS Sierra Leone has a robust portfolio built around several major programs in Health, Agriculture, and Education. CRS has its main office in Freetown and three field offices located in Kenema (East) and Kabala (North) and Makeni.

CRS’ USDA Food for Education (FFE) program serves reaches more than 30,000 beneficiaries in 190 schools across five chiefdoms of Koinadugu district. The USDA FFE program employs more than 50 staff. The USDA program has a strong WASH component which has become increasingly relevant following the Ebola outbreak. Unsafe water, poor sanitation, and poor hygiene practices are linked to poor school attendance and performance (particularly among girls), safety and security of women and girls, and community economic and social development. A large number of schools lack toilets, clean water, and proper hygiene lessons. CRS Sierra Leone will address school WASH through provisions on the USDA project and further collaborations with UNICEF, and other stakeholders/donors.


The WASH manager leads on WASH staff management, sectoral assessments, program design, partnership budgeting, implementation as well as resource mobilization, recruitment and procurement. S/He will be expected to mentor and/or capacity building existing country program staff and integrate WASH in to the Education program and other sectors as appropriate.

Main Responsibilities:

  1. Supervision and Team Management:
    • Supervise WASH team members, ensuring that they all have and follow thoughtfully developed performance and development plans.
    • Ensure the consistently high performance of these reports by providing direction and coaching as and when needed, though formal coaching as well as frequent informal discussions and feedback.
    • Take responsibility for addressing any performance issues within the programming teams.
    • Ensure that direct and next-level reports are supported in their professional development, by identifying and addressing collective areas of capacity building and by supporting the implementation of individual development plans.
    • Ensure that team members provide high quality supervision, guidance and coaching to their direct reports, and that they receive whatever support or training they need to do so.
    • Ensure the smooth functioning of the WASH programming team through regular meetings as well as with triangular coordination between collaborating PMs; provide clarity to these peer relationships and manage any tensions or issues proactively.
    • Take the lead in the recruitment – including trial period review – of any new WASH Staff.
    • Supervise any WASH TDY-ers and take the lead on SOW development, orientation, supervision and written feedback.

  2. Program Quality and Management
    • Make frequent field visits to provide technical support to CRS field staff, partners and DHMT partners.
    • Lead and support CRS and partner staff in the design, assessments management/implementation and monitoring of WASH activities. As appropriate ensure that assessments are done in coordination with education programming.
    • Ensure proactive project management through strong adherence to PQ standards, M&E and evidence based decisions.
    • Establish/strengthen M&E data collection systems, analysis and feedback to improve WASH sector based information and decision-making
    o Ensure that all activities have a sustainability component and engage key stakeholders to enable interventions to continue after the end of project.
    • Develop and Manage the Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) ensuring timely delivery of program activities (monitoring against log frames, performance management based on work plans).
    • Ensure projects are designed and implemented to meet minimum quality standards adhering to national and international standards (Sphere, WHO and GOSL standards) and Do No Harm principles.
    • Provide management support and technical advice to the WASH team on issues of procurement, supply, design of schemes and oversight of construction activities to ensure timely completion.
    o Develop tender documents and provide technical checking of WASH engineering designs and hygiene promotion program as necessary, and proactively promote high quality WASH technical approaches for the targeted schools and communities.
    • Ensure that at a minimum the selected schools have an easy to operate and maintain working water source through maintenance/ rehabilitation of existing water supply facilities or installation of new water sources.
    • Support the installation of pit latrines for both staff and pupils as necessary, rehabilitation/upgrading of existing latrines, installation of appropriate hand-washing facilities.
    • Enforce proper project information documentation using activities monitoring tools, lessons learned and modifications done from lessons learned and communities’ feedback on project successes.
    • Ensure timely communication of project progress with CRS, Donors and government line departments highlighting project impact against indicators. Monitor progress by reviewing quarterly achievements against established targets, annual work plans, and budget
    • Ensure development and use of utilization focused M&E tools and systems. Ensure proper baseline, mid-term and evaluation surveys on a regular basis and ensure regular project reflections.
    • Ensure systematic water quality monitoring and analysis for understanding the different environmental factors influencing water quality in the targeted areas.
    • Update WASH strategy based on lessons learned and the evolving needs after the post-Ebola outbreak.

  3. Grants and Financial Management
    • Ensure grant compliance for all WASH projects by understanding grant requirements and flexibilities for multiple donors and projects and communicating challenges, constraints, and opportunities to senior management.
    • Prepare timely program and donor reports on project activities in compliance with internal CRS requirements and any relevant external donor requirements.
    • Monitor project expenses, ensure strong budget management and conduct monthly (at a minimum) budget analysis to ensure projects are completed on budget.
    • Ensure that cash forecasts are accurate and timely.
    • Ensure strong management of partnership agreements, through timely project advances and liquidations for smooth project implementation.
    • Accompany finance staff on partner liquidations.
    • Develop high quality project financial and narrative reports (budget notes).

  4. Program Growth and Capacity Building
    • Lead and seek potential project growth, partner and staff capacity building areas and needs.
    • Empower capacity of CRS and partner staff through on the job training/mentoring and training/workshops. Identify learning and training opportunities for CRS staff and partners and work as a mentor and role model to enhance in-house expertise of local staff.
    • Develop high quality case-studies, evidence based program/sector updates, that can be shared with donors and government officials. Take steps to document lessons learned, from the School WASH program, for wider dissemination.
    • Work closely with the Head of Programs and Business Development Specialist to support expansion of the WASH programming, including the development of high quality concept notes and proposals to advance beneficial collaboration with UNICEF and other potential donors.
    • Identify technical capacity gaps, initiate and lead trainings for field staff as needed.
    • In collaboration with the Regional TA for WASH, share learning, experiences and evidence to feed in to relevant global learning and advocacy objectives.
    • Oversee development of technical training material that will improve quality of WASH work and integration of WASH within other CRS programs in Sierra Leone.

  5. Information and Coordination
    • Provide effective representation of CRS and project activities in meetings or bilateral discussions with government/donors/NGOs.
    • Liaise with key non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national, and local government, and external donors, as necessary; participate in joint agency assessments, task-force teams and workshops, communities of practice, technical committee meetings, and coordination groups- ensuring the specific needs of school children are being addressed.
    • Represent CRS in coordination meetings and ensure that CRS WASH projects are included in key coordination documents
    • Provide regular updates to the RTA Area Manager, FFE Program Manager, the Head of Programming on progress, priorities and constraints – verbally and in writing.
    • Train and brief CRS staff and stakeholders on WASH issues
    • Participate in CRS meetings and workshops on strategic planning for WASH and agency-wide initiatives as requested by supervisor.
    • Ensure strong documentation of project activities and learning and that this is shared widely in the CRS/Sierra Leone Country Program.
    • In close collaboration with the Food for Education Chief of Party, Head of Programs and Country Representative, to lead on WASH related technical and donor engagements

Agency-wide Competencies for all CRS staff:
These are rooted in the mission, values, and principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.

  • Serves with Integrity
  • Models Stewardship
  • Cultivates Constructive Relationships
  • Promotes Learning

Supervisory Responsibilities:
• WASH team in Kabala and Construction Manager.

Budget Responsibility: The successful candidate will directly manage the WASH component for CRS Food for Education project.

Key Working Relationships:

  • Internal: Country Representative, Head of Programming, FFE Education Team, MEAL Team, Areas Manager Kabala, Finance Team, Procurement Team.
  • External: Government officials, Partners, National NGOs, INGOs, donors

Personal/Professional Skills:

  1. Ability to exercise sound, mature judgment and work independently
  2. Aptitude to work in stressful situations
  3. Creativity, flexibility and the ability to work with limited resources
  4. Effectively relate, motivate and work as a team player with local staff


  1. Prior experience of working on a technical and managerial role within a complex country program.
  2. Master’s degree in Water Engineering, Public health or a related subject, or minimum 2 years’ field experience managing an integrated WASH program.
  3. Ability to identify, hire, retain and train competent, high performing staff.
  4. Ability to read, analyze and interpret administrative reports, technical procedures, and governmental regulations.
  5. Previous experience of implementing WASH program within donor constraints, on time and within budget.
  6. Experience of and commitment to working through systems of community participation and accountability
  7. Ability to work independently and think innovatively and strategically, as well as collaborate within a team.
  8. Ability to work on own initiative, manage complex workloads and deliver outputs and reports to agreed deadlines.
  9. Demonstrated monitoring and evaluation skills
  10. Demonstrable understanding of and commitment to promoting gender equity and the interests of marginalised people in all development work
  11. Ability to work both in an advisory and a hands on implementation capacity
  12. Proven capacity to supervise, train and coach staff in WASH technical skills
  13. Experience of representation and ability to represent CRS effectively in external forums.
  14. Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English language. Ability to write reports, donor materials, and procedure manuals.
  15. Experience in grant management and proposal writing is preferred
  16. Willingness and ability to work in remote environments and provide effective technical and managerial support to field staff.
  17. Specific experience of designing and managing USDA, DFID, EU and/or USAID projects

Physical Requirements/Environment: Position will be based in Kabala and will require frequent travel to Freetown.

Foreign Language Required: Fluency in English (both oral and written skills)
Disclaimer Clause: This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skill, effort, duties and responsibilities associated with the position.

CRS’ talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.