Knowledge Management, Communications and Engagement Coordinator (WLE)

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Colombo, Sri Lanka 🇱🇰


The CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) is a global, research-for-development program working through partnerships to provide sustainable solutions for people and societies ( WLE promotes a new approach to sustainable intensification in which a healthy functioning ecosystem is seen as a prerequisite to agricultural development, resilience of food systems and human well-being. The program focuses on investigating and identifying the transformations needed in smallholder agriculture to support countries’ efforts on reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

WLE is one of 16 research programs of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future ( CGIAR Research Programs align the research of 15 CGIAR research centers and their partners into efficient, coherent, multi-disciplinary programs. WLE has strong potential to influence and work across the entire CGIAR research portfolio on agri-food systems. The program’s role as an ‘ambassador’ for sustainability is recognized by CGIAR. WLE has just entered its second phase (2017-2022) and is jointly developing initiatives with other CGIAR Research Programs and centers in CGIAR target countries.

WLE is led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR Research Center. IWMI is a non-profit, scientific research organization focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries ( It is headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with regional offices across Asia and Africa. The incumbent will preferably be based at IWMI’s headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The person and the job

The incumbent will be responsible for maximizing the development impact of water, land and ecosystem findings through better targeting, promotion and communication of WLE’s research, insights and knowledge. The person will also take a lead during phase 2 of WLE to deliver a step change in the understanding of how to apply approaches to build sustainability into our food and agriculture systems, in a way that benefits some of the poorest and most marginalized communities.

This position provides an excellent opportunity for someone with the enthusiasm, inspiration and ambition to make WLE the place to go for evidence, insights and knowledge.

The incumbent will report to, and work closely with, WLE’s Program Director to develop messages, and partner and engagement plans, and organize events and prepare material required (circa 80%). The person will also report to IWMI’s Director, Partnerships and Knowledge Management, to link closely to the Institute, with a portion (circa 20%) of the position dedicated to work on related issues with IWMI.

General duties and responsibilities:

Portfolio-level communications and engagement (80% of the time)

  • Overall knowledge of WLE research and development of communication strategy: Lead the creative development, implementation and monitoring of WLE’s knowledge management, communication and engagement activities. This will involve having an in-depth knowledge of WLE’s research portfolio, understanding client needs, and ensuring the most effective and strategic use of a range of knowledge management and communication outputs and tools, in order to maximize the policy and development impact of the research conducted by the program.
  • Managing WLE’s communication platforms: Ensure that WLE communication platforms (i.e., website, solution platform, Thrive Blog, social media, multimedia packages, direct mail, direct engagements, events, meetings and media) deliver high-quality, relevant and up-to-date information, and promote the right outputs and messages, to the right people and at the correct time, by working with WLE teams and partner centres. Identify new or alternative approaches and/or channels, where appropriate.
  • Marketing: Support the development of a multi-faceted marketing strategy that leverages WLE’s work and presents it effectively to existing and potential funders. This will involve working closely with WLE’s Program Director and IWMI’s Senior Manager – Business Development.
  • Partnership and engagement: Support the building of coalitions and partnerships at regional and global level to ensure commitment of investors and decision makers to respond to, and adopt, WLE evidence and solutions. Also, use the partnership to help clarify the knowledge requirements, and make research more relevant accordingly.
  • Oversee campaigns and events to showcase WLE’s research, and position the program as a well-known, trusted source of knowledge on the sustainability of food and agriculture, and natural resource management.
  • Work with researchers: Work with WLE research leaders, at IWMI and respective CGIAR center partners, and researchers to synthesize results, knowledge and messages from across WLE and deliver these to target groups in the appropriate formats and channels, and develop effective communication activities and budgets.
  • Collaboration: Work closely with IWMI’s Partnerships and Knowledge Management team to support the development of knowledge management and communications at IWMI. Actively engage communication teams from partner centers and contribute to the collective communication goals of CGIAR.
  • Knowledge sharing: Support ways to improve exchange among research teams (e.g., digital tools, facilitation of meetings, etc.) to enhance collaboration and outreach.

Management and operations (20% of the time)

  • As part of the WLE Program Management Unit based at IWMI, and IWMI Communications Team, help to plan, manage and report progress on WLE activities to CGIAR, WLE Steering Committee and IWMI Board of Governors and other audiences.
  • Manage and supervise a set of consultants, interns and service providers to ensure work is carried out in a timely fashion.
  • Manage and oversee the knowledge/communication budget, and monitoring and evaluation, to ensure lessons learned are built into the design of communication approaches and products.
  • Manage the implementation of WLE’s open data and open access plan liaising with partners centres.
  • Contribute to proposal writing and fund-raising efforts.
  • Contribute to the WLE Program Management Unit as and when needed.


  • University degree in a relevant field related to natural resource management, journalism, social sciences, etc.
  • Ten years’ experience as a professional in communications, policy engagement and/or knowledge brokering, preferably regionally or internationally in a relevant area.
  • Experience in planning, implementing and evaluating complex knowledge management and communication initiatives, programs and/or activities.
  • Experience in working in research-for-development communication activities is an advantage.
  • Ability to multitask, work under pressure, take initiative, and work independently.
  • Proven ability to effectively use a range of communication approaches and technologies to deliver results, from more traditional approaches, such as radio, to using latest digital tools and social media, and reaching a wide range of different audiences.
  • Demonstrated audience focus, and demand-side and client service approach.
  • Access to a strong network of knowledge and communication professionals and familiarity with potential partners.
  • Be a skilled, inspiring and dynamic oral and written communicator, with excellent English language skills, and the ability, and deep understanding, of analyzing and presenting information clearly and concisely in a wide variety of formats.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to work across different communities and cultures, and share knowledge with a wide range of collaborators and audiences.
  • Be creative and strategic, with the ability to spot interesting opportunities that deliver a step change, and push through challenges by problem solving at pace.
  • Fully able to engage small teams to deliver timely and relevant outputs of high quality.

Your application must include a copy of your curriculum vitae, cover letter which addresses IWMI’s requirements stated above, and contact information of three professional referees who may be contacted if you are short-listed for the position. Applications must be submitted by April 16, 2017.


This is an internationally recruited position at senior manager level ( with a competitive salary and benefits package, which includes a housing allowance, transport, education, shipping assistance, annual home leave, retirement and health insurance package. The duration of the contract will initially be for a three-year period with possible extension.

The CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) combines the resources of 11 CGIAR centers, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and numerous national, regional and international partners to provide an integrated approach to natural resource management research. WLE promotes a new approach to sustainable intensification in which a healthy functioning ecosystem is seen as a prerequisite to agricultural development, resilience of food systems and human well-being. This program is led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and is supported by CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.