Chief Programs Officer

Water for People

Denver, CO, US

About the Position

Water For People is a global nonprofit working across nine countries, bringing together communities, local entrepreneurs, and governments to build and maintain water and sanitation services that will last. We have a sustainable solution to end the global water and sanitation crisis, and our employees across the world help drive this solution.

Water For People is currently recruiting for the position of Chief Programs Officer to provide leadership and coordination in the planning, delivery, and quality of all our global and related water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector development activities. All Regional Directors and the Director of Program Quality report to the Chief Programs Officer.

The Chief Programs Officer is responsible for leading the overall planning, organizing, staffing, implementing, and controlling global program activities including monitoring and evaluation of Water For People’s operations. The Chief Programs Officer is also expected to implement the strategic objectives in all the countries in which we operate outside the United States.

Essential Job Functions and Duties


  • Plan the delivery of the overall program and its activities in accordance with the mission and the goals of the organization and the strategic plan
  • Develop new initiatives to support the strategic direction of the organization in coordination with the Chief of Strategy and Scale
  • Develop an annual budget and operating plan for all nine operating countries plus Latin America and Africa regions
  • Develop a program evaluation framework to assess the strengths of the program and to identify areas for improvement
  • Develop, implement and evaluate program-related fundraising strategies and efforts related to key donors, including those based in-country, soliciting governmental, institutional, and foundation contracts and grants through proposal writing.


  • Deliver all programs using the Everyone Forever model in specific districts, and seek to establish innovative approaches to WASH service delivery in other places
  • Ensure that program activities operate within the policies and procedures of the organization
  • Ensure that program activities comply with all relevant legislation and professional standards
  • Work with Regional Directors and Country Directors to address and close-out action items from internal audits
  • Develop forms and records to document program activities
  • Oversee the collection and maintenance of data for monitoring and evaluation purposes
  • Develop and implement health, safety and security plans for each country consistent with Water For People’s global policies and procedures
  • Work with the Chief of Strategy and Scale and country programs to align with the global strategy and develop new initiatives in-country to drive aspects of the strategy, in relation to scale and global leadership.
  • Work with the Chief of Strategy and Scale to develop recommendations for strategic partnerships and collaborations in the WASH sector for Water For People to gain in global influence

Manage Talent

  • Recruit, interview and select well-qualified program staff
  • Implement the human resources policies, procedures and procedures of the organization via in-country human resources, with support for global human resources in Denver
  • Ensure that personnel files for the program are properly maintained and kept confidential
  • Establish and implement a performance management process for all program staff
  • Engage volunteers for appropriate program activities using established volunteer management practices
  • Ensure that all program staff receive an appropriate orientation to the organization and the programs during their onboarding
  • Supervise program staff by providing direction, input and feedback
  • Communicate with community members, donors, and other stakeholders to gain support for the program and to solicit input to improve the program
  • Work closely with all members of the Senior Leadership Team and their departments to ensure alignment between departments, know where synergies lie and develop them, and determine ways to optimize the performance of Water For People.
  • Coordinate the delivery of services among different program activities to increase effectiveness and efficiency


  • Monitor progress, cost and schedule and make adjustments as needed to meet plan
  • Write reports on the program progress for internal and external distribution, and for funders
  • Communicate with funders as outlined in funding agreements and grants
  • Ensure that the program operates within the approved budget
  • Monitor and approve all budgeted program expenditures
  • Monitor cash flow projections vs. actual cash flow using Adaptive Planning and NetSuite. Analyze quarterly variances > 5% and work with programs team to improve forecasting. Monitor monthly actuals. Manage all project funds according to established accounting policies and procedures
  • Ensure that all financial records for the program are up to date
  • Ensure financial reports and supporting documentation are prepared as required by funding/grant agreements and reporting procedures
  • Assure compliance with the in-country legal and regulatory requirements of Water For People’s offices/staff/programs/boards.
  • Develop key performance indicators (in addition to schedule and budget) for tracking progress in each country as well as part of the Water For People balanced scorecard
  • Oversee the data from country programs, and how this is reflected in Everyone Forever tracker
  • Provide required information to have invoices generated and submitted according to the established timelines
  • Identify and evaluate the risks associated with program activities and take appropriate action to control and manage the risks
  • Monitor the program activities on a regular basis and conduct an annual reflection sessions in each country, one for water and another one for sanitation
  • Supply/approve text for all program-related published information
  • Report evaluation findings to the Senior Leadership Team and the Board and recommend changes to enhance the program, as appropriate

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Set goals and conduct performance reviews for direct reports.

Behaviors and Competencies

  • Builds Teams and Talent – Motivating leader who establishes a spirit of collaboration across all Water For People locations, as well as with communities and partners. Attracts, engages, develops and rewards talented people to build individual and organizational capability needed to achieve desired impact.
  • Uses Critical Thinking – Has a broad perspective and sees possibilities and opportunities by thinking innovatively. Manages competing priorities and makes hard decisions with an eye towards getting things done.
  • Converts Strategy into Results –Translates business vision and strategy into winning tactics and plans to deliver excellent results for the organization.
  • Connects to the Mission – Embraces the mission of Water For People and is passionate about advancing the dynamic role it plays leading social impact in international development. Understands and demonstrates how own efforts impact on the larger organization and operates in alignment with the vision, values and strategic objectives of the organization.
  • Demonstrates Ethics and Integrity – Understands ethical behavior and business practices, and ensures that own behavior is consistent with these standards and aligns with the values of the organization. Consistently follows through on commitments and lives our values of accountability, courage, empowerment, partnership, and transparency.
  • Manages through Ambiguity – Identifies, supports and champions opportunities for change and continuous improvement. Trusts the judgment of the field staff.
  • Demonstrates Cultural Awareness – shows empathy, a high comfort level in the developing world, and unquestionable integrity; able to engage the wide range of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.
  • Action-oriented – Takes an entrepreneurial, adaptable, and innovative approach to completing tasks. Has an unwavering commitment to delivering quality work products.
  • Connects with Others – Demonstrates exceptional communications and interpersonal skills, exceptional networker, key influencer, and be comfortable representing Water For People across a wide variety of audiences.
  • Self-confident – Demonstrates humility, mature confidence and courage to innovate, risk, and lead in own role. Is unafraid and willing to take risks and courageously to find new ways to achieve the organization’s desired impact.

Qualifications, Knowledge, and Skills Required

  • Bachelor’s degree in international development, international public health, engineering, business, or related discipline or equivalent experience is required, and an advanced degree preferred.
  • 15+ years experience in international development that includes a minimum of 3 years experience in a developing country. Background in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects necessary.
  • 10+ years supervisory experience.
  • Experience collaborating with senior leadership, board members, and other key internal and external stakeholder groups.
  • Experience in the field and familiarity with new models in international development is an asset. Spanish language skills are an advantage.
  • Advanced computer proficiencies with Microsoft Office programs including Word, Excel, Power Point, and Outlook.
  • Professional written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to motivate teams to produce quality materials written within tight timeframes and simultaneously manage several projects.
  • Ability to participate in and facilitate group meetings.

Physical Requirements/Working Conditions

  • Ability to travel up to 30% of the time domestically and internationally to developing countries where travel is rugged. Travel is frequent.
  • Ability to work in an open office environment when not traveling.
  • This position is based at Water For People Headquarters in Denver, Colorado.
  • Required to work outside of normal business hours while traveling and when hosting visitors.
  • Personal vehicle and driver’s license required and willingness to transport visitors to and from airport and other destinations during visits.

Note: This job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, or qualifications associated with the job.

Further Information

Deadline for submitting your application is 5 pm MDT, Friday, April 28, 2017.

This is a full time, exempt position with a comprehensive benefits package. Salary is competitive and commensurate with level of experience.

Water For People cannot provide immigration sponsorship for this position.

Resumés and cover letters can be sent to [email protected]; please put the job title in the subject line. Please no phone calls or in person inquiries.