Project Manager: Water Stewardship in uMkomazi Catchment & Plantation Forestry via SkillsMap

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa 🇿🇦


(This is a 2 ½ year contract, based in Hilton/Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal)

WWF is the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisation, with over 6 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

WWF South Africa (WWF-SA) is a national office that is part of the WWF network. We are a local NGO that has worked for 50 years with the aim of inspiring all South Africans to live in harmony with nature, for the benefit of our country and the wellbeing of all our people. Our work is challenging and exciting and we love what we do. To join our team, you need to be brilliant at what you do, passionate, results-orientated and have a positive attitude.


This position will contribute towards the 2025 strategic outcomes of WWF-SA and specifically its outcome 2: Freshwater quality and quantity improved in Strategic Water Source Areas for ecological systems and downstream communities.
WWF is working towards establishing a multi-funded Water Source Partnership for the uMkomazi catchment, which forms an important part of the Southern Drakensberg Strategic Water Source Area. The intention is to establish an effective learning partnership, implementing several water stewardship projects on the ground.
WWF is also working to mainstream key water stewardship practices in the plantation forestry sector, within and beyond the plantation fence line, through strengthening water stewardship in the sector at a national level, while focusing on practices in the uMkomazi catchment and Southern Drakensberg Strategic Water Source Area.

Job Functions

Environmental Services, Water and Sanitation


Conservation,Environmental / Horticulture / Agriculture,Ngo / Non-Profit


Project outcomes:
The incumbent will be responsible for ensuring that the following project outcomes are achieved:
•An effective water governance structure in in the uMkomazi catchment is established/strengthened and delivers its emergent outcomes.
•There is increased engagement/participation by key stakeholders of the uMkomazi catchment in water governance structures/institutions.
•Water stewardship projects are catalysed and implementation is effectively coordinated and/or supported in the uMkomazi catchment.
•A cohesive understanding of water stewardship in the plantation forestry industry is established and supported.
•The plantation forestry industry has integrated water stewardship principles into industry best practice and internal organisational policies
WWF organisational outcome and targets

The project outcomes will need to directly contribute towards organisational outcome 2 and associated targets that are relevant to the project:

Organisational Outcome 2:
Freshwater quality and quantity improved in Strategic Water Source Areas for ecological systems and downstream communities.

Organisational Targets:
•25% more hectares in 10 strategic water source areas benefit from agriculture and forestry land users’ implementation of water stewardship best practice.
•Key ecological infrastructure in at least 10 strategic water source areas rehabilitated, maintained and effectively managed by community-private-public- partnerships (CPPP).
•Management strategies for at least 10 SWSAs collaboratively developed by inclusive, functional and capacitated CPPPs and inform strategies of at least 2 associated governing institution.

Key activities:
To achieve these outcomes, it will be important to:
•Catalyse and convene a water stewardship community of practice in the uMkomazi catchment at a local level, and within the plantation forestry industry at a national level, improving water security at landscape scale.
•Champion WWFs water stewardship work in the uMkomazi catchment and the plantation forestry sector, through catalysing and supporting individual and collective water stewardship practices, together with private and communal land users and local government.
•Develop and cultivate strategic relationships and networks with relevant role-players in the uMkomazi catchment and the plantation forestry sector, building a foundation for water stewardship work. These role players should include plantation forestry companies, plantation forestry small holders, commercial farmers, forums that represent communal land users, local municipalities, local water management institutions and forums, Department of Water and Sanitation, and Department of Forestry and Agriculture.
•Catalyse and convene implementation of water stewardship change practices from farm to landscape scale. These could include but are not limited to reducing plantation forestry and agriculture impacts on freshwater ecosystems, improved delineation, management and restoration of wetlands, riparian areas and associated buffers, effective alien invasive plant clearing, and monitoring of freshwater ecosystem health.
•Provide a point of strategic contact for the water stewardship in the uMkomazi catchment and the plantation forestry industry.
•Co-ordinate study tours and learning journeys in the catchment that are focussed on bringing key stakeholders into the field to learn from examples of improved water stewardship practices, and to plan how to strengthen collective action on the ground.
•Convene water stewardship dialogues/workshops/debates addressing relevant topics of interest to stakeholders in the catchment.
•Facilitate the identification and sharing of direct and indirect business risks of freshwater ecological degradation and reduced water security, with key decision makers, stakeholders in the uMkomazi catchment and the plantation forestry sector and government.
•Engage key value chain role players within the plantation forestry sector of the uMkomazi catchment, initiate and develop a water stewardship approach within their supply chain, and strengthen water stewardship practices at different levels.
•Drive greater harmonisation and integration of water stewardship principles into plantation forestry, codes of practice, business principles, strategies and on-the-ground implementation.
•Develop an annual work plan co-created with key partners in the uMkomazi catchment and the plantation forestry aimed at catalysing improved water stewardship.
•Evaluate and report on effectiveness of social processes used and progress of implementation and impact of the programme of work, synthesising the lessons and insights and adapting the workplan on a yearly basis.
•New knowledge generated through the work is shared and communicated internally within the WWF Freshwater team, between WWF integrated initiatives in other areas of the country, and externally to relevant communities of practice in other Strategic Water Source Areas.


•Master’s degree in either of the following: water resource management, catchment management, environmental learning and social change.
•10 years’ experience of working with on water stewardship/integrated water resource management/catchment management issues. Experience of working with the plantation forestry sector is advantageous, but not a prerequisite.
•Experience of convening a community or practice, with an understanding of how adults learn informally and the relationship to social change is essential.
•Technical capacity to translate water stewardship approaches into water related strategies/action plans and to manage project implementation.
•Efficient project management and administrative experience and leadership skills are essential.
•Ability to work collaboratively and facilitate solutions focused engagements in a multidisciplinary and diverse working environment.
•Negotiation and diplomacy skills and ability to engage at senior management level in business as well as at a farm level on the ground.
•Established networks at senior management and strategic levels within the plantation forestry and water sectors will be an advantage.
•Strategy development expertise as well as knowledge of key issues in water stewardship, water resource management, and sustainability essential.
•A good understanding of water resource management related policies and legislation.
•Self-starter with ability to initiate new working relations and self-manage areas of work critical to achievement of deliverables.
•Excellent interpersonal, writing, presentation and communications skills.
•Computer literacy essential (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
•Fluency in Zulu and English is essential.
•Code 8 driver’s license.

Job Closing Date: 15/07/2021