Country Representative (Sri Lanka)

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Colombo, Sri Lanka 🇱🇰


The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is seeking a dynamic leader with exceptional management aptitude and a deep understanding of water, land and agricultural development challenges and opportunities in Sri Lanka.


The Country Representative (CR) posted at IWMI Headquarters represents the Institute in Sri Lanka, maintaining strong links with national and international partners. The primary responsibilities are: (i) manages research staff, interns and consultants assigned to IWMI’s Sri Lanka office; (ii) coordinates business development in Sri Lanka to sustain and grow a viable funding pipeline; (iii) develops and strengthens relationships with government agencies, national research organizations and implementing partners to expand and promote uptake of IWMI’s research outputs; (iv) people management, financial management, governance and risk management, and research quality control; represent the Institute at specific national level forums; and (v) participate in IWMI research programs aligned with personal expertise.

It is expected that the CR will spend a minimum of 55% of his/her time on duties representing IWMI and managing people and operations, with the remaining time on project-specific research activities.


Lead country program development and implementation

  • Develop the strategic direction of the country office, ensuring consistency with IWMI’s Strategy and strong alignment to country and regional development priorities and research needs.
  • Coordinate development, funding and management of the project portfolio of the office through contributions to and leadership of the design and development of programmatic and project proposals.
  • Build a strong commitment to teamwork and collaboration with other IWMI units and with CGIAR and external partners.
  • Manage country office staff to ensure delivery of high quality, timely research and outputs that meet the requirements of partners and clients.

IWMI representation

  • Strengthen existing and develop new working relationships with research partners, national and regional authorities, and other stakeholders raising the profile and visibility of IWMI in the region, in conjunction with the Institute’s Partnerships and Knowledge Management Department, Deputy Director General, and Director General.
  • Proactively contribute to IWMI’s fundraising efforts by identifying relevant initiatives, developing a close network with donors, coordinating the preparation of proposals, and providing strong intellectual inputs in coordination with relevant Strategic Program Leaders (SPLs), and IWMI’s Business Development Unit (BDU).
  • Promote the uptake of IWMI research outputs in coordination with the strategic program leaders and research groups.
  • Facilitate work undertaken in the country for CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) that IWMI is involved with in coordination with the Program Director – WLE and relevant leaders of strategic programs and projects.

Office management and administration

  • Proactively and effectively manage resources and promote stewardship, ensuring research teams have and optimize the appropriate human, financial, and material resources.
  • Manage staff in accordance with IWMI’s policies and applicable regulations. Responsibilities include: (i) leading recruitment; (ii) planning and assigning staff to research projects in consultation with project leaders; (iii) guiding professional development and performance reviews; and (iv) addressing employee relationship issues and resolving problems.
  • Manage team dynamics and staff well-being. Provide coaching, strategically tailor individual development plans, and complete performance management for direct reports. Monitor and assess performance to ensure adequate capacity. Contribute to staffing plans and recruitment processes.
  • Work with the appropriate operations team to proactively manage security and mitigate security risks. Ensure a safe work and living environment through leading implementation of safety and security protocols and staff care and well-being best practices.
  • Manage issues related to administration, finance and research in the country in consultation with relevant functional units within IWMI (Finance, Human Resources, Information and Communications Technology [ICT], Partnership & Knowledge Management (PKM).

Research development and implementation

  • Develop and implement projects within personal expertise and experience.
  • Work with IWMI staff and partners to ensure that the research portfolio in country (i) reflects national priorities, (ii) is aligned with the Institute’s strategy in the country, and (iii) is well implemented with the aim of producing high-quality scientific outputs, including peer-reviewed scientific papers.
  • Coordinate with appropriate staff to ensure that research activities by IWMI in relation to WLE and other CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) are well integrated into the country-level strategy.


  • A master’s degree or a PhD in ecology, hydrology, international development, water resources management, development economics, anthropology, sociology or another area related to IWMI’s research
  • Minimum 10 years of relevant work experience holding positions of increasing responsibility.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and research experience relevant to IWMI’s overall mission of water management in developing countries, as well as knowledge of the functioning of the CGIAR system.
  • A deep understanding of water, land and agricultural development challenges and opportunities in the country/region to which the person has been appointed.
  • Demonstrated experience engaging with regional networks and building strong partnerships with different categories of stakeholders, which includes senior decision makers at national and regional levels and donor agencies.
  • Demonstrated skills in managing programs and personnel, including experience forming, operating in and leading interdisciplinary teams that have delivered high-quality outputs on time and according to budget.
  • Fluent in English – both written and verbal.
  • Experience producing high quality written proposals, reports and academic papers. Proven ability – to communicate research results to stakeholders at different management levels in multiple countries.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with coworkers, managers and other stakeholders in a multicultural setting, with sensitivity and respect for diversity.