Deputy Director

Water Witness International
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

Job Summary and Purpose

This is a new, senior and influential position within a people-focused and dynamic NGO, which will place the successful applicant at the heart of the global struggle for an equitable and more sustainable future.

We are seeking a high calibre candidate with a broad range of experience across international development, programme management and organisational leadership. The post-holder will be responsible for ensuring impact, value-for-money and high integrity across all our operations (currently Tanzania and Malawi); effective management and development of our team of 12 staff; budget planning, oversight and donor reporting; external relations, partnership
development and fundraising; and will work closely with the Director, the Trustees and team to shape future strategy and programmes.

The Deputy Director will be based in our Edinburgh Headquarters but will be required to visit our programmes in Malawi and Tanzania, and represent us globally, as required. We are looking for someone who has exceptional organisational, financial management and team leadership skills, with the experience, vision and confidence to steer our future growth and to help our young team fulfill its potential. The ability to establish and maintain effective
relationships with partner organisations in Africa, and to ensure joint ownership and highquality delivery of complex programmes with them will be especially valuable.

This is an excellent opportunity for a gifted individual to help shape a bold and ambitious NGO at an exciting time in its growth, and to build a strong legacy of positive impact through the next step in their career as a leader for sustainable development and social justice.

Duties and responsibilities

The objective of this role is to effectively manage, co-ordinate and lead Water Witness International’s day-to-day operations. These currently include programmes in Malawi and Tanzania alongside two emerging Africa-wide initiatives on stewardship and accountability. These are supported by several different donors including bilateral and multi-lateral donors, Trusts and Foundations and the private sector. The Deputy Director will ensure efficient and high-quality delivery which is owned by local implementing partners and which is managed adaptively to ensure positive impact for our beneficiaries despite the challenging and changing contexts we operate within. The post-holder will lead and support our local and international teams to deliver: community engagement, participatory planning and action on priority water issues; rigorous analysis and evidence-based advocacy; action research on private sector engagement and water stewardship; steering effective coalitions and communities of practice; and monitoring, evaluation and learning. With WWI and its partners the post-holder will also design and lead engagement with new partners and stakeholders to deliver on the organisation’s objectives. Specific responsibilities will include:

1. Operational management of global programmes

  • Collective forward planning against agreed / programme delivery targets, outputs and outcomes
  • Management and mentorship of overseas staff and partners and Programme Support Team (UK), providing direct line management to 3-4 senior staff.
  • Assignment and tracking of tasks and budgets through regular communication, meetings and visits including adaptive management to ensure impact within budget.
  • Commissioning, management and tracking of external contracts and partnership agreements
  • Ensuring quality assurance, statutory compliance and alignment with internal policy across all our engagement, delivery and outputs
  • Regular assessment of organisational systems, training needs and policies to ensure optimal working arrangements and delivery
  • Management of the WWI risk and opportunities register and oversight of mitigation and other actions to maximise impact and efficiency and proactive problem solving.

2. Donor relations, reporting and financial management

  • Principal responsibility for compliance with all donor grants and contracts.
  • Maintaining excellent and constructive relationships with donors and partners through regular meetings and demonstration of added value.
  • With the support of the International Programme Assistant and team – responsible for planning of programme and annual budgets and financial monitoring, reporting and management against these.
  • Overall activity and workload planning and scheduling of the organisation's work in line with programme plans, logframes and budgets.
  • Oversight of organisational monitoring, evaluation and learning, including ensuring rigorous and compelling documentation.
  • Responsible for compliance with WWI financial manual and updating, refinement of systems as required.
  • Tracking and management of all WWI assets and ensuring adequate facilities/ accommodation.

3. Strategic development, communications and fundraising

  • Working in collaboration with the Director, Trustees and team, development and leadership of strategic planning and delivery which will ensure the relevance, impact and resourcing of the organisation and its key partners.
  • Oversight of communication activities to ensure that these are timely, effective, fit for purpose and adequately resourced.
  • Contribute to or lead on communication, outreach and presentations which advance the organisation’s objectives and builds constructive relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Represent and negotiate on behalf of the organisation with partners, beneficiaries, donors and stakeholders.
  • Lead oversight of the organisation’s fundraising strategy and activities to ensure adequate future resources and outcomes in line with our strategic objectives and priorities.
  • Identify funding opportunities and lead / coordinate submission of fundraising bids.
  • Scope, build and maintain excellent relationships with the network of partners, donors and influencers of strategic importance to WWI.

The post-holder will maintain a flexible approach required within a small and growing organisation and will deputise for the Director or others, or undertake other duties, including representation of the organisation and partners, as required.

Key working relationships and logistical arrangements

The successful applicant will be part of the team of 5-6 professionals based at our offices in Edinburgh. They will report to the Executive Director, and will work closely with the Director to lead the organisation's operations, to plan and account for our annual budget of around £0.5M and our future growth. They will be responsible for ensuring high impact delivery by our teams based in Blantyre, Malawi and by our trusted and long-term Tanzanian partner, Shahidi wa Maji, based in Morogoro.

Person Specification

The successful applicant will be able to demonstrate the following:

Experience and qualifications:


  • A postgraduate degree in a relevant field (International Development, Management, Sciences).
  • Demonstrable flare in programme design and management and leadership of diverse and dispersed teams.
  • Considerable experience and confidence in the planning, administration, tracking and reporting of budgets, including in multiple currencies.
  • A very strong track record in monitoring, evaluation, learning and donor reporting.
  • A proven team player, able to mentor, delegate and collaborate within a multi-cultural team to deliver positive change for vulnerable communities.
  • Track record in effective concurrent management of multiple programmes and initiatives.
  • Right to work and live in the UK.


  • Excellent level of understanding and experience of the water, climate or natural resource sectors, and/or social accountability and the political economy of development.
  • Relevant experience and networks in Africa and globally.
  • Experience of implementing ICT for development activities.

Skills and attributes:


  • A strong communicator, both as a speaker and author, with a high degree of competence in using IT tools, platforms to support efficient delivery
  • Exceptional people management skills.
  • Must have advanced skills in MS PowerPoint, Excel, Word and accounting software
  • Ability to lead teams and deliver impact in a fast-paced and challenging environment.
  • Highest levels of professional and ethical conduct.
  • Proven ability to think, plan and act strategically, pro-actively and opportunistically.
  • Must be dynamic, creative, and passionate about delivering positive change in the world.
  • Familiarity with current concepts and approaches within international development.


  • Working ability or fluency in Kiswahili and/or Chichewa.
  • Familiarity and competence in use of social media for development.

How to apply

All correspondence, at this stage, should be via Oxford HR. To apply for this post, click on the “Apply” button in the job advert page and complete our online application form. Please provide a CV and Cover Letter in ONE single document, which should be prepared before applying as they will be requested in the application process.

The statement should be no more than 2 pages long and explain why you are interested in this post and how your skills and experience make you a good fit.

For advice on how to write a successful statement, please see here.

N.B. The document should be saved in MS Word in the following format: Your First Name-Your Last Name-Document Name-Date (yymm) e.g: Pat-Jones CVandStatement-1502


Closing date: 8th of October
Preliminary interviews: w/c 15th of October
Final Panel Interviews: The 1st and 2nd of November

Equality Statement

Equality and diversity is at the core of Water Witness International’s values. Staff are expected to work collectively and individually to promote a constructive and sensitive approach to others from a variety of backgrounds, where the work of others is valued and respected.

Selection Process

All candidates will receive feedback. Shortlisted candidates may be required to undertake an additional assessment prior to the final interview.


If you have any queries on any aspect of the appointment process, need additional information, or would like to have an informal discussion, please email in the first instance.