Executive Director

Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)
Geneva, Switzerland
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Background Information - Job-specific
WSSCC is a global, multi-stakeholder membership and partnership organisation that works with poor people, organisations, governments and local entrepreneurs to improve sanitation and hygiene at scale. It strives “to enable all people and especially women, girls and those living in vulnerable situations to practice the right to sanitation and hygiene across the course of their lives with dignity and safety.” Founded in 1990, WSSCC’s work contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, target 2, with far-reaching impact on related SDG targets for health, education, women’s empowerment, reducing inequality, improved urban spaces and climate change mitigation. WSSCC facilitates sector coordination nationally, regionally and globally, and engages rights holders and duty bearers to adopt policy guidelines and stimulate action that improves menstrual health and hygiene management, including equal access for persons with disabilities. WSSCC also supports national sanitation and hygiene improvement programmes through its Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), coordinates knowledge platforms, and advocates on behalf of those left behind.

In 2019 WSSCC is midway through a Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and has started the development of a new Strategic Plan and of a fundraising strategy. The Executive Director will be expected to lead WSSCC’s effort to reach the targets of the 2017-2020 strategic plan and to contribute to the vision and successful implementation of the forthcoming Strategic Plan and the associated fundraising strategy.

The Executive Director reports to the Chair of the WSSCC Steering Committee, and for administrative requirements to the UNOPS Europe and Central Asia Regional Director. With the 35-40 people strong Secretariat based in Geneva, the duties of the Executive Director are wide ranging and demand exceptional leadership and management skills in addition to very sound technical skills.
WSSCC is hosted by UNOPS. Within its three core areas of expertise, infrastructure, procurement, and project management, UNOPS provides its partners with advisory, implementation and transactional services, with projects ranging from building schools and hospitals, to procuring goods and services and training local personnel. UNOPS works closely with governments and communities to ensure increased economic, social and environmental sustainability for the projects it supports, with a focus on developing national capacity. UNOPS’ mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development. 

With over 7,000 personnel spread across 80 countries, UNOPS offers its partners the logistical, technical and management knowledge they need, wherever they need it. A flexible structure and global reach mean we can quickly respond to our partners' needs, while offering the benefits of economies of scale. In Geneva, UNOPS is the legal and administrative host for a number of UN entities, of which the Water Supply and Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is one.
Further to working closely with the staff in the WSSCC Secretariat the Executive Director will also frequently interact with Senior Staff within UNOPS, the UN Secretariat, Mission Heads in Geneva and New York, other UN offices, funds, programmes and specialised agencies, representatives of Governments and representatives of non-governmental organisations, and Chairs and members of intergovernmental bodies.  

Functional Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership and Management

  • Provides clear, effective and inspirational leadership and strategic direction to the Secretariat;
  • Ensures the successful implementation of WSSCC’s current strategic plan and contributes to the vision and successful implementation of the next Strategic Plan;
  • Positions WSSCC as a key actor in the SDGs, specifically in the sanitation, hygiene and water landscape, by leading representation, ensuring strategic influence, advocating for human rights to basic water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services and championing the need for collaborative action to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
  • Encourages growth, continual improvement and innovation throughout the organisation; embraces and drives change to improve programme quality, delivery and accountability to ensure that WSSCC remains a resilient entity in a time of increasing political, economic and social complexity;
  • Ensures that WSSCC’s organisational structure is in line with the needs of the strategic plan;
  • Leads and coordinates all efforts to urgently mobilise additional financial resources in order to sustain the organisation. Ensures the development and management of an effective and proven resource mobilisation strategy which underpins WSSCC’s viability and growth, emphasises WSSCC’s strengths, and includes a specific focus to diversify the Core Donors/Funding Sources while maintaining close engagement and aligned interests with current Core Donors;
  • Provides leadership to WSSCC’s Senior Leadership Team, ensuring cohesive and effective team operations and optimal staff motivation; provides regular supervision and annual performance appraisal for the Senior Leadership Team members and ultimate oversight of all Secretariat personnel;
  • Ensures all operational structures, systems and processes are in line with UNOPS rules and regulations. Provides leadership in optimising timely, cost-effective arrangements that meet value for money expectations and fiduciary standards. Works in close cooperation with the designated local UNOPS portfolio manager and team to ensure smooth operational support and adequate problem-solving, where necessary.

Steering Committee

  • Supports the efforts of the Steering Committee in setting policies and strategies. This includes regular, high-level strategic analysis, advice, and communication in its direction-setting and risk management roles, in active collaboration with the Chair of the Steering Committee;
  • Facilitates and promotes communication between the Steering Committee and partners on policy and programme issues. This includes regular monitoring and reporting of progress toward key targets;
  • Communicates on a regular basis with the Chair of the Steering Committee on emerging issues. Escalates to the Steering Committee any operational challenges at an early stage that need its support, including any resource deficiencies;
  • Participates in meetings of the Steering Committee as a non-voting member.

Global Advocacy and Communications

  • Working closely with the Steering Committee Chair, acts as primary spokesperson for WSSCC. Articulates and communicates the WSSCC strategy and vision to external stakeholders;
  • Builds a credible network and community of influencers through which WSSCC can nurture and spread ideas and catalyse action in pursuit of SDG 6 as a whole and target 2, in particular;
  • Liaises with key partners and agencies, including regional entities;
  • Updates partners, including donors, directly on progress against the WSSCC Strategic Plan;
  • Identifies opportunities to grow and strengthen the WSSCC brand at global platforms and forums;
  • Positions WSSCC to undertake a fundamental role in shaping policies and programmatic roadmaps that account for Equity and Non-Discrimination (EQND) and Leave No One Behind (LNOB);
  • Establishes and maintains an active role in the WASH sector and in relevant SDG platforms and forums. Ensures clear WSSCC visibility in SDG discussions;
  • Ensures that WASH remains high on the global health and development agenda.

Country Engagement & Implementation

  • Undertakes a robust approach to relationship, client management and partnerships, ensuring effective dialogue and collaboration with national governments, international and national civil society, UN agencies, donors and private sector partners at country, regional and global levels;
  • Directs and supports strategies to ensure overall country ownership and adequate allocation of resources for implementation.    

Performs other tasks as directed by the Steering Committee Chair.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent), in public health, social science, international development, public policy and administration, or related area.


  • A minimum of fifteen (15) years of progressively responsible experience in advocacy, strategy development and implementation, resource mobilisation, programme management, and/or related area, preferably with a combination of service in either the public, private, or non-profit sectors at an international level is required.
  • Demonstrated success in leadership roles developing and managing policy and advocacy organizations, programs or initiatives requiring a combination of strong analytical, writing and management skills.
  • Experience working with policymakers and advocates for global, regional and country level policy and advocacy, with preference for working knowledge of WASH sector, or health.
  • Experience in public health or social development involving work with community organizations, private sector, entrepreneurs, local governments.
  • Working experience in Asia and/or Africa.
  • Experience in partnership building and management with various organizations such as multi-stakeholder initiatives, UN agencies, NGOs, governmental organizations, donors, private sector, foundations, civil society.
  • Proven experience of successful management of multidisciplinary teams in complex projects/initiatives with proven ability to handle financial and human resources and to motivate staff.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the role of advocacy and communications efforts to increase awareness of health/ development issues and build political/financial support for health and development goals in the developing world with governmental, private, and non-state organizations.
  • Proven track record of building trust-based relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Experience creating and executing strategies that persuade key stakeholders to take action that will advance shared interests and business goals.
  • Aptitude to work with flexibility, entrepreneurship, and diplomacy both individually and as part of a complex team effort.
  • Media management skills are highly desirable.


Fluency in English (both oral and written) is required; good working knowledge of French is an asset.