Global International Affairs Director

  • Nonprofit Full Time
  • International (Remote)
  • City: London, Washington DC, New York, Brussels, or Berlin

Website wateraid WaterAid

Water is life

Location: London, Washington DC, New York, Brussels, or Berlin

Reporting to: Global Director, Policy and Campaigns

Manages: Five direct line reports

Annual salary: United States: $150k depending on location; United Kingdom: £73k – £80k

Status: Full-time


WaterAid is an International not-for-profit, determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. Since we started in 1981, we’ve remained resolutely focused on tackling these three essentials that transform people’s lives.

Without all three, people can’t live dignified, healthy lives. With all three, they can unlock their potential, break free from poverty, and change their lives for good. Children grow up healthy and strong, women and men get to earn a living, whole communities start to thrive. It sounds normal and it should be.

Purpose of role

With less than 10 years to achieve Agenda 2030, the SDG 6 targets on clean water, decent sanitation, and good hygiene are among the furthest behind. Achieving universal, sustainable WASH will require a major mobilisation of resources, public demand, and political will.  The successful candidate will play a major role in WaterAid’s focus on using global campaigns to deliver ambitious change at national level. This post will operate at the international level, working with colleagues across WaterAid to lead advocacy, targeting multilateral institutions (such as UN agencies, the World Bank and EU institutions) and donor governments such as UK and Germany.

What we are looking for

·        Someone who can build strong relationships.

·        Someone with a basic understanding of politics in different countries/markets.

·        Able to influence political change.

·        Someone that thrives in motivating, empowering and developing a team.

Primary responsibilities

Vision and direction

·        Articulate a clear vision for the organization’s insider influencing approach in key donor countries and multilateral institutions; lead the organization and the team to implement this vision and help deliver an increase in the scale and impact of WaterAid’s global influence to accelerate progress towards SDG 6.

Advocacy strategy development and implementation 

·        Lead and coordinate, partnering with leaders across WaterAid, the delivery of effective advocacy strategies for multilateral institutions and donor governments, considering both inside and outside approaches to achieve WaterAid’s advocacy objectives.

·        Lead and coordinate our high-level lobbying, to ensure WaterAid is expanding its network of influencing and effectively influencing institutions at the highest levels in a credible way.

·        Work collaboratively with colleagues from across the WaterAid Federation (Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Sweden, UK, and USA) to identify the specific contribution of key donor governments to the achievement of WaterAid’s priority campaign and advocacy objectives.

·        Work with the Global Campaigns Director to ensure that our influencing is furthering campaign objectives.

·        Work with the Global Policy Director to ensure that our influencing strategies are credible and authoritative, rooted in WaterAid’s policy analysis and messages.

·        Work in collaboration with the institutional fundraising team to ensure that WaterAid’s positioning and objectives with regards to these organizations are strategically aligned.

·        Work across teams on monitoring and measuring impact of our advocacy, and campaigning work to maximise effectiveness, efficiencies, and impact.

Strategic influencing approach

·        Lead the development of key advocacy messages aligned to priority campaigns, ensuring that WaterAid’s objectives have traction with key decision makers, and resonate with influential audiences.

·        Lead and manage the development of a coherent approach to influencing multilateral institutions and donors, integrating a range of disciplines and encouraging innovative tactics to achieve political change.

·        Lead and manage the development of a coherent approach to influencing the UK Government and Parliament that integrates a range of disciplines and encourages innovative tactics to achieve political change. Promote integrated approaches to achieving campaigns, advocacy objectives, and cross-organizational ways of working.

·        Lead and manage the development of a coherent influencing approach to the European Union, working closely with WaterAid Sweden to design and implement it.

·        Lead and manage the development of a coherent influencing approach to the German Government.

·        Work with the Global Media Team and other stakeholders, across the organization, to design impactful messaging for external audiences maximising the power of the media to help achieve WaterAid’s advocacy objectives, helping position WaterAid as a credible voice in relevant public debates.

·        Lead and manage the identification of key public and private influencing opportunities at the international level, in key donor governments and working with others in the campaigns and policy teams, to maximise WaterAid’s strategic engagement to achieve advocacy objectives.

·        Lead the team to keep abreast of complex and fast changing political debates and monitor emerging trends internationally, in key donor governments, to inform WaterAid’s political positioning; ensuring the organization’s advocacy is responsive and relevant.

High- level influential and WASH champions

·        Lead the programme to identify high level champions for WASH, that can help us increase our impact at global and national level.

·        Lead and manage the building and steering of relationships with these influential figures, coordinating across functions and geographies to ensure that we build strong strategic relations that are long lasting, as well as serve tactical influencing purposes.

External representation

·        Lead the strategic expansion of WaterAid’s relationships with key multilateral institutions, including the UN, EU, and World Bank and other multilateral development banks to deliver on WaterAid’s global advocacy agenda.

·        Lead and manage the development of WaterAid’s UK political networks, forging strong relationships with key players across the political spectrum to maximise WaterAid’s influence in the UK, Brussels, and Germany.

·        Build the reputation and relevance of WaterAid through representation in key external forums.

·        Liaise with WaterAid Country Programmes, Federation Members, and regional colleagues to strengthen collaboration and further WaterAid’s advocacy agenda at the international level.

·        Work with communications colleagues to support senior WaterAid representatives to act as spokespeople on the organization’s global advocacy priorities.

Team leadership and management

·        As a member of the Department’s Senior Management Team, take shared responsibility for shaping both the department and WaterAid’s global influencing approach, championing a matrix style of working with teams and colleagues around the world.

·        Line management of five members of the International Affairs team, responsible for advocacy targeting the G7/20, IFIs, EU, UK, and German Government.

·        Work closely with other members of the federation to ensure that WaterAid’s positioning and influencing with key actors is aligned and impactful.

·        Closely collaborate with the Global Policy Director and the Global Campaigns Director to strategically coordinate, align, and maximise the impact of WaterAid’s campaigns and advocacy at international, regional and national levels.

·        Responsible for International Affairs team budget, designing and implementing sound plans that represent good value for money for WaterAid, collaborating with key teams to streamline financial processes and budgeting.

·        Deputising for the Global Director, Policy and Campaigns, as needed.


Required experience

·        Proven track record of developing and delivering high impact influencing strategies at international level, including, working to influence multilateral institutions and key donor governments to achieve tangible policy change.

·        A strong track record of achieving policy and advocacy objectives through effective insider influencing approaches.

·        Robust knowledge of international development, key players and how to influence change in this policy landscape.

·        Experience in managing, coaching, motivating and developing a high performing team. Able to work in a matrix, flexible, or distance management culture to deliver change.

·        Extensive experience of high-level lobbying, managing significant political relationships and risks.

·        Extensive experience of using the media to achieve political objectives.

·        Experience of complex and effective project management.

·        Experience of working in a large organization to achieve change.

·        Ability to successfully manage complex and sensitive organizational relationships to achieve cross-organizational, collectively agreed goals.

·        Effective management of finances, and effective utilisation of financial processes and information.

Required attributes

·        Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills, including a keen political ‘savviness’ and proven application in order to achieve political change.

·        Creative and accurate written and verbal communications skills in English.

·        Excellent interpersonal skills to develop sensitive organizational relationships.

·        Ability to travel extensively.

·        Commitment to WaterAid’s values and a working style that reflects these.

Desired attributes

·        Proficiency in another language, preferably French or German.


WaterAid is fully committed to protecting those whom it comes into contact with.  WaterAid is committed to ensuring that, wherever we work in the world, there is no tolerance for the abuse of power, privilege, or trust. WaterAid reinforces a culture of zero tolerance towards any form of inappropriate behaviour, abuse, harassment, or exploitation of any kind. The safeguarding of our beneficiaries, staff, volunteers, and anyone working on our behalf, is our top priority, and we take our responsibilities extremely seriously. All staff and volunteers are required to share in this commitment through our Global Code of Conduct. We will conduct the most appropriate pre-employment references and checks to ensure high standards are maintained.

For more information about safeguarding at WaterAid, please visit our safeguarding webpage at:

We’re committed to changing normal forever—are you?

To apply for the post

Please send a letter of application no more than one page outlining your motivation for the job and when you would be able to start with your CV/resume (maximum two pages) in English and in strict confidence by email only to Ruth Gardner at

Please ensure that they are sent as pdf documents with the titles “your name cover letter” and “your name CV” Please put “WaterAid – Global International Affairs Director” in the email subject line. Also please let us know where you saw the post advertised.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 22nd of January 2023

Daryl Upsall International actively promotes equality, diversity and inclusion. In recruiting candidates, we seek candidates with the proven skills required; irrespective of race, gender, religion or belief, age, disability or sexual orientation.

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