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Utility Director, Uganda

Water Mission

Water Mission

Jinja, Uganda
Posted on Friday, March 29, 2024

Who is Water Mission?

Water Mission is a Christian engineering nonprofit that builds safe water solutions for people in developing countries, refugee camps, and disaster areas. Since 2001, Water Mission has served more than 8 million people in 61 countries, sharing safe water and the message of God’s love. Working at Water Mission is as much a calling as it is a career, and we are searching for people with the courage, passion, and drive to help us change the world. Read more about our Statement of Faith and Christian Mission.

What is the opportunity?

Water Mission is hiring a Utility Director to launch and scale a new water utility in Uganda. This position is based in Jinja, Uganda and will report to the Director of Professionalized Services. The Utility Director will be initially hired as a Water Mission employee while the new company is established for the water utility in Uganda. At the launch of the new company, this position will be transferred to the company’s leadership structure.

In line with the Water Mission’s five-year goals, the organization is launching a private regional water utility to meet the safe water needs of rural communities in Uganda, particularly at the household level. Water Mission’s utility approach has the high potential to provide reliable, quality water service delivery for large service areas in Uganda. The Director will oversee water systems designed for scale and longevity, manage a predictable budget, and operate with the stability of a professionalized utility that is integrated with the government at the national level.

The Utility Director will be responsible for launching and scaling a rural water utility in Luuka District, Uganda. The utility will be contracted by the Government of Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment, to deliver professionalized water services within the mandated service area. As such, the Utility Director will represent the utility as a service provider with sector stakeholders and work to ensure a healthy bottom line for the business based on customer satisfaction and retention, and market growth. The Utility Director will also ensure the utility meets annual key performance targets and other contractual requirements as agreed with the Ministry.

The position requires an entrepreneurial, self-starter, and strong leader who can co-develop the utility structure, including departments and management teams. The Utility Director will be responsible for refining and implementing an annual business plan that supports the utility’s capacity to manage thousands of household connections in the service area.

As the head of the utility, this position will supervise the departments that oversee all business operations, including sales & marketing, finance & administration, operations & maintenance, human resources, and customer service. This includes supervision of a small managerial team that is planning, developing, and executing strategies with Water Mission and utility staff, as well as developing a new customer base through market research and customer engagement. The Utility Director will frequently make key business decisions based on data and evidence from the customer market.

A successful Utility Director will:

General Duties

  • Maintain a strong Christian witness and model servant leadership to colleagues, partners, the communities we serve, and the public.
  • Maintain high-level knowledge of Water Mission’s organizational objectives, programmatic strategies, projects, and activities. Stay informed of local, regional, national, and global news and issues to support the organization effectively.
  • Effectively communicate about the global water crisis and Water Mission’s private water utility to various audiences.
  • Utility Staff & Team Oversight and Administration (40%)
  • Supervise department heads.
  • Ensure human resources processes and systems are designed to support overall utility performance metrics and a commitment to high-quality service delivery for customers.
  • Drive results by creating a culture of performance and integrity within the utility, starting with leadership.
  • Lead development of annual budget setting based on financial performance expectations.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Government Strategic Engagement & Partnership Management (20%)

  • Be a Utility champion, representing and advocating for the Utility’s brand to existing and future customers, as well as to all external stakeholders, including sector regulators, social impact investors, donors, and local and national government and community leaders.
  • Maintain strong and positive working relationships with government and counterparts, including the Ministry of Water and Environment and the Water Utility Regulatory Department (WURD), toward ensuring a successful growth trajectory through a solid reputation of the Utility.
  • Set effective key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets.
  • Update business plan and request annual tariff increases on an annual basis with government’s authorizing entity.
  • Lead negotiation process for government contracts, permits, taxes, permissions, and any other legal requirements for business operations in the service area.
  • Lead strategic planning for the 10-year expansion of the service area, including geographic locations and customer segments.

Utility Management (40%)

  • Responsible for overall operations, maintenance, and improvement of water service delivery schemes in Luuka District.
  • Monitor the company’s Profit and Loss performance and provide oversight to continuously improve the utility’s bottom line, including cost recovery or profit targets.
  • Oversee capital maintenance expenditure fund and advise on opportunities to improve cash flow and forecasting and scheduling of major repairs and replacements.
  • Advise Water Mission on utility organization and operations for Uganda and other countries of operation.

What is required?

  • Personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Alignment with Water Mission’s Statement of Faith and core values of Love, Excellence, and Integrity.
  • 8-10 years of experience in management, operations, business development, or similar field.
  • 5 or more years of relevant experience in rural or peri-urban WASH sectors; experience managing safe water enterprises is preferred.
  • Experience working in multiple countries in East Africa; preference for experience in Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Kenya.
  • Solid understanding of the political economy associated with rural water service delivery.
  • Experience in strategic planning and budgeting for a social enterprise water utility or WASH organization is preferred.
  • Experience developing a comprehensive and effective sales and marketing strategy for water services to new customer markets; Excellence in customer service strategy is preferred.
  • Experience with Decision Intelligence sales strategy is preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; additional education is a plus, preferably in international development, business, or engineering fields. MBA is a plus.
  • Experience in strategic planning, business development, revenue projection, project management, and public speaking.
  • Experience in leading dynamic teams to deliver revenue targets and other key performance targets.
  • Cross-cultural communication experience.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to clearly articulate ideas and feedback constructively.
  • Home internet bandwidth strong enough to support video conferencing and other job-related responsibilities is required.
  • Ability to travel domestically for up to one week, four to eight times a year.
  • Ability to travel internationally for up to two consecutive weeks, approximately twice a year.
  • Flexibility to work periodic nights and weekends as required for organizational needs.
  • Commitment to the values and mission of the organization and ending the global water crisis.
  • Legal authorization to work in Uganda.