July 2023

Job Alert: Program Officer – Uganda

(Anticipated to start in September 2023) This position is Based in Fort Portal, in Kabarole district, Uganda

About Aquaya

The Aquaya Institute (Aquaya) is a nonprofit research and consulting organization dedicated to advancing global health through universal access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). We deliver critical insights, data, and tools to support informed policy, program, and financing decisions. This knowledge helps to secure safe water and sanitation for vulnerable populations, improving human health and well-being.

Aquaya’s portfolio spans public health, economics, technology development, and social entrepreneurship in over 20 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We have published or contributed to over 40 peer-reviewed research articles and produced numerous other reports and publications.

Aquaya maintains an office in Nairobi, Kenya, and Accra, Ghana. Staff members are also in the US, France, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Morocco. Many of our projects are carried out in collaboration with academic research groups and expert consultants.

About the position

We are recruiting a Program Officer for a full-time position. This position will be based in Fort Portal, Uganda, and will require domestic travel within the country of location, as well as potential international travel across Africa.

Role and Responsibilities

Research Program Execution

  • Assist with the development of research protocols and data collection tools.
  • Manage the ethical approval process and ensure that ethical principles are respected.
  • Lead fieldwork logistics (e.g., procurement of supplies, ground transport, enumerator
    training) and data collection activities with minimal oversight.
  • Ensure the implementation of data QAQC procedures.
  • Clean and manage quantitative and qualitative datasets.
  • Contribute to data analysis.
  • Engage with key stakeholders, including national and local government.
  • Contribute to partner meetings, communication, and reporting.
  • Maintain timelines for completing project milestones.


  • Contribute to project presentations, reports, briefs, and publications.
  • Disseminate findings to local stakeholders.

Criteria for the position

The following qualifications are necessary for this position:

  • Demonstrated experience in research programs related to water or sanitation.
  • Master’s degree – preferably in engineering, science, environmental science, or related field.
  • 2+ years of relevant work experience.
  • Previous work experience in Uganda or similar settings.
  • Ability to conduct fieldwork in rural areas.
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Fluency in English.

We are also looking for the following skills and attributes:

  • Commitment to living in Uganda on a full-time basis is required.
  • Ability to travel to field sites approximately 25% of the time (this is an estimated average and is subject to fluctuation).
  • Good problem-solving and time-management skills.
  • Strong work ethic and a commitment to delivery.
  • Outstanding organization and time management skills, with an attention to detail and an ability to establish systems to manage constant flows of information and deliver on deadlines.
  • Proven ability to work closely with a small team and to successfully manage multiple and changing priorities in a fast-paced, dynamic environment while maintaining a positive and productive attitude and a good sense of humor!

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time position with an initial 3-month probationary period. Aquaya offers competitive salaries that are commensurate with experience. Benefits include medical insurance and enrolment in a pension plan.

To apply

Please submit your resume via e-mail to jobs@aquaya.org along with a thoughtful cover letter. There will be an additional screening survey and activity once your resume is received. This position will be open until filled. In your cover letter, please explain why you are interested in Aquaya’s mission and activities. Please also tell us why your skills, background, and accomplishments make you the ideal candidate for this position, specifically highlighting your experience.

Please note that we will not consider applications without a cover letter. In your e-mail subject line, please specify “Program Officer – Uganda.” No phone calls please.

Details of Program

The officer is anticipated to initially contribute to one of the following projects:

  • Water Quality Assurance Fund
  • Village Savings and Loans Associations

1) Water Quality Assurance Fund
The Water Quality Assurance Fund is a mechanism that incentivizes professional, urban laboratories to provide testing services to dispersed, rural water systems. In the event that a water system is unable to pay testing fees within one month, the Assurance Fund pays the fees on its behalf. It thus provides a guarantee against non-payments to the laboratory. Additionally, to encourage improvements in water safety management, the Assurance Fund program provides capacity building and technical guidance to water operators as well as engagement activities with consumers.

With funding from USAID, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and Helmsley Charitable Trust, Aquaya is working towards piloting the Water Quality Assurance Fund in Uganda. Reporting to the Assurance Fund Manager based in Nairobi, the Program Officer would be in charge of day-to-day implementation activities, such as liaising with laboratories and water systems, helping water operators interpret water quality results, coordinating community engagement, tracking fund finances, and general monitoring and evaluation.

2) Village Savings and Loans Associations
In 2021-2023, Aquaya worked with Kabarole’s District Water Office to experiment with village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) as a platform to collect water user fees. The two-year pilot was promising: ten communities that used to have no reserve funds for handpump maintenance raised an average of 120 USD annually, which prompted the District Water Office to expand the approach to an additional 25 communities.

We are now planning to further expand VSLAs in Kabarole and neighboring districts and evaluate the extent to which they help improve payments for maintenance and water point upkeep, as well as WASH behaviors more holistically, including water treatment and climate adaptation. We also plan to work with district authorities to professionalize the Handpump Mechanics Association so that they can become a formal service provider. The Program Officer would coordinate the execution of all these activities.

Aquaya provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

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