Aquaya Hiring Senior Research/Program Manager

Senior Research/Program Manager

Preferably based in Ghana or Kenya (to begin as soon as possible, preferably no later than January 2024)

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 multiple Senior Research/Program Managers (‘Senior Managers’) to support ongoing research programs. These full-time positions are preferably based either in Ghana or Kenya and require extensive travel across Africa. The Senior Managers will be responsible for managing research program activities, including, but not limited to:

Program/project management

  • Coordinate activities across multiple team members and countries
  • Develop and monitor timelines for completing project milestones
  • Develop, modify, and successfully manage project budgets
  • Delegate tasks to and/or supervise other employees and contractors as needed
  • Oversee execution of contracts/MoUs with partners, sub-grantees, and contractors
  • Organize and tactfully lead partner meetings and manage partner communication
  • Lead fieldwork logistics and data collection activities with minimal oversight
  • Prepare summary presentations to report to funders

Research management

  • Develop research protocols and data collection tools
  • Manage the ethical approval process and ensure that ethical principles are respected
  • Lead training of data collection teams
  • Develop and administer effective QAQC methods to ensure data quality
  • Manage and analyze quantitative and qualitative datasets
  • Lead the preparation of project presentations, reports, briefs, and publications
  • Participate in the presentation of results at conferences and workshops

The Senior Manager is anticipated to support a variety of research projects, including but not limited to:


The Water Testing, Research, and Capacity Strengthening (WaterTRACS) program includes two primary interrelated components: (1) water quality data collection and analysis at the community, household, school and health care facility levels and (2) a fellowship program that provides resources and opportunities to cultivate a pipeline of skilled water professionals (additional details here).

For five years (2021-2026), this initiative is committed to leading water quality monitoring and trend analysis at the community, household, and institutional levels in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda. Collaborations with local universities, laboratories, and government stakeholders are central to this effort. The program generates statistically representative data on water quality to rigorously inform strategies to improve water safety.

Water Quality Assurance Fund

Aquaya launched the Water Quality Assurance Fund (‘Assurance Fund’) in 2020, 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.

The Assurance Fund thus, “assures” the laboratory that it will not suffer losses due to the non-payments of testing fees. 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.

Aquaya is currently implementing the Assurance Fund in Ghana and Kenya, and evaluating its impacts on water safety management via randomized, controlled trials. We also have prospects to introduce the Assurance Fund in Uganda and Tanzania in 2024.

Criteria for the position

The following qualifications are necessary for this position:

  • Demonstrated experience in managing research programs related to water or sanitation. 
  • Master’s degree – preferably in engineering, science, environmental science, or a related field. Ph.D. is preferred.
  • 6+ years of work experience in research and/or project management (or 2+ years in addition to a Ph.D.)
  • Experience in the management and execution of research staff, research processes, and knowledge-focused initiatives.
  • Previous international work experience in Africa.
  • Ability to analyze quantitative data in Excel, R, or Stata.
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Fluency in English.
  • Ability to travel to field sites approximately 25% of the time (this is an estimated average and is subject to fluctuation).

We are also looking for the following skills and attributes:

  • Good problem-solving and time-management skills.
  • Strong work ethic and a commitment to delivery.
  • Outstanding organization with an attention to detail and an ability to 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 [email protected] and a thoughtful cover letter. Once your resume is received, there will be an additional screening survey and activity. This position will be open until filled.

Please explain why you are interested in Aquaya’s mission and activities in your cover letter. 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 only consider applications with a cover letter. In your e-mail subject line, please specify “Senior Manager 2023”. No phone calls, please.

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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