Upper Tana Water Fund Executive Director Job Vacancy in Kenya - The Nature Conservancy

Position Title: Executive Director - Upper Tana Water Fund 


Upper Tana Nairobi Water Fund (UTNWF/the Trust) is a charitable trust established for the sole purpose of undertaking and promoting source water protection work within the watershed that supplies water to the city of Nairobi and its environs. The Trust mobilizes financial, material and technical support from both the public and private sectors, which it channels to upstream watershed keepers to continue conservation work with three clear goals, namely (i) Conserved Nature (ii) Clean water for all (iii) Community Livelihood Benefits for the participants.

The Trust has a fully functional Board of Trustees (BOT), with ten Trustees, a Board of Management (BOM), with eight directors, and a Counties Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising of eleven members. The Trust also has a staff capacity with five full-time staff, five government seconded full time staff and fifteen youth working on short-term contracts. The Trust further engages three NGOs to lead frontline conservation work. These are CARITAS, SACDEP and NDEKA, all of whom engage professional staff to support field activities.

The Trust has sustained conservation investments of at least one million US Dollars annually, guided by its 2015 Business Case[1]. So far, the Trust has been able to reach over 51,000 farmers in highly erodible and degraded parts of Upper Tana. These farmers are now growing over 3.6 million trees, have developed over 15,000 farm water pans and are practicing numerous sustainable land management technologies. There is a significant number of successful case stories and testimonies from the beneficiaries and the number keeps growing by the day.

Rationale of engaging an Executive Director

The Trust has transited into a fully independent organization guided by a 5-years strategic plan. The Trust seeks to engage a visionary leader to guide its establishment and provide both the strategic and operational leadership needed to implement the strategic plan while maintaining and growing relationships with strategic partners.

The Executive Director implements the vision and strategy of the Trust guided by the Board of Trustees. The Executive Director serves the Chief Executive offer, providing leadership in identifying the business priorities, sets objectives while directing staff and supporting the Board of Trustees. They will seek assistance and advise from the Board of Management and Counties Advisory Committee members making operational decisions and ensuring the Trust’s financial and organizational success. The Executive Director is responsible for full implementation of the strategic plan.

Responsibilities of the Executive Director

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the Trust, staff, programs, and execution of its mission.


  • Actively participates in the development and assumes responsibility for the implementation of the overall strategic direction of the UTNWF in accordance with the vision, mission, values, strategic plan and goals approved by the Board of Trustees.
  • Drafts policies for approval by the Board of Trustees and prepare procedures to implement the organizational policies.
  • Review existing policies on an annual basis and recommend changes to the Board of Trustees as appropriate.
  • Act as a professional advisor to the Board of Trustees on all aspects of the Trust’s activities, on issues and concerns related to the Trust, and on trends and emerging issues in the external environment.
  • Foster effective collaboration between the staff and the Board of the Trustees, as well as foster teamwork among staff and other supporting partners.
  • Enforce adherence to legal guidelines in-house policies to maintain the Trust legality and business ethics
  • Make high-quality investing decisions to advance the Trust and increase profits/resources (Resource mobilization skills)
  • Analyze problematic situations and occurrences and provide solutions to ensure the Trust survival and growth.
  • Act as a spokesperson for the Trust in alignment with the Board of Trustees in maintaining positive corporate image.
  • Manage official correspondence on behalf of the Trust as appropriate.


  • Ensure appropriate financial management of the organization’s budget, including appropriate bookkeeping and accounting procedures are followed.
  • Ensure appropriate and timely reporting to the Board of Trustees and funders.
  • Work with the Board of Trustees to prepare, manage and execute comprehensive annual budgets.
  • Approve expenditures within the authority delegated by the Board of Trustees.
  • Ensure Trust’s files and records are appropriately safeguarded and managed.
  • Identify and evaluate the risks to the Trust (e.g. impact to conservation partners, staff, management and donors) with respect to property, finances, goodwill and reputation. Implement measures to mitigate and control risks.
  • Review financial and non-financial reports to devise solutions or improvements.


  • Be an effective communicator and spokesperson so as to engage stakeholders via media and direct channels.
  • Provide guidance and oversight to ensure supporting partners are kept abreast with the Trust’s status, plans and opportunities.
  • Create marketing plans and content to increase awareness and partnerships.
  • Research funding sources, oversee the development of fundraising plans, create funding proposals and implement fundraising activities.
  • Explore and develop new revenue sources, such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes, in order to broaden the funding base of the Trust.
  • Build trust relations with key partners and stakeholders and act as a point of contact for important stakeholders
  • Develop high quality business strategies and plans ensuring their alignment with short term and long-term objectives


  • Provide strategic guidance and oversight on community engagement to the Board of Trustees or to other partners.
  • Maintain and develop strong community connections and partnerships, and pursue continued innovation in, and communication with all stakeholders.
  • Ensure the Trust is represented at community activities to enhance the Trust’s community profile and reputation.
  • Determine staffing and volunteer requirements for effective and efficient organizational management and projects delivery.
  • Establish good working relationships and collaborative arrangements with community groups, funders, government agencies, educational institutions and others as required to help achieve the mission of the Trust.


  • Oversee the efficient and effective day-to-day operations of the Trust using Board-approved policies and procedures.
  • Develop and implement operational plans which oversee the Trust’s programs and projects.
  • Establish a positive, healthy and safe work environment in accordance with all relevant legislation.
  • Ensure that the operation of the UTNWF meets the expectations of its donors, Board of Trustees and other stakeholders.
  • Oversee all operations and the Trust activities to ensure they produce the desired results and are consistent with the overall mission.
  • Plan, convene and facilitate effective meetings for the various governance organs through preparing meeting agendas, proposing topics for discussion/review, compiling reports, determining and initiating follow-up actions.
  • Support the work of task groups and Board sub- committees.


  • Manage staff and volunteers using human resources policies, procedures and practices including hiring, orientation, training, evaluation and/or performance reviews, discipline, when necessary termination, and update and maintain current job descriptions for all staff and volunteers.
  • Coach and mentor staff as appropriate to improve performance.
  • Plan for future staffing requirements and develop hiring plans to effectively deliver programs and services.
  • Lead and motivate subordinates to advance employee engagement and develop a high performing team
  • Consult with the Board on an on-going basis and as needed regarding human resources plans and staffing activities.

The Duration

It is envisaged that the Executive Director role will be for permanent employment after a successful probation period.

Candidates for the position of Executive Director

  • The position is open to candidates who previously served in a leadership role, such as Executive Director preferably in an environment, business or conservation related field (5-10 years preferred). Evidence of resource mobilization and fund investment experience will be an advantage.
  • A proven record of developing and maintaining collaborations and partnerships.
  • History of strong, passionate engagement and involvement with multicultural and multilingual efforts.
  • Experienced in authentic engagement with community voices to lead and direct organizational strategy.
  • The candidate should have prior experience with managing staff and volunteers.
  • Demonstrated history of fundraising and ability to effectively relate to individual, corporate and conservation donors.
  • Good communicator and comfortable speaking in public, and with diverse audience.
  • Experience developing organizational or program messaging and running marketing campaigns.
  • Experienced in developing and overseeing budgets and ensuring the financial well-being for a program or organization.
  • Is a Big-picture, systemic thinker with the ability to make great things happen and also exercise judgement on how to effectively balance those efforts with organizational stability.
  • Has an understanding of best practices for Non-Profit organizations, with knowledge on how to implement these best practices.
  • Must be willing to submit to a background check.
  • Understanding of a Non-Profit budgeting process preferred.
  • Experience in developing profitable strategies and implementing visions
  • Strong understanding of corporate finance and performance management principles
  • In-depth knowledge of corporate governance and general management best practices
  • Post graduate degree is required. Equivalent experiences in a related field may be considered.

Term of Service for the Executive Director

The Executive Director role will be on permanent employment subject to six-month probation period. Anticipated start date for the position is May 1, 2023.

How to apply

Applying for the Position of Executive Director

Interested candidates for the position should submit their application comprising a detailed application letter explaining why they are fit for the position, and an up-to-date CV (not more than 4 pages). These should be sent electronically, in PDF format, addressed to the Chairperson: director@nairobiwaterfund.org by 4pm March 29, 2023, East Africa time.

[1] https://tnc.box.com/s/8ovi6rewv1susvkb9xa95ghj9gia9evv