Why WASH organizations need to hire and grow business-savvy leaders

Ghana_Sama Sama Launch_IMG_3045 (1)

Valerie Labi, iDE WASH Director in Ghana, speaks at the launch of Sama Sama, a sanitation social enterprise in northern Ghana.

By Yi Wei, iDE Global WASH Director

Every organization knows the pain and disruption caused by bad hiring decisions, or waiting for an employee to develop the necessary skills to excel in a position he or she is not a fit for. I work for iDE, a nonprofit organization that has been implementing market-based development programs for over 30 years. When it comes to successfully managing a sanitation marketing program, hiring business-savvy program leadership is critical.

If we truly want to drive progress towards the U.N.’s goal to “ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all,” I believe these four things should be considered by any organization working in WASH:

  1. Invest in recruiting talent with business acumen.
  2. Identify and develop business leadership skills.
  3. Incentivize potential leaders competitively, taking into account the opportunity cost candidates face forgoing potentially lucrative private sector positions, and not just the prevailing wages of the nonprofit labor market.
  4. Incubate and foster an organizational focus on training and knowledge sharing.

Dive deeper into the four strategies for building a business-savvy team. 

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