Senior Program Officer, Industry Development & New Product Introduction, India

New Delhi, India
Apoorva Tyagi
Role managed by
Apoorva Tyagi Researcher

About the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation pride themselves in being ‘impatient optimists’ whose purpose is to work to reduce inequity. Their vision is to ensure a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. They have four missions to:

  • Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive;
  • Empower the poorest, especially women and girls, to transform their lives;
  • Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest; and
  • Inspire people to take action to change the world.

Key to enabling these missions is their commitment to science and innovation, collaboration and partnership, measurement and rigor, as well as optimism and risk-taking. Based in Seattle, the foundation has a worldwide staff of 1,500 people and is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. They have offices in the United States, Europe, India, China, and Africa.

The Global Growth & Opportunity (GGO) division works to catalyze sustainable transformative change in the face of inequities and market failures, to realize the potential of untapped markets, and to see the economic and social benefits of including everyone. It focusses on the areas of Agricultural Development; Financial Services for the Poor; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; and Gender Equality. It seeks solutions that are sustainable, transformative, and inclusive with an eye toward applying technology innovations as well as data evidence to drive change in the world’s developing countries.

You can find further details on their website: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/

WSH Team

The goal of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program strategy (WSH) is to enable universal access to sustainable sanitation services by supporting the development of radically new sanitation technologies as well as markets for new sanitation products and services.

4.5 billion people worldwide lack access to safely managed sanitation, and millions of these people live in dwellings whose sanitary facilities, if any, are connected to poorly managed septic tanks, cesspools or latrines. Health impacts of poorly managed sanitation are severe, resulting in the preventable deaths of approximately 500,000 young children, and lifelong stunting and cognitive impairment of many more children.

Traditional sewer networks have historically been the preferred sanitation solution among urban planners and governments. However, this large and centralized infrastructure is often not the most sustainable, nor financially or technically feasible solution in developing countries, and often does not reach informal settlement populations and other vulnerable groups for a range of reasons including sewers not extending beyond central business districts, challenging topography, lack of legal recognition by government, or project cost estimates that don’t include the costs to connect poor households to sewers.

These factors make non-sewered sanitation solutions (NSS), also known as onsite sanitation systems, more context-appropriate and adaptable in many urban contexts. The Water, Sanitation & Hygiene team focuses their efforts and resources towards advocating and developing an end-to-end ecosystem promoting NSS. This is achieved through:

  • Policy, Advocacy, and Communication (PAC) targets focus regions to promote national policies and increase government accountability for responsible fecal sludge management (FSM). In addition, focus is also placed on advocating for funding innovative non-sewered sanitation interventions globally.
  • Transformative Technology Commercialization (TTC) supports upstream development of innovative technologies that practically address the sanitation challenge and respect the realities of developing world needs. Current focus has shifted towards bringing these pathogen-killing technologies to market through diverse and locally relevant commercialization strategies.
  • Urban Sanitation Markets (USM) places emphasis on developing the market and ecosystem for city wide inclusive sanitation services, regulation, and transformative technologies. This includes building the capacity of those responsible for sanitation services to develop appropriate business models and build effective NSS systems and infrastructure. This is achieved through collaboration with local and national governments, development banks, universities, and other NSS champion organizations.
  • Measurement, Evidence, and Dissemination for Scale (MEDS) is tasked with strengthening the evidence base for successful and innovative sanitation programs, supporting smart measurement and indicators within our grant making, and helping the NSS sector more broadly implement evidenced based programming through dissemination of findings.

India is a focus country for the WSH strategy; which is led by Deputy Director/Country Lead from our India Country Office in New Delhi.

There, all aspects of the afore mentioned strategy are implemented for impact in the country. With a strong set of grantees and networks supporting national, state and city governments, the India office has helped set the country on a positive trajectory for implementing Fecal Sludge Management (FSM) and inclusive sanitation policies.

SPO Industry Development & New Product Introduction Role Profile

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is looking for people who enjoy the opportunity of working on complex problems and collectively creating solutions that have the potential for transformative change in the lives of people around the world.

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will be responsible for stimulating the introduction, adoption and scale of innovative sanitation technologies in India. He/she will accomplish this by developing a strong network of commercial, technical and related ecosystem partners to ensure the sustained supply and support of new technologies and innovations as well as by extending advances made in urban sanitation to new states in India using existing platforms created by the team.

Stimulating adoption of innovative sanitation technology:  In strong coordination with WSH team members from both India and the US (e.g. Seattle, WA), support the commercialization, market development, adoption and scale up of breakthrough sanitation technologies such as the Reinvented Toilet and Omni Processor.

Catalyze FSM scale: Build strong relationships with government partners at city, state and national level to continue attention on sustainable, safe sanitation for all. Extend relationships in new states to focus on FSM while continuing to build momentum and commitment to the sanitation agenda overall.

The imperative for the program is based on urgency of reducing the rates of death and disease due to poor sanitation. The success in this role will contribute to saving and improving many millions of lives.

This will report to the Deputy Director/India Country Lead for WSH.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Grant Making & Management: Identify, develop, structure, and manage new grants and contracts that execute against our programmatic goals. These investments will build upon and develop pro-poor inclusive sustainable service models; demonstrate and scale innovative sanitation technologies; and create viable FSM business models within the framework of both public and large consumer groups.
  • Market Development: In collaboration with the Seattle-based WSH program strategy team, coordinate with business partners to promote the adoption and successful commercialization of sanitation innovation.  Work with existing WSH commercial partners to design and execute go-to-market strategies that enable the advancement of this new sanitation industry in India. Develop a pipeline of potential Indian commercial partners and work with WSH technology partners to broker deals for commercializing and taking products to market in India and abroad.  Advise commercial partners on their own go-to-market strategies for the Indian market and partner with them on product roll-outs in India.  Advocate for policies, regulations and standards that boost new sanitation technology adoption. Support the development of a local ecosystem of service providers, operators, manufacturers/ distributors, etc. engaged in the Reinvented Toilet and Omni Processor technologies.
  • Partner relationships: Develop relationships within the sector to find the most promising opportunities and engage relevant actors (who may not necessarily be from the sanitation sector) as innovations are developing. Expand the pool of partners engaged with sanitation that serves the poor. Support the creation and development of multi-stakeholder partnerships (e.g. government, city authority, private sector and development partners) to scale the best practices. Interact and communicate clearly and consistently with grantees and partners in the field.
  • Represent the foundation: To key external constituencies, including participation in conferences and meetings and to government, private sector leaders, and key funding institutions. Disseminate our emerging experience and approach to inclusive non-sewered sanitation and the role of transformative technologies.

Leadership & Culture

The Foundation believes that energized people, working well together, fuelled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do extraordinary things.

Required Competencies

  • The candidate will be experienced engaging with both Indian corporates /business leaders / and senior government officials:
  • A strong familiarity and experience with how Indian companies approach business opportunities to commercialize and launch new product categories or significant innovation is essential to meet the challenges listed above. You must have experience on market development strategies and be able to represent our technologies and products, with a strong business analytical approach.
  • A strong understanding of government procurement procedures to support commercial partners, with experience working with responsible government entities in this process.  
  • Significant experience and proven skills engaging with government officials at senior levels.
  • Experience working with a range of clients, colleagues, consultants, and other partners with broad exposure to private, public and international development sectors.
  • Strategic problem-solving skills to structure the analysis needed to address a complex and ambiguous question; within the resources and time constraints provided.
  • Demonstrated initiative to solve unstructured problems with little oversight, creativity, high energy, and a positive attitude.
  • Top-notch organizational and project management skills and an ability to prioritize work based on minimal direction and multiple competing priorities.
  • Excellent skills in relationship management, communication, collaboration and presentation.
  • Strong project management capabilities.
  • Comfortable in a wide range of cultural, geographic and operational situations, demonstrating culturally sensitive behavior with a diverse range of people.
  • Ability to travel up to 30% of time as necessary.
  • Commitment to the foundation’s core values, mission and programs with an approach that is consistent with the foundation’s guiding principles while holding oneself to the highest ethical standards.
  • Experience in working across a diverse set of disciplines and expertise, all the while being a team player, with a demonstrated ability to work with flexibility, efficiency and diplomacy in an exciting, challenging environment. 

Qualifications and Experience

  • Undergraduate degree in Business, Engineering, Sciences, Planning, or equivalent experience. Advanced degree (e.g. MBA, MA/MSc, PhD) strongly preferred.
  • 10+ years of relevant work experience in the private sector and/or work with industry development consulting with strong background in marketing and commercialization approaches.
  • Sanitation or water sector experience desired.

Terms of Appointment

This is a full-time position. As part of standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

If you wish to be considered for this position, please forward a copy of your CV in Microsoft Word and PDF format, along with any relevant documentation to Ms. Apoorva Tyagi, at [email protected].


SRI Executive is exclusively retained by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to undertake this assignment.

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