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This is a general overview of the minimum requirements for working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). These requirements may change in response to organisational and field needs.
At least 2 years of professional experience
We require a minimum of 2 years of relevant professional experience in your field of expertise. Please refer to your specific profession for detailed information on the additional technical skills required for each position.
Availability and mission duration
For most profiles, we require a minimum availability of 9 to 12 months for the first mission
For your first mission, most profiles are expected to have an availability of 9 to 12 months. The duration of subsequent assignments may vary according to the project needs and activities.
We ask for longer-term availability on first assignments due to the degree of responsibility our workers are expected to assume; the time needed to acclimatise to a project and context; and the need for continuity among field staff for the benefit of both our locally hired staff and our patients.
Certain assignments may also require departure at short notice, as some of our projects are launched in response to sudden crises. We are always looking for candidates who are committed to a long-term career in humanitarian aid.
Fluency in English is required with a minimum level of:
- B1 for CEFR/Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or;
- 4-5 test scores for IETL/International English Language Testing System.
Other working languages are an asset (e.g. Arabic, French or Spanish) and will allow for more opportunities for placement. For other languages, fluency is valuable but not essential—a competent level of spoken language will be sufficient.
Experience in low resource, remote or rural areas
Previous work experience in low income, remote or rural areas and developing countries is desired.
Ability to live and work in a diverse team
A Doctors Without Borders team is made up of medical and non-medical professionals from an array of nationalities and cultural backgrounds living and working together. The hours are long and the living conditions may be basic and offer little privacy.
You will need to possess good interpersonal skills and a willingness to interact with people of all nationalities and cultures. While the rewards are rich, it can be a challenge to work, live, and communicate with individuals whose language or customs are different from your own. Your ability and willingness to engage with this diversity is essential.
Ability to manage stress
Field workers must be able to cope with a difficult and unpredictable environment and adapt to the local culture, living conditions, security regulations and team dynamics. Even in more stable areas, sizeable workloads and team living may cause stress.
You must be able to cope in a difficult and unpredictable environment. Doctors Without Borders offers support to field staff in managing stress before, during and after missions.
Flexibility and adaptability
Situations can change quickly in the field. Responsibilities, movement, security protocols, team composition and working environments may change during your assignment.
Flexibility and adaptability, both personally and professionally, is critical to one's success in a Doctors Without Borders project.
Demonstrated capacity for team management, supervision and training
Doctors Without Borders staff may be placed in supervisory or management positions in the field. For the majority of positions, one of the primary responsibilities will be to manage a team of local and/or international staff, build their capacity, run training workshops and take on planning and administrative duties for their department, including the performance management of staff members.
Willingness to potentially work in unstable environments and high-security settings
The safety and security of our staff is a priority. You may be asked to live and work in unstable countries or conflict settings. For all of our projects, security assessments and protocols are in place and have been created to limit risks as far as possible. It is impossible to exclude all risks, but we do our utmost as an organisation to mitigate these risks through our strict security protocols.
Working for Doctors Without Borders is a deeply personal choice; individuals must determine for themselves the level of risk and the circumstances in which they feel comfortable.
During your employment with Doctors Without Borders you may be required to write and submit reports, or be involved in data collection. It is a requirement that you have basic computer skills and are comfortable using Microsoft Office applications (e.g. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). While not required, previous experience using any database software may be an asset.
Understanding of and commitment to the Doctors Without Borders Charter
Doctors Without Borders operates independently of any political, military, or religious agenda, observes neutrality, and provides impartial care delivered on the basis of need alone. These principles of action are described in Doctors Without Borders’ founding charter and should resonate with anyone who is thinking of applying to work with Doctors Without Borders.
By applying to work with Doctors Without Borders you should be aware that the organisation strives to provide access to healthcare for the most vulnerable populations, wherever they might be. You should have demonstrable knowledge of Doctors Without Borders’ humanitarian principles, our work around the world, and the humanitarian sector in general.
Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to age, race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. Learn more about our behavioural commitments, and about our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.