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FAQ

    WORK FOR MSF

    How can I apply ?

    For employment opportunities at headquarters, we always publish vacancies. You can find them on the page “Join our team in Luxembourg”.

    MSF is always looking for employees who want to work in the field.

    Can I choose the destination ?

    According to MSF charter, the interest in a particular region can never outweigh the commitment. This is primarily to help populations in need, anywhere in the world.

    Can I volunteer when I take an early retirement ?

    Volunteers can work at headquarters in Luxembourg but not abroad.

    What is the average duration of a mission?

    The average duration of a mission can vary widely, from a few weeks in crisis situations to a year or more in a structural project in a stable environment . Applicants must be willing to commit to a period of twelve months.

    Who can work abroad for MSF ?

    MSF looks for different profiles for work in the field. Watch an overview in the section : Searched profiles on the field.

    What are the conditions offered by MSF?

    Expatriates sign a work contract of limited duration, most of them between 6 and 12 months. This status implies rights and obligations, both for the employer and the "voluntary" worker.

    Each expatriate has an insurance covering health care, inability to work, accidents and liability, permanent disability, death, repatriation and loss of luggage.

    MSF assumes the costs of accommodation, transportation from the residence of the expatriate to the place of mission, the visa (the applicant must have a valid passport) and most of the required vaccines to the stay abroad. Once there, every expatriate receives additional compensation called "per diem" to cover their food expenses.

    What are the security risks and how are they managed by Doctors Without Borders ?

    Security risks are inherent to the daily reality of Doctors Without Borders’s work. It is important neither to exaggerate nor to minimize them. These risks are mainly related to the travel, financial and material resources as well as conflict situations (open or latent).

    Doctors Without Borders provides a safety plan for each project depending on the location. In general, it is expected that expatriates adapt to local rules (e.g. traffic rules) and those of MSF. This allows successful integration within the population and reduces risk.

    After a security incident (an accident or another traumatic event), MSF provides psychological support. The organization can also call on an external network psychologists.

    What is MSF policy regarding vacation?

    Expatriates who are on mission for a year are entitled to thirty days of vacation per year. They can take up to twenty days in the field, the rest of the days has to be taken after the end of the mission or after a twelve-month mission (if the total duration of the mission is over 18 months).

    What is an expat everyday life like?

    Living conditions can vary from one country or region to another. MSF is working in all cases to provide its teams with a working environment that promotes the proper functioning of the aid, while taking into account the local standard of living.

    What are the preparations before departure?

    MSF organizes trainings several times a year. These sessions for new candidates include theoretical and practical modules, general and specific, and this, according to the profile of each candidate. In addition, each one receives written information on the country where he will work and the activities that MSF leads there. Finally, several operational briefings, both administrative and general, are also planned.


    MORE ABOUT MSF

    What is the political color of MSF ?

    MSF has no political color. We are absolutely apolitical , neutral and impartial . Under generally accepted medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance, MSF demands complete freedom in the exercise of its function. This is without distinction of race, religion or political life and design. MSF medical staff respects the codes of conduct and maintain complete independence in regards to political, religious or economic power .

    Does Doctors Without Borders cooperate with other organizations on the field ?

    If the situation on the field allows it and if it does not compromise our independence and neutrality, MSF may cooperate with other organizations. Cooperation with local organizations is often very helpful because they know the context better than anyone.

    What is special about MSF compared to other aid organizations?

    MSF must absolutely preserve its unique character and remain an active organization within the society. Through its humanitarian and medical actions, but also through the testimony of what occurs in the field, MSF works in favor of a neutral and independent humanitarian medical aid for people in danger.

    According to MSF, humanitarian action must come with assistance and testimony. This coexistence makes the specificity of the organization. This is possible only thanks to the proximity with patients and victims allowed by the medical act and thanks to a detailed speech with good knowledge of the reality on the field. It is this proximity that gives strength and credibility to MSF’s testimony.

    Unlike other medical relief organizations, MSF considers that it is a big part of her work to testify publicly of abuse that can happen to people it treats, or of the violations of humanitarian law in the areas where the organization is active .

    Does MSF work only in conflict zones ?

    MSF works wherever there is an urgent medical need. That may be in conflict zones, but also, for example, areas affected by a natural disaster or an epidemic.

    In how many countries is MSF active?

    For now, MSF is active in over 60 countries worldwide. This number varies depending on projects launched or closed by Doctors Without Borders according to the evolution of crisis situations.

    To preview Médecins Sans Frontières total activities, you can access the International Annual Report.

    How does MSF decide who will benefit from its assistance?

    MSF examines each situation individually. After the exploratory mission, the team discusses: what are the medical needs and how can our organization make a difference? The decision whether to intervene or not is taken on the basis of medical criteria. Race, political or religious beliefs of the population never take part in this decision process.

    MSF is strictly neutral and impartial. When working somewhere, our organization helps those who need help: victims of all groups involved in the conflict, whether civilian or military.

    What is MSF for children?

    In many places where MSF works in emergencies, children and women are the most vulnerable. According to estimates, 9 million children die each year before reaching five years old.

    In most cases, it is doctors and general nurses who care for children, especially during epidemics or food crises. In some of our largest hospitals, MSF works with pediatricians.

    Is it possible to make a visit to an MSF project in the field?

    With the exception of some journalists, MSF does not send people in the field, mainly due to lack of leadership capacity. It is the same for students wishing to integrate a project during school holidays.

    MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 1999. How are you working to promote peace?

    In October 1999, MSF's efforts were rewarded with the Nobel Peace Prize. This distinction not only recognizes its work in the medical field but also, and particularly, its plea and testimony in favor of endangered populations.

    While MSF is not trying to stop wars and has no means to ensure the protection of civilians against violence, we can however publicly denounce the violations that our teams witness on the field. This notion of testimony, and the tensioning with various powers it implies, is one of the founding principles of MSF.

    Is it possible to visit the MSF offices?

    No visit of our offices is permitted, unless it is part of a wider educational project organized jointly with MSF.

    Is MSF an NGO for development cooperation?

    Unlike development aid, MSF does not aim to build, rebuild or frame populations’ destiny in the long term. These are tasks for which MSF has neither mandate nor legitimacy.

    We intervene in acute crises - conflicts, population displacements, food crises, epidemics, natural disasters, etc. - to help people in danger: it is the idea of humanitarian action developped by Doctors Without Borders. The aim is to alleviate suffering and save lives.

    Is it possible to meet an expatriate to interview him?

    Expatriates mainly give interviews to the media and regularly participate in conferences organized by various organizations and institutions such as schools. Each year, dozens of MSF members lend themselves to this exercise. However, with few exceptions, they do not give interviews to individuals.

    You focus on emergency medical aid. Why don’t you work in the long term?

    MSF started its operations following emergency natural disasters, conflicts, refugee flows, famines, epidemics, etc. Some projects, however, are focused on the medium or long term. These include local collaborations and is an important component of information and training (AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, mental health patients without access to health care, etc.).

    What does the MSF logo mean?

    Our current logo is the result of an evolution of our original logo which was a white cross on a red background. We wanted to change this for two reasons. On the one hand, we wanted to stand out from the Red Cross’ logo. Secondly, we wanted to remove any religious connotation, thus removing the cross.

    We finally opted in 1994 for the logo we know today. The silhouette is ambivalent. It evokes both a human moving and fleeing violence or a person who helps other people. In both cases, there is an active character and the scratches only reinforce this dynamism. Finally, we kept the red as a main part of the logo, just like in the original.