From flexibility and availability to language skills and stress management, find out if you are ready.
Working as a Humanitarian Affairs Officer (HAO) with MSF can be heart breaking work. Where people are distraught, displaced and affected by disease, it is the HAO who reaches out to collect testimonies and bring them back for MSF to use. These testimonies allow MSF to expose the impact that conflict and neglect have on populations and to advocate to alleviate suffering.
Our Humanitarian Affairs Officers are usually based in the capital of the country they work in, and are responsible for gathering information from all actors involved in disaster or conflict they are working in and using it to develop strategic advocacy and communications to support how we operate in situations that jeopardise our access to patients, our voice and our principles. Their primary job is the ‘witnessing’ component of MSF’s work, documenting disasters and conflicts without bias in order to bring the plight of their victims into the public eye.
This can include beneficiaries, other INGOs, UN agencies, MSF staff and parties to the conflict. The information they gather is then collated, analysed and used to draw up unbiased reports on a wide variety of issues. These could include: the efficacy of the response of humanitarian actors to a crisis, speaking out about war crimes committed against civilians by armed actors or collecting testimonies from women who have experienced sexual violence due to poor security in IDP camps.
MSF’s voice can be instrumental in surpassing the limits of humanitarian assistance.
A Humanitarian Affairs Officer will be expected to:
- Participate in the definition and targeting of advocacy messages to raise awareness of medical-humanitarian issues at local/national levels, such as:
- Violence, displacement and protection issues.
- Availability, access, quality of medical assistance
- Principled humanitarian action
- Prepare analysis and advocacy written material for internal and external use (briefings, letters, position papers)
- Develop and maintain relationships with local authorities (state-based and traditional) and communities, UN agencies, and other humanitarian actors and international stakeholders to promote MSF priorities and concerns
- Establish working relationships with relevant local and regional non-state actors, think tanks, academic institutions, human rights organizations to coordinate and time initiatives
- Collaborate with Project Coordinators, the Medical Coordinator, and the Head of Mission to support the development of coherent operational strategies addressing the medical-humanitarian situation
- Perform targeted research and provides data analysis concerning the local context to support projects and inform medical-operational programmatic orientations
- Undertake stakeholders’ analysis (power, resources, and key actors) seeking to provide a better understanding of local dynamics to increase acceptance and improve operational and advocacy responses to populations in need
- Monitor and compile regular updates on humanitarian aid system dynamics (NGO/Donor planning) and interactions with local authorities (both state-based and traditional) to increase the local impact of MSF lobbying in line with its operational plans, regular activities and overall medical-humanitarian advocacy objectives
- Review data collection system already in place at project and mission level
- If needed design and implement data collection systems with regards to medical and humanitarian issues in order to provide reliable information for the development of both operational and advocacy strategies
- Where appropriate, support the Medco with adding a humanitarian affairs/advocacy angle to the design of operational research.
- Lead discussions, trainings, briefings, etc. about MSF principles, international humanitarian law, medical ethics, and advocacy at project level to raise awareness of MSF national and expatriate staff on these topics
- Academic background to Master level in one of the following fields: anthropology/social/political sciences, law, gender studies, protection.
- Training in writing and research in the field of humanitarian affairs
- Fluency in French and English
- At least one previous mission in a similar role with an international NGO
- Experience in humanitarian advocacy
- Strong organizational and communication skills
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines and strong ability to multi-task
- Good understanding of current humanitarian debates and of the dilemma/compromise nature of modern humanitarian interventions
- First-rate writing skills and excellent research / analytical skills
- Willingness to work and travel in unstable security environment
- Fluency in Spanish, Russian or Arabic