Cokie van der Velde is not your typical grandmother. She has travelled to 14 countries with MSF, working as a logistician and a water sanitation engineer on infectious disease projects.
“My job in Sudan could not have had a job description. It spanned a range of responsibilities, from 'traditional' water and sanitation tasks, to becoming organised enough to be a logistician, patient enough to be a teacher, diplomatic enough to be a manager, and energetic enough to do this 12 hours a day, six days a week”
If a water source becomes contaminated it can quickly turn into a medical crisis. Water and sanitation specialists are responsible for the design and management of water and sanitation projects. Water projects can range from setting up clean water sources in refugee camps to managing the emergency provision of drinking water after a natural disaster.
Sanitation work could involve appropriately siting and building latrines or taking care of waste management in a hospital.
Find out from Cokie van der Velde what it means to be a water and sanitation expert with MSF.
Cokie has worked with us in 14 countries, battling infectious diseases like cholera in Zimbabwe and the Ebola epidemic in Liberia and Guinea.
- Education in Civil Engineering, Water and Sanitation, Land and Water Management (preferably international), or similar
- Significant work experience in water and sanitation
- Experience in managing, supervising and training others
- Available for a minimum of nine months
- Minimum of three months work, volunteering or travel experience in developing countries
- Willingness to work in unstable areas
- Adaptable and able to work in a multicultural team
- Flexible and able to manage stress
MSF is currently looking for water and sanitation specialists with good French skills. If you speak French to a level where you can be placed in a French speaking mission such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Chad or Central African Republic, you are much more likely to be accepted onto the MSF register. Arabic skills are also in demand.