23 Jun 17
Emily GilbertEmily GilbertBritishProject CoordinatorDemocratic Republic of Congo

Podcast: From conflict zones to curtain shops

"I used to envy the delegates that walked into our office in London when I worked for another humanitarian organisation in their HQ. I used to brief them on things I knew so little about and inside was secretly wishing I was them. Now I am them and what I hadn't taken into consideration is that at a certain point it becomes hard to get out."

In the latest episode of our Everyday Emergency podcast, we speak to Emily Gilbert. An MSF project coordinator from London, Emily has spent her entire career working in conflict zones.

Whether she’s in the Middle East or Central Africa, Emily’s main roles are to make sure her team is safe and that the project she’s managing runs as smoothly as possible. With a typical MSF project having 4-12 international and up to 200 local staff, it's by no means an easy job.

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In this episode, Emily also discusses a common problem many humanitarian workers deal with: balancing working in far-flung places and maintaining relationships back home.

"You're trapped in a world of to-ing and fro-ing, with no solid base and a network of family and friends from whose contact lists you gradually drop off as you have less and less time to spend with them," says Emily. 

"And when you do have time, you have fewer and fewer things left in common: 'I got a great bargain in Debenhams the other day - new curtains for half the price.' I really want to be able to relate, but it's becoming harder to."

Follow the link below to read the full story that Emily refers to in this episode.    

© Robin Meldrum

Project coordinators like Emily play a vital role in making sure we provide the best quality care for our patients.

To make sure our teams are safe to work, our project coordinators are constantly talking with leaders of communities, local governments and armed groups to make sure they understand that MSF is a neutral and impartial organisation.

It’s their job to explain that we provide free medical care to people who need it. It doesn’t matter where they are from, which religion they belong to, or what their political affiliations are. All that matters is they are people in need. 

This understanding is what keeps our teams safe. 

We're always on the lookout for new people to join the MSF movement. If you're looking for a new challenge and you would like to become an MSF project coordinator, visit the link below to find out more.

becoming an msf project coordinator >