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Humanitarian affairs officer

Working as a humanitarian affairs officers (HAO) with MSF can be tough but hugely rewarding. 

HAOs help MSF to expose the impact that conflict and neglect have on the people we serve and to advocate for them. They also ensure we maintain access to our patients. From carefully building a sensitive advocacy strategy to writing reports on the exclusion of certain communities from medical care, the role of an HAO is incredibly varied.


Our HAOs are usually based in the capital city with frequent travel to our projects, and are responsible for gathering information from all actors involved in the situation they are working in. They then use this to strategically advise on how MSF operates and communicates in situations that jeopardise our access to patients, our voice and our principles.

An HAO will be responsible for some or all of the following:

  • 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 and 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 organisations to coordinate and time initiatives
  • Perform targeted research and provide 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
  • 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 affair
  • One year of field experience in Advocacy or communications with MSF or similar INGOs
  • Experience in humanitarian advocacy
  •  Fluency in English
  • Strong organisational and communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines and to multi-task
  • Good understanding of current humanitarian debates and of the dilemma/compromise nature of modern humanitarian interventions
  • Excellent writing and research skills
  • Willingness to work and travel in unstable security environments
  • Knowledge of French and or Arabic languages
  • Academic training or qualification in communications

Apply now

MSF is an equal opportunity employer and does not charge any application, recruitment, medical examination or training fees. 

MSF is committed to giving staff working in their home countries opportunities to take their valuable experience to work in our projects overseas.

If you are an MSF member of staff working in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia or Sudan who is interested in working outside of your home country, please approach your HR coordinator for details. They will be able to advise on the process, the criteria and where to apply – via our website or directly with the headquarter office you are currently working for.