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Ärzte ohne Grenzen: Humanitarian Affairs Advisor (f/m/d), 17.5.

The overall purpose of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is to preserve life and alleviate suffering, while protecting human dignity and seeking to restore the ability of people to make their own decisions. MSF accomplishes this through the provision of medical aid and a personal commitment to act as witness to events surrounding populations in danger. This work is essentially performed in periods of crisis, when a situation is no longer held in balance and the very survival of a population may be threatened. The underlying basis for realising MSF’s objectives is respect for medical ethics, humanitarian principles, human rights and international humanitarian law.

In the Operations Centre Amsterdam (OCA), MSF-Germany, Holland and the UK are sharing ownership and responsibility for Operations in field missions. Three of the operational portfolios in OCA plus the Emergency Desk are managed from Amsterdam, while two portfolios are run from Berlin. In addition, a medical unit (Manson Unit) is based in London. Each portfolio of countries is supported by a team of Advisers (the Operational Support Team, OST), led by the Operational Manager (OM). The Humanitarian Affairs Adviser is part of the OST.

The advocacy work of MSF is rooted in contexts in which violence, abuse, and neglect fuel medical and humanitarian crises. In places like Yemen or Chad, violence, outbreaks of cholera and measles, and malnutrition claim lives every year. In Ethiopia, people fleeing violence and persecution face a choice between life in a displacement or the dangers of travels to seek asylum in countries with restrictive policies that often render people vulnerable to smuggling and trafficking networks. In Russia, Sierra Leone and central Asia, entire populations are threatened by the ongoing tuberculosis (TB) pandemic and the emergency of resistant strains for which effective treatment is not available.

In all these contexts, MSF’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 are increasing alongside advocacy to ensure that civilians’ access to healthcare and protection is not affected by the very containment measures introduced to fight COVID-19.

The work of MSF must navigate complex political landscapes. Extremist violence; the increase in control and restrictions by states; attacks against health care personnel; and the ongoing manipulation of both aid supplies and the humanitarian discourse by political and military leaders are challenges that threaten our ability to operate in a principled manner in many countries.

I. Terms of Reference

Position: Humanitarian Affairs Advisor (f/m/d)
Job location: MSF-Germany, Berlin
Starting Date: 20th June 2020
End Date: Two year contract, extension possible
Job dimension: fulltime 100% (40 hours per week)

Overall objective of the position
The Humanitarian Affairs Advisor is a member of both the Berlin Operations Desks and the OCA humanitarian affairs team. The advisor is line managed by the Operations Manager in Berlin and receives functional management support from Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator in Amsterdam.

Currently, seven OCA missions are being managed from Berlin: Yemen, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Russia/Belarus, Uzbekistan/Tajikistan, and Sierra Leone.  The Humanitarian Affairs Advisor will provide support to all of these missions in addition to working thematic issues and the departmental priorities of the Humanitarian Affairs Team.

The position is based in Berlin headquarters with frequent travel to the field (up to 30% of the time). Regular presence in Amsterdam is also required for management supervision, planning, and fluid engagement with the Humanitarian Affairs Team.

II. Tasks
The work of the Humanitarian Affairs Advisor in Berlin will include both support to MSF operations in key countries and thematic work.

Country support includes:

  • Supporting the desk and field teams in identifying critical medical and humanitarian concerns based on political, contextual, health policy and systems analysis;
  • Guiding the development and implementation of advocacy strategies to address the issues identified and leverage a positive change for the patients and communities which MSF serves;
  • Acting as a sparring partner to the Country Management Team and Operational Support Team on protection issues, humanitarian principles and organizational positioning;
  • Advising the field on the process of the gathering, analyzing and synthesizing information/data to support advocacy goals;
  • Collaborating with Communications Advisors to ensure that communication and advocacy strategies are aligned;
  • Providing functional management, guidance and support for humanitarian affairs officers and Advocacy Managers posted in the field; and
  • Drafting of letters and briefing documents for use in national and international advocacy meetings.

Thematic work includes:

  • Working with the Humanitarian Affairs and Public Health Department teams in identifying and developing key humanitarian and health advocacy themes for MSF, writing papers, organizing discussions;
  • Monitoring trends in the field of humanitarian and medical action and stimulate thinking and responses in collaboration with the Public Health Department and Operations
  • Sharing MSF thinking and analysis through attending debates, workshops and conferences, writing articles and making presentations;
  • Developing and maintaining relevant networks, bringing relevant thinking into the organization;
  • Conducing regular trainings for internal and external actors on humanitarian affairs and advocacy.


  • The HAA is expected to attend OST meeting from Berlin 1 and 2 Portfolio, and participate at strategic consideration discussion (ACP/SCP and Ad Hoc).
  • External stakeholders meeting as per request

III. Your Profile

  • Extensive experience on advocacy in the field of humanitarian action, protection, and health. Part of this experience should have taken place in the field. MSF field experience is highly desired;
  • Academic background in both humanitarian and health areas relevant to MSF’s work, such as international human rights & humanitarian law, refugees & forced migration, international public health, health policy, health systems, health economics. A Master’s degree in a health-related field is desirable;
  • Strong analytical and advisory skills;
  • Proven ability to provide strong leadership, vision and analysis on humanitarian affairs issues and advocacy issues;
  • Ability to translate complex contexts and summarize the core elements into analysis with clear conclusions and recommendations;
  • Knowledge/experience of current issues relating to international health and the humanitarian sector;
  • Familiarity with the functioning of health systems, financing mechanisms, and decision making processes;
  • Excellent communication and training skills;
  • Fluency in English, including proven written excellence (published reports, position papers, etc.) A working knowledge of French is desirable; ; Arabic an advantage;
  • Good team-player, ability to work independently and an affinity for MSF’s work and principles;
  • Ability to travel to the field for extended periods.

IV. We offer:

  • Payment in accordance with internal salary structure; in this position according to group 5, starting gross salary from 3.318,- € and 4.198,- €, depending on individual relevant working experience
  • Benefits: 30 days of annual leave per year, 13th salary, subsidized public transport ticket, regular increases in salary according to salary structure, company pension (from min. 2 years of employment period) as well as free drinks and fruit
  • Meaningful and diversified work within a respectful and positive organization culture
  • Insights on international field projects through regular reports, presentations and exchange with colleagues
  • Possibility of taking an active part in shaping the organization through cross-departmental working groups, regular staff surveys etc.
  • Personal development through in-house trainings and the support of individual training programmes
  • Support on work-life-balance through working remotely, health promotion and an external psychological employee assistance offer
  • A office that is located centrally in Berlin with excellent connections to public transport

As an internationally operating organization, we welcome diversity, open-mindedness and mutual respect. In accordance with our values, we only analyze the professional qualifications in the applications, regardless of ethnical and social origin, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation or age of the applicant.

Information and Application
We’re looking forward to receiving your application until 17th May 2020. Please submit your complete written application (incl. a letter of motivation in English, CV without photo, certificates) by E-Mail to bewerbung.ber@berlin.msf and integrate all documents into one file (pdf, max. 5 MB).

Additionally we kindly ask you to answer to the following three questions (max. 200 words each):

1. Based on information publicly available on Yemen what are the most acute medical and humanitarian issues you can identify for an organization like MSF? Explain your logic.

2. MSF works in a remote rural clinic in an area of active conflict between the central government and armed opposition forces. Cases of alleged torture and sexual violence present frequently in MSF clinics. MSF received a request from the Ministry of Justice to submit patients’ files in order to facilitate the investigation of crimes. What are your considerations in this case? What is your advice to the MSF team?  

3. MSF works in a country where measles outbreaks are increasingly common, costing hundreds of lives each year. MSF surveys show vaccination coverages of 30% in areas where the government reports 97% coverage. Routine vaccination, funded by WHO and several international donors, is hampered by lack of adequate logistics and staffing in state run clinics. What should MSF do to leverage change? Who are the key stakeholders who can influence this situation? How should MSF engage with them and for what purpose in each case?

Further information can be obtained from: Corinne Benazech, Operations Manager, corinne.benazech@berlin.msf.org
For more information about the labour terms and conditions please contact Jenny Hoppe, HR Officer Berlin, jenny.hoppe@berlin.msf.org

Please note that as a donor organisation we don’t cover the travel expenses for a first round interview in Berlin. Thank you for your understanding.

Human Resources Management, Jenny Hoppe
Am Köllnischen Park 1 in 10179 Berlin
Email: bewerbung.ber@berlin.msf.org

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