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Our mission

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) relies on a network of healthcare and other professionals outside the healthcare realm. These professionals assist people facing crises by carrying out our humanitarian activities in conflict zones, epidemics, natural disasters, and other emergencies. Each year more than 30,000 locally hired staff are joined by more than 3,000 international staff to provide medical care in over 500 humanitarian projects around the world. Join us to find out what it's like to have a career working as a humanitarian delivering critical medical assistance where it's needed most.

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At MSF, we are looking for skilled medical and non-medical professionals to help deliver emergency humanitarian assistance. We recruit from Canada and elsewhere to support our operations around the world. MSF is recruiting staff for projects located in countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, and Yemen. We are looking for professionals who not only align with our values and mission but who will also help shape the future of the MSF movement by speaking out about what we see, inspire action and connect people. Being part of MSF’s overseas team is much more than simply like being in a “working abroad program.”

An MSF staff is preparing doses of COVID-19 vaccines at the MSF vaccination center in Bar Elias (Bekaa Valley).

“Humanitarian responsibility has no frontiers.”


Explore a humanitarian career with MSF

Our internationally hired staff come from a wide variety of background. They also join the organization at many different stages in their respective careers. In 2020, 269 Canadians went on an international assignment with MSF. Of those, 59 were working abroad with MSF for the first time. Working with MSF as part of our emergency medical interventions can be an excellent chance to develop new skills for doctors, nurses, field coordinators, logisticians as well as finance and HR professionals . You can accumulate valuable experience that can be transferred to other international assistance environments. As a result, many of our staff find themselves able to pursue career paths back in Canada that were not previously available to them.

“We often have medical and paramedical professionals who, after a couple of work assignments with MSF, return to the Canadian job market with a higher level of responsibility thanks to their MSF experience, which progressed to see them hold management or senior leadership roles,” says Joel Teurtrie, field human resources manager with MSF in Canada. “One common example is with nurses, many of whom have been able to step out of clinical roles while on work assignment and into management positions – something that is not necessarily easy to do in the Canadian context.”

Joel Teurtrie, Field Human Resources manager with MSF

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Use your skills to have a real impact, while gaining valuable new skills

MSF is looking for qualified Canadian professionals who can bring their unique skillsets and experience to our dynamic teams of locally and internationally hired staff and have a real impact in humanitarian work, whether it is supporting the logistics of a vaccination campaign in a remote location or transferring clinical skills and leadership to ensure quality of care for patients.

MSF also provides many opportunities to develop skills that can be transferred to other areas of professional life. We hire for roles that offer plenty of opportunities to formally develop a skill set that goes beyond technical qualifications and creates potential for growth.

Changing historical imbalances

Working towards equity, diversity, and inclusion

When working as an internationally hired staff in an MSF project, it is important to be aware of the broader dynamics and structures that are in place and impact our work .

Though we recruit a smaller number of staff internationally, this group has historically occupied a disproportionate number of senior management positions in the countries where we work. This has led to a lack of diversity among our leadership teams and boards.

We are working to change this to reflect a stronger representation of equity-seeking communities at all levels of the organization, with discussions and initiatives happening across the organization.

Among our actions to address this issue, we have designed specific development packages to offer career paths and training aimed at giving equitable opportunities to our staff worldwide to grow as a talent within the organization including in senior positions.

We have opened a sixth operational centre located in West Africa, run mainly by senior MSF staff from the region with the aim of bringing operational management and decision-making closer to the countries where we work. Until 2019, all five of MSF’s operational centres were based in Europe.

“The colonial roots of the humanitarian sector, and the power imbalances that have been normalized for centuries, require us all to learn from history, question our assumptions and actively challenge the status quo. Striving for equitable power distribution, seeking a variety of lived experiences and creating practices that reflect the realities of marginalized groups, all of this is critical to fulfill MSF’s social mission.”

Christiane Essombe, former strategic Advisor for equity, diversity, and inclusion at MSF

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Find your fit

A role working at MSF can take many shapes and forms. We need support in logistics, HR, finance , pharmacy, clinical research, nursing, counselling, anesthesiology, maternal health, sanitation and supply chain management. Before you start diving deep into the kind of roles we have, we recommend taking some time to self-reflect on the most important aspect of job search: you.

“Beyond the technical skills needed to do the job well, candidates need an additional level of preparedness and reflections on the particular challenges of MSF work.”

MSF recruitment officer

The assignment life

Working overseas for MSF means living and working together. The hours are long, the living conditions are modest, and the projects may be in remote and harsh environments often with limited resources and amenities.

The challenging nature of international work assignments and resulting constraints necessitate innovation and improvising with the limited resources and supplies available. This could mean limited medical equipment, simple living conditions, mobility restrictions to follow strict security measures and fewer leisure activities including possibly no jogging in the park or going for a bike ride for a while.

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I want to know …

Is this like joining a volunteer abroad program?

No. Going on assignment with MSF requires solid, transferable experience (at least two years) and going through a rigorous recruitment process and induction. You have a contract, expectations to fill and often a heavy workload. It is a job with many responsibilities in a complex and challenging context.

How long does the recruitment process take?

The application process on average takes around three to six months.

How long is an assignment or placement?

The length of an MSF assignment abroad is between six and 12 months for all professions, except for medical specialists such as anesthesiologists, surgeons and obstetricians/gynecologists who, due to the specificity of their work, are placed in projects from six weeks to three months.

Do I need to speak another language to work for MSF?

English is the official MSF language. However, fluency in another language will significantly enhance your application and the possibility of placement. At the moment, demand is high for fluent French speakers. Other languages of interest include Arabic and Spanish.

May I request placement in a specific country?

It's not possible to place staff according to their specific country requests. We recruit applicants into a pool before matching them to a specific position based on their skills and experience. We expect candidates to be flexible about where they work so we can meet the needs of our projects. However, your special skills, languages and questions related to security will be taken into consideration for each placement, and ultimately it is always your choice to accept or not accept an assignment.

What qualities and experiences will help me succeed in an MSF role?

There is no single way to be a great humanitarian – MSF’s workforce is made up of people with a great variety of skills, professional and lived experience, personalities and strengths. Everyone’s experience will be unique, and everyone brings different insights and perspectives. That is what makes MSF assignments so dynamic, interesting, meaningful and challenging.

Qualities that will always help people succeed and adapt to the nature of our work include: flexibility and adaptability, ability to work well in a team, openness and resilience.

All questions answered here

Watch previous livestreamed information sessions