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 maintains 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 advice on how MSF operates and communicates in situations that jeopardize our access to patients, our voice and our principles.

Bearing witness

The primary job of an HAO is using the ‘witnessing’ component of MSF’s work to advocate for MSF and the people it serves, documenting disasters and conflicts without bias in order to bring the plight of their victims into the public eye. This can include beneficiaries, other INGOs, UN agencies, MSF staff and parties to the conflict.

Unbiased reporting

The information they gather is then collated, analyzed and used to draw up unbiased reports on a wide variety of issues. These could include: the efficacy of the response of humanitarian actors to a crisis, speaking out about war crimes committed against civilians by armed actors or collecting testimonies from women who have experienced sexual violence due to poor security in displacement camps.   



  • Academic background to Master level in one of the following fields: anthropology/social/political sciences, law, gender studies, protection
  • Minimum of two years relevant work experience with data collection, qualitative research, human rights monitoring, etc. 
  • Minimum one year of field experience;  working in a humanitarian or development context.
  • Experince in humanitarian advocacy
  • Good understanding of current humanitarian debates and of the dilemma/compromise nature of modern humanitarian interventions
  • First-rate writing skills and excellent research / analytical skills
  • Available to work 9 to 12 months

DESIRABLE experience and other skills


  • Knowledge of other languages, in particular French and/or Arabic
  • Previous international experience with INGOs, UN agencies, human rights organizations or protection. 

before you apply


Because Doctors Without Borders' purpose is to bring medical assistance to people in distress, the work may occur in settings of active conflict, or in post-conflict environments, in which there are inherent risks, potential danger and ongoing threats to safety and security. Doctors Without Borders acknowledges that it is impossible to exclude all risks, but it does its utmost as an organization to mitigate and manage these risks through strict and comprehensive security protocols.

Please watch this video for information on how MSF manages security.

Field workers will be fully informed of the risk associated with a potential mission before accepting a particular posting. Working for Doctors Without Borders is a deeply personal choice; individuals must determine for themselves the level of risk and the circumstances in which they feel comfortable, based on a full and transparent understanding of the possibilities they may face. Once in the mission, all Doctors Without Borders staff must strictly observe security rules and regulations; failure to do so may result in dismissal.

stories from the field

What is it like working with MSF? See our blog posts and videos for personal insights and stories from Canadian fieldworkers.

terms of employment

Doctors Without Borders field workers are employees with a salary and benefits. See more information on the terms of employment.

Doctors Without Borders favours at least 2 years of active commitment during which time field workers complete 2 to 4 field assignments. There are many possibilities for professional growth within the organization, into the medical, non-medical and coordination streams. For more information on learning and development as well as career opportunities with Doctors Without Borders, see our FAQ.


As you consider applying to undertake a Doctors Without Borders field mission, is it essential that you have a well-informed and realistic personal reflection. Field assignments often mean long hours with a heavy workload, basic living conditions, and working and living in often chaotic and volatile environments.

Despite such challenges, thousands of people have worked with Doctors Without Borders over the years and found their experiences in the field to be deeply rewarding, even life-changing. More than anything else, being a Doctors Without Borders field worker means acting in solidarity with people facing unimaginable medical challenges. Your presence alongside people in times of need sends a profoundly meaningful and human message: "You are not forgotten.


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