Logistician Vale Eye pumping water from the well in the MSF base in Mbandaka ready to be trucked to the CTC.A cholera epidemic has spread more than 1,000km from Kisangani down the Congo river to the outskirts of Kinshasa, causing major outbreaks in several towns along the way including Bolobo in Bandundu Province and Mbandaka in Equateur Province where MSF\'s Emergency Team (PUC - Pool d\'Urgence Congo) has managed the medical aspects of the response. At the time of writing (18 July 2011) the CTC in Mbandaka is receiving around 20 patients a day and the PUC is evaluating the need for an emergency response in Kinshasa and several other towns along the Congo river. © Robin Meldrum

Technical Logisticians

Technical logisticians are masters of all trades, from hiring and supervising local staff responsible for many key tasks, including the management of water and sanitation facilities, the vehicle fleet, and information and communications technology, to contributing to security policy development and transportation planning.


Mechanical technicians, construction supervisors, engineers, architects, remote camp supervisor


As a technical logistician with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), you will contribute to the functioning of MSF’s programs. Your work varies widely, depending on the assignment, and you can find yourself in charge of managing locally and internationally hired MSF staff accommodation, supervising the construction of infrastructures, fixing electricity in the hospital or training staff on how to maintain the vehicle fleet.

MSF’s technical logisticians come from a range of backgrounds, with skills in electricity, mechanics, construction and plumbing. As such, you will train, supervise and manage a logistics team, while building staff capacity and ensuring safe and fair working conditions. In some projects, you will be responsible for the maintenance and renovation of infrastructures (such as hospitals, clinics, offices and team accommodation) and the setup of mobile clinics.

You will organize the transport of supplies, oversee the maintenance of vehicles and communication systems, as well as ensure the reliability of the project’s power supply. You will also manage administration of the logistic department and oversee the implementation of security protocols.


  • Minimum two years relevant post qualification work experience
  • Practical skills and experience in at least three of the following:
    • mechanics
    • energy and electricity
    • procurement
    • supply chain management (including cold chain)
    • construction
    • water and sanitation
    • IT trouble shooting
    • radio and communications equipment
    • warehousing and stock management
  • Experience in managing staff in a multicultural team (supervision and training)
  • Excellent command of English, as well as French (level B2) or another language (Arabic, Spanish). Refer to this evaluation grid.
  • Relevant travel or work experience in contexts similar to where MSF works (armed conflicts, disasters, public health emergencies or situations of healthcare exclusion)
  • Available to work six to 12 months


  • Bookkeeping, finance and budget management
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office software, including Excel

MSF Core Competencies

  • Behaviour flexibility: Level 2
    • Adapts behaviour to the needs of the situation
  • Teamwork and cooperation: Level 2
    • Shares information and coordinates with team and others
  • Result and quality orientation: Level 2
    • Works towards objectives, preserving established standards
  • Commitment to MSF principles: Level 1
    • Demonstrates knowledge of and accepts MSF’s principles
  • People management: Level 2
    • Gives feedback and sets limits
  • Cross-cultural awareness: Level 3
    • Demonstrates an integrating attitude
  • Stress management: Level 2
    • Manages own stress
  • Understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI): Level 1
    • Familiarity with EDI concepts and their application in a humanitarian context

Familiarity with EDI concepts and their application in a humanitarian context

To find out more about MSF core competencies, please look here.

You can find a comprehensive view of MSF career paths here.

Stories from MSF Staff on assignment

MSF logisticians can come from a variety of backgrounds, such as engineers, construction supervisors, remote camp managers, and many more.

“I was in charge of coaching, managing, construction, fleet management and security. The most challenging part was organization – over there, anything that you plan can change in two seconds, so you have to be very good at risk analysis.”

Jeff, a mechanical engineer from Montreal who worked in the Central African Republic

“In Central African Republic, I started a mass vaccination campaign. I had 30 people to lodge, a 16-car fleet, all the electricity, communication, cold chain to put in place, plus all the procurement.”

Simon, a construction professional from Quebec who worked in various countries, including the Central African Republic

The similarities between the forestry industry and Doctors Without Borders are enormous. My past experience helped me because of all the transferable skills – working with limited resources, being flexible, and working toward results.”

Salameh, a tree planter and crew boss from Ontario who worked in various countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo

Before you apply

As you consider applying to undertake an MSF assignment, it is essential that you have a well-informed and realistic personal reflection. Assignments often mean long hours with a heavy workload, basic living conditions, and working and living in often chaotic and volatile environments.

Security and Safety

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. MSF 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.

International staff will be fully informed of the risk associated with a potential assignment before accepting a particular posting. Working for MSF 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 assignment, all MSF staff must strictly observe security rules and regulations; failure to do so may result in dismissal.

Terms of Employment

MSF staff are employees with a salary and benefits. See more information on the terms of employment.

MSF favours at least 2 years of active commitment during which time international staff complete 2 to 4 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 MSF, see our FAQ.

To learn more about how MSF supports IMGs with EPIC service, free of cost, click here.

Final Thoughts

As you consider applying to undertake an MSF assignment, is it essential that you have a well-informed and realistic personal reflection. 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 MSF over the years and found their experiences in the field to be deeply rewarding, even life-changing. More than anything else, being an MSF international 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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