Position Description

Humanitarian Affairs Officer
Location MSF Holland
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A specialist position leading context analysis, documentation and response to protection issues and humanitarian dilemmas, understanding and safeguarding humanitarian principles, and linkage of MSF operations with wider humanitarian debates. Dependent on context, humanitarian affairs within MSF may involve several complimentary lines of activity:

  • Context analysis, stakeholder mapping, research and monitoring of (especially protection-related) issues and humanitarian dilemmas in contexts where MSF is present;
  • Field data collection and engagement with affected communities in support of MSF humanitarian objectives;
  • Identification of priorities for MSF advocacy and the development, coordination and implementation of appropriate advocacy strategies and approaches targeting priority stakeholders;

Core context analysis activities may include working with project teams to gather information, document and monitor violence against civilians, targeted exclusion of affected communities, barriers to access to humanitarian assistance, population movement and displacement, violence, bureaucratic impediments and/or de-legitimisation or criminalisation of principled humanitarian. Analysis and targeted research is conducted within the framework of local legal frameworks, International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law (IHL & IHRL) and established principles of humanitarian action.

Field data collection and engagement with affected communities may include the ethical collection of testimonies of affected community members, or the design and implementation of field data surveys to establish evidence bases of advocacy or amplify the voices of communities and individuals with whom MSF stands in solidarity.

The development, coordination and implementation of advocacy strategies includes working closely with MSF project teams, heads of mission, medical coordinators and operational communications personnel to prioritise issues and objectives for MSF advocacy, develop strategies and approaches to influence key stakeholders, and coordinate implementation of advocacy via targeted messaging, relationship-building and other available means

Assignments may be limited to the definition or implementation of MSF advocacy on specific issues and topics, or broader to include the development of new priorities and approaches. You support or are part of MSF mission Management Teams in countries undergoing humanitarian crises, often due to armed conflict. In this capacity you may be call on to propose or debate appropriate priorities, strategies and courses of action with senior field management.

Humanitarian affairs work rests on strong analytical skills and requires the ability to synthesize complex field realities so as to prioritize core concerns and guide MSF organizational positioning and advocacy activities. Humanitarian Affairs Officers and Advocacy Managers work closely with MSF Heads of Missions, Medical and Project Coordinators, and especially Operational Communications Personnel.

Requirements for Humanitarian Affairs Officers

  • Previous working experience of at least two years within humanitarian operations, human rights/IHL, humanitarian policy, research, analysis or advocacy;
  • At least two years experience working in humanitarian contexts (incl conflict, disaster or resource-poor environments) with MSF or another NGO, OR one year humanitarian field experience combined with a second year within the MSF system in a position where you have constant exposure to debates around humanitarian affairs and/or advocacy;
  • Master’s degree in Protection, Law (IHL and/or IHRL), Social Sciences or another field related to Humanitarian Action, OR a Bachelor’s degree accompanied by an additional two years of international experience;
  • Excellent analytical skills with the ability to synthesise complex information and identify key issues, concerns or trends;
  • In-depth understanding of current humanitarian debates, actors and systems, and of the dilemmas and tensions characterising modern humanitarian interventions;
  • Excellent command of the English language (minimum level C1);
  • Excellent writing skills with proven ability to draft clear, concise documentation on sensitive or complex topics; 
  • Ability to work independently and negotiate difficult situations with diplomacy and tact;
  • Ability to cope with stress and to organize/prioritize workload under tight deadlines;
  • Willingness and ability to work productively in complex, unstable and insecure environments;
  • Willingness and ability to work with individuals of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, races, religions, beliefs, ability status, and all other diversity characteristics;
  • Availability of 9 months or more




Strong Assets

  • A good command of other languages such as Arabic and/or French (ideally level C1); 
  • Policy, advocacy and/or campaigning experience;
  • Proven field research and qualitative data collection skills, particularly engaging with affected communities and working with vulnerable individuals;
  • Experience working with humanitarian protection issues or refugee/migrant case management;
  • Experience in networking and building relationships;
  • Experience in training and/or convening workshops on human rights, humanitarian law and/or humanitarian principles;
  • Specialised expertise such as gender, protection, SGBV, or specific country expertise in humanitarian contexts;
  • Experience with setting up field data collection systems, assessments or surveys;
  • Computer literacy (database design/analysis, MS package, and internet-based research).


Application process

At Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) / Artsen zonder Grenzen, we are committed to an inclusive culture that encourages and supports the diverse voices of our employees. Our diversity fuels our innovation and connects us closer to our beneficiaries and the communities in which we work.  We welcome applications from individuals of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, races, religions, beliefs, ability statusand all other diversity characteristics.


The following documents will be requested in the application process:

  • Your most recent English CV not exceeding 3 pages
  • A cover letter explaining your motivation to work with MSF
  • A clear scan of your relevant diploma’s and certificates
  • A writing sample of about two pages
  • If you are currently working for MSF as national staff or have done so up until a year ago, we require that you upload a recommendation letter for expatriation from your HRCo, Head of Mission or other staff in a coordinating position and include two of your most recent MSF evaluations


In MSF we are strongly committed to professionalism and responsible behaviour and therefore the final phase of the application process is a background screening. Such screening can consist out of an identity check, check of employment history, reference check and declaration on behaviour (VOG).

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