Work Overseas - Description
Working in the field
Every year MSF sends around 3,000 international field workers to work alongside 25,000 locally hired staff in countries around the world to provide emergency medical assistance to people whose survival is threatened by armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care or natural disasters.
MSF- India recruits field workers from:
Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh , Bhutan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal , Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
If you think you fit one of the profiles below, find out what you need to know before you apply, how to apply or see our FAQ.
Besides the practical considerations, there are many intangible benefits. Working for MSF is a challenging and rewarding personal and professional experience that allows you to help people in a very real way. MSF encourages field workers to continue working for the organisation beyond their first mission, and we offer various career opportunities to our field workers.
Gaining more and varied MSF field experience makes you eligible for coordination positions in the mission such as Logistical, Medical, or Project Coordinator, or Head of Mission.
No. The majority of our volunteers have a medical or nursing background but we also need skilled support staff. This include:
- Paramedical professionals (nutritionists, laboratory scientist)
- Logistical support staff/technical experts (general logisticians, water and sanitation engineers)
- Financial controllers
MSF does not recruit the following professionals as expatriate staff:
- Aroma therapists
- Dentists / dental surgeons
- Doctors of traditional Chinese medicine
- BUMS (Unani), BAMS (Ayurveda) and BHMS (Homeopathy)
- Massage therapists
- (Most) super-specialised surgeons
- Occupational therapists
- Traditional birth attendants
(MSF may very occasionally recruit any of the profiles mentioned above to work in one of the projects in India)
Length of service remuneration which is to cover running costs in their mission and the job required. The usual length of a first mission is between 9 and 12 months. Medical doctors with an availability of only 6 months may be considered. Surgeons and anesthesiologists deployed in acute crises may serve for a period of six weeks or more.
No. All posts for first-time volunteers are unaccompanied. Living conditions in the field and security concerns make it impossible for family members to accompany volunteers. Also, most mission locations do not allow for friends or family members to visit volunteers. Accompanied posts may be offered to coordination staff, depending on field conditions and requirements.
It is very rare to find two open positions for first mission volunteers in the same project at the same time. Couples may apply at the same time but they should realise that they will probably be working in different countries.
No, the professional teams we send to the field cannot accommodate observers, untrained helpers or others who lack the qualifications and experience to be full participants in the work of the mission. All volunteers working in field projects must go through the normal recruitment procedure.
While there is no rigid limit, a candidate’s chances of selection decrease markedly if they have not worked in their profession within the last two or three years.
Coordination positions are usually filled by experienced MSF staff. Occasionally MSF does recruit Medical, Project and Logistic coordinators. Successful applicants for these positions will have extensive field experience, in a coordination role, with another NGO that carries out similar work to that of MSF, and has similar values. If you feel you have the experience and ability to work as part of a senior management team in the field please contact the HR department.
No, the conditions encountered on field missions demand the full attention of the teams. They do not have the time to supervise, monitor and assess trainees and students. National staff fills all auxiliary positions.
MSF packages reflect the humanitarian spirit of volunteerism as well as recognising the high level of professionals we recruit.
1. Round trip economy air travel
2. Accommodation and transportation during your contract (including briefings and debriefings)
3. Monthly indemnity based on your experience and MSF salary structure
4. Field Per diem allowance in local currency based on the cost of living in project country
5. Insurance covering health, luggage, professional liability, repatriation, accidents and flights
6. Pre and post mission health checks
Volunteers are responsible for personal expenses such as the purchase of souvenirs and developing photos and for their own holiday arrangements during and after their contract.
All volunteers must be aware of the risks and dangers of serving with MSF in the field. They must understand that they have no claim against the organization for any injury or illness acquired while participating in any travel or activity conducted by, in support of, or under the auspices of MSF. However, MSF maintains insurance coverage on behalf of its volunteers that provide some direct benefits to injured or sick volunteers (including appropriate care and, if necessary, repatriation) or their beneficiaries.
MSF works in conflict areas and insecure environments but MSF maintains extensive risk-management procedures and security guidelines for every mission. Volunteers are briefed on the country security situation before going to the field, and upon arriving at the project site are given specific security protocols. Adherence to our field guidelines for personal and team conduct and safety is not negotiable.
MSF has no prescribed limit, physical condition is more important than age. As living conditions in the field can be basic, volunteers do need to have the physical and mental fitness to cope with the demanding conditions that may be encountered on a field mission. Some MSF sections have age limitations due to insurance rules.
No. MSF places staff on assignment based on the needs in the field. MSF asks all volunteers to be flexible and willing to serve where they are needed most. However, special skills and/or restrictions are taken into consideration in each placement. Once a position is offered, the final decision to accept a post is made by the volunteer.
No. MSF’s working language is English. Candidates must be able to speak and write in English fluently. Speaking other languages such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic can be of added benefit.
It is best to allow for as much time as possible before you are available go to the field. You should leave at least 2 months for recruitment; sometimes it will be longer and sometimes shorter. If your circumstances change after you have applied, you can change your availability date but it is better not to delay it too long after you have been recruited.