Conflict and Humanitarian Advisor At Médecins Sans Frontières

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides assistance in more than 60 countries to populations in distress, to victims of natural or manmade disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and irrespective of origin, religion, creed or political affiliation. **


The vision for the analysis department is to have a multi-disciplinary team that contributes to the MSF social mission by: (1) conducting in depth humanitarian and health policy related research/reflection; (2) supporting operations in developing and implementing advocacy strategies; (3) expanding our operational networks; (4) supporting and challenging operations; and (5) positioning the organisation on the politics of health and humanitarianism based on MSF’s operational experiences.

Within this department there are 4 teams:

· The health politics team

· The forced migration team

· The conflict and humanitarianism team

· The humanitarian access and networking team

This position forms part of the Conflict and Humanitarianism Team. This team focuses on the challenges and dilemmas of humanitarianism in contemporary conflict. This comprises critical reflection on the approach to contemporary conflict by warring parties and its implication on impartial healthcare delivery. Further analysis includes assessing the role of humanitarian action and the effectiveness of aid in conflict, as well as addressing the challenges of gaining and maintaining access to populations in need.

This team’s objective is to better understand the derivatives of contemporary conflict, how this affects the medical and humanitarian needs of the populations trapped within it, and how MSF and the wider aid system respond. This analysis supports MSF in negotiating access, identifying strategic operational opportunities, and positioning MSF bilaterally and publicly. The team also supports advocacy prioritisation and implementation in conflict contexts.

The specific projects currently being worked on by the team includes analysis on: impartial humanitarianism in the era of counter-terrorism (e.g. attacks on hospitals, co-option of humanitarian aid in counter-insurgency strategies, erosion of IHL); the resurgence of the primacy of state sovereignty and its effects on gaining and maintaining access for humanitarian action; the politics of epidemic response in conflict and the role of the military in health emergencies; the evolution of the aid system away from western dominated aid agencies and the increased role for emerging economic powers and ‘new’ / recently noticed aid actors; the co-opting of humanitarian aid into broader state-building objectives and its effects on humanitarian aid and access to the most vulnerable populations; and the approaches of triple nexus, new ways of working and other aid sector evolutions .

The team maintains an ability to respond to requests from the general, medical or operational direction for support on: negotiated access strategies and development of the necessary networks in conflict; advocacy, analysis and MSF positioning (e.g. on attacks on hospitals, violations of IHL, protection of civilians and the failures of the aid system in conflict contexts); support in developing operational strategies in conflict contexts with context analysis and longer term projections; support in formulating bilateral and public positioning for MSF on issues affecting MSF’s access, MSF’s principles or the protection of our patients and staff; and on request, represent OCB on external or internal & inter-OC platforms.


The Conflict and Humanitarianism Advisor takes the lead in the analysis of specific dossiers that focus on advocacy, analysis and MSF positioning in conflict settings, including violations of IHL, attacks on health facilities and staff, and protection of civilians. The post also includes reflection on the evolution of the aid system and MSF’s role within it, as well as analysis and positioning on the securitisation of health and its implications for epidemic response.

This position develops and supports implementation of MSF positioning and advocacy strategies at mission level as well as global advocacy campaigns.

The position guides Humanitarian Affairs Officers, missions and collaborates with MSF partner sections in their positioning and advocacy on these topics and works with other members of the department on these dossiers, including the Director and Senior Humanitarian Specialists. S(he) coaches key staff to develop advocacy strategies.

(S)he is available to be regularly seconded at short notice to crisis teams or taskforces to provide strategic analysis and advocacy and communications support and provides punctual reinforcement to the other Analysis Department teams on health policy or forced migration in emergencies or as required in specialised task forces. Frequent travels to the field and other MSF OCs and offices will be necessary as well as flexibility to respond to sudden demands of support outside of the assigned portfolio.


Context analysis and research

  • Conduct regular context analysis on humanitarian affairs issues in contemporary conflict; aid system dynamics and reform; politics of epidemic response in conflict; and securitisation of healthcare
  • Provide analytical and advisory support to operations in terms of trends in contemporary conflict and the humanitarian and operational consequences
  • Provide critical review and analysis on upcoming trends and potential implications for populations we assist and for MSF operations
  • Produce briefing notes on key issues and policies
  • Produce updates to share this analysis on regular basis within the missions and HQ
  • Produce pieces of research on key transversal dossiers

Positioning and advocacy

  • Enhance and propose coherent MSF positioning on issues of conflict and humanitarianism both at level of policy and practice;
  • Contribute to the development and review of in-country policy & advocacy strategies based on specific thematic expertise
  • Support the implementation of the advocacy strategies (stakeholders analysis, bilateral meetings, bilateral communications, public communications etc) at national and international levels
  • Support the missions in data collection in support of advocacy strategies
  • Maintain reactivity in identifying opportunities for punctual public communication/temoignage
  • Coordinate with, or represent OCB towards, other MSF sections in the development of positioning and advocacy strategies.
  • Together with the field, provide input into international strategies and messaging, including centralizing and analyzing country based info;
  • Develop tools (reports, briefing papers, communication messages, talking points etc) as part of our advocacy strategies both for specific countries as well as internationally;

Networking, representation, coaching

  • Build networks and convey MSF concerns on issues related to contemporary conflict to relevant interlocutors (international organizations, governments, NGOs, private sector, academic community and think tanks)
  • Represent MSF in conferences, media and public events
  • Represent OCB/Analysis Department on internal & inter-OC platforms
  • Coaches key staff to develop advocacy strategies.

Reflection and writing

  • Write opinion and academic pieces
  • Write internal reflection pieces to stimulate debate
  • Participate in and / or organise internal debates and discussions

Crisis Management

  • The position could be called upon to be part of crisis management teams in OCB, under the general direction
  • The position could be called upon to be involved in post-crisis teams for follow-up of ongoing issues


Background and experience:

  • Professional experience for at least 3 years with MSF or other field humanitarian organizations; including field work **
  • Proven experience in analysis and advocacy in conflict
  • Solid understanding of the global vision of MSF and OCB**
  • A demonstrable understanding of and commitment to humanitarian issues and to the aims and values of MSF.
  • Knowledge/experience or strong interest of current issues relating to contemporary conflict, humanitarian affairs issues, aid system dynamic

Skills and capacities:

  • Strong analytical and writing skills
  • Proven representation ability, combined with a willingness to act as a spokesperson
  • Strong communication and negotiation skills
  • Ability to work independently, take initiatives and seize opportunities

Languages: Fluency in written and spoken English is required, French or Arabic is an asset.

Availability: Availability to travel extensively; Regular travel is expected with field visits, conferences and meetings **


  • Expected starting date: As soon as possible
  • Contract type: Open-ended contract (CDI), full-time
  • Location: Preferably based in Brussels or in another MSF office with proximity to conflict operations (Beirut, Nairobi, Johannesburg). The final outcome depends on local legal limitations (residency, work permit, etc.).
  • Compensation package will also vary accordingly, defined by local status.
  • Adhere to the MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust and Empowerment
  • Adhere to the MSF Behavioral Commitments

Deadline for applications: October 24, 2021

How to apply

Please, send your CV and cover letter to and mention “Conflict and Humanitarian Advisor” in the subject of your email.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

MSF values diversity and is committed to create an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, race, color or ethnic and national origins, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.

The protection of your personal data is important to MSF. By submitting your application, you consent to MSF using your personal data. For more information, consult our privacy notice to job applicants.

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