Security and safety precautions

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) often works in unstable parts of the world as it is there that people most need our help.

That means that when working for us you might come to experience dangerous situations (such as confrontations with armed men, looting and theft, and violent clashes between armed groups). We do everything in our power to limit risks in the field. There are therefore strict safety rules and regulations in our projects.


Risk analysis and protocol: we systematically carry out risk assessments, before the start of a project and during it. For every project country we have specific and detailed security plans in which our strategies, precautions, rules and responsibilities are specified. Our protocols feature specific procedures to be followed.


Security management dictates that you follow these rules and procedures during the course of your mission. Security-wise there is a clear line of command: the project coordinator is responsible for the security management of a project team, the country manager is responsible for the security management of an entire mission. The overall responsibility lies with key people at headquarters. When working for us, you are to respect and follow their instructions. Note: we never delegate security management to an outside organisation.


Concretely, what does this mean for you? There could be a curfew, you need to be reachable at all times (e.g. by walkie-talkie), your movements could be restricted, you need to consider cultural sensitivities, and you must always be able to identify yourself as MSF staff.


Evacuations and suspension of activities do happen. Sometimes, a team needs to temporarily cease its work and go to a safer location. Sometimes, evacuation isn’t possible, forcing a team to wait for an opportune moment. You can always decide to leave a project on your own accord (though always only after the project coordinator or country manager deems it safe enough).


Questions (or some serious doubts)? We can address these personally during one of our information meetings.