Working in a team

At MSF it’s all about team effort. A team usually consists of 4 to 10 international aid workers from different parts of the world and a group of locally hired staff. Therefore, you need to be able to work with people of different backgrounds, cultures and languages. You often work 6 long days a week (sometimes more), and share incredible, beautiful and intense experiences with your fellow aid workers.

Living conditions

You and your fellow staff members usually live together in an MSF compound. This could be a house where everyone has their own room or shared grounds with straw or clay huts. Living conditions could be very basic: think small mattress with a mosquito net. There’s a chance that you’ll have to do without running (hot) water, that you’ll shower using a bucket, and that your toilet will be nothing more than a wooden construction over a septic tank. The project could be located in the capital of a country, or in a very remote area, hours or days away from the nearest city.

Medewerkers sporten op reddingsschip SOS Mediterranee.
©Isabelle SERRO/SOS MEDITERRANEE

Leisure and sport

How you spend your free time depends partially on the local safety regulations. Many of our aid workers find a way to make compound life as enjoyable as possible: by cooking together, for instance, or by organising movie nights and football games. During missions where there are particularly restrictive conditions, an R & R (rest and recuperation) rule applies, allowing you to regularly leave the project temporarily for some free time elsewhere.

Keeping in touch

Being away from home for a long time can be difficult. Email, Skype and WhatsApp (depending on local internet connections) often prove effective ways to keep in touch with family and friends. Every project has at least one joint email address that can be used.

Still enthusiastic to join our cause? Then we’d love to hear from you! Check out our available positions.

Ask experience experts

Any questions? We regularly organise information meetings and webinars. Here you can ask all the questions you might have to experienced aid workers.

More information

Because we do everything in our power to limit risks in the field, there are strict safety rules and regulations in our projects.

As our employee we expect you to respect our basic principles and code of conduct. The basic principles are set down in our charter. You signed the Code of Conduct, at the start of your employment. Read more about responsible behaviour. To find out more about how we are working to promote a safe working environment, and for statistics, click here.