Emergency humanitarian aid

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Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organisation providing emergency medical assistance to victims of armed conflicts, natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics.


What does MSF do?

MSF is an independent and autonomous organization guided by medical ethics and by the principles of neutrality and impartiality. MSF offers aid without discrimination, based on an independent assessment of need. MSF does not take sides in armed conflicts. The association’s independence is enabled by its funding policy, with 80% of its funds coming from the generosity of private donors. United under one charter, MSF teams are made up of medical, logistical and administrative personnel of many different nationalities, both expatriate employees and locally engaged staff. MSF is an ngo founded in France by doctors and journalists in 1971. Today, MSF is an international movement. It is made up of: 5 operational sections (managing projects on the ground), 23 national offices (mainly involved in recruiting volunteers and liaising with the media, institutions and the public) and an international office based in Geneva, Switzerland. The organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1999 and carries out projects in over 60 countries.

  • Medical care:to help people survive natural disasters in areas where communities and health structures may have been overwhelmed.
  • Humanitarian assistance:MSF provides humanitarian assistance in response to epidemics; mental health care to victims of violence or natural disaster; primary health care to people cut off from health services.
  • Raising awareness:when MSF witnesses serious acts of violence or neglected crises, it undertakes to speak out publicly. MSF strives to bring attention to these crises, alerting the public to atrocities carried out away from the cameras. The organisation denounces the inadequacies of the aid system and the diversion of aid for political interests.

How can you help?

Financial support

  • To provide immediate humanitarian aid every time and wherever it is needed, in response to emergency situations but also to forgotten crises.
  • To guarantee MSF’s financial autonomy and thus total independence from any political ideology, religion or economic interest.

 Interventions by MSF are financed by the Emergency Fund, allowing the organisation to give immediate help to all victims. Thanks to donations, MSF can guarantee emergency interventions and continue to provide assistance throughout the world.

Volunteers in Belgium

  • Administration (replying to mail, filing, archiving etc.)
  • Translations (by qualified translators)
  • Support with technical issues


Volunteers overseas

  • Medical and para-medical personnel: MSF medical personnel work in conflict zones and emergency situations. They are sent to provide assistance in both short and long-term interventions. MSF operates in hospitals, health centres and mobile clinics, treating people with endemic diseases such as malaria, and those living with chronic diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis. It also works with communities hit by epidemics like cholera, measles and Ebola. Medical and para-medical personnel often provide medical care in areas that are remote and isolated, where they work very closely with local health personnel and provide training where necessary.
  • Non-medical personnel: MSF is an Emergency Medicine Organisation. MSF interventions rely on a rapid and efficient system of administration and logistics. Non-medical personnel are the backbone of any of their aid programmes. MSF requires logistics experts in several different contexts. Some jobs may require specific technical qualifications or professional experience (e.g. managers in charge of the supply chain, the vehicle fleet or construction or those responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene).
  • Coordination staff: every mission is led by a coordination team. This team is composed of a team leader, technical coordinators (medical, logistical, financial and human resources) and project coordinators. These positions are almost exclusively held by people who have extensive experience within MSF. The team leader is responsible for all projects carried out in any one country or for a specific crisis zone. They also take care of   internal and external communication regarding interventions. Having conducted a sound situation analysis, the team leader then sets out the strategy for addressing the situation. He or she is aided by technical coordinators (responsible for specific support for projects) and project coordinators (responsible for the day-to-day operational management of projects).

For further information on volunteering overseas, visit the MSF website: partir sur le terrain


Médecins Sans Frontières does not accept donations of equipment or medicines. All medical equipment must be in compliance with WHO directives on donations. When a donation does not come directly from a producer, Médecins Sans Frontières is not able to guarantee the quality of the medicines and therefore is unable to use them.

Businesses that are interested in partnering with Médecins Sans Frontières, by supplying/offering equipment, will find further information on the MSF website: agir en tant qu'entreprise


Translated by Dee Vincent-Lloyd via Translations for Progress

Release by Donorinfo - Last modification : 13/04/2021