Advocacy and Operations Assistant, Geneva

Location:  Geneva

Duration:  Long-term contract;  Full-time position

Reporting to: International Operations, Representation and Advocacy Coordinator (IORAC)

Functional link: Geneva HART Officer


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF International is the legal entity that binds MSF’s 21 sections, 24 associations and other offices together. Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF Movement, as well as implements international projects and initiatives as requested. MSF International also provides administrative support to the MSF Access Campaign.


The Humanitarian Advocacy and Representation Team (HART) provides support to the MSF operations through linkages and actions to and from external networks (political, humanitarian, medical, and civil society). It is managed by the International Operations, Representation and Advocacy Coordinator (IORAC). The HART maintains active relations with its network and continually informs the MSF operations of the relevant analysed information. The HART influences its network through specific actions for the benefit of the MSF programs and MSF operations’ goals.  In carrying out its actions, the HART responds to direct requests from the operational program managers (desks). Longer term positioning and actions are also co-ordinated within the HART and again are directed by the MSF operations at the HQ level. In addition, the IORAC chairs and animates the Director of Operations platform (RIOD) on behalf of the Secretary General and, with the support of the HART, facilitates and organizes inter-sectional operational coordination on specific contexts, networks, humanitarian subjects, or emergencies.

The HART maintains active and effective internal links to co-ordinate its work.  These include the reflection and advocacy centres of the operational sections, the Access campaign and partner sections (regarding their relations with their own host governments and regional networks – e.g. South Africa, Germany, China, Australia, etc.), International President, Secretary General, International Medical Secretary & Medical Co-ordinator, medical working groups + others as necessary. The HART interacts with the field missions of MSF (HoM level) in order to improve the overall quality of the support to operations.


The Advocacy and Operations Assistant will be hierarchically accountable to the International Operations, Representation and Advocacy Coordinator (IORAC) (Geneva, MSF International). He/she is part of the International Office and is also functionally accountable to the Geneva HART Officer.


The Advocacy and Operations Assistant has an active role in the support of the IORAC for the animation of the RIOD platform and in the preparation and follow up of the RIOD meetings. He/she is also a critical resource person in the functioning of the HART unit by providing direct support to the different team members on the preparation and follow-up of specific dossiers/meetings/events, for content/analysis production, as well as in their administrative and organisational challenges. Consequently the position covers a wide variety of tasks, from purely administrative and logistic ones to content preparation and attendance of external meetings on behalf of International Office of MSF based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is expected to result in fluid communication, systematic exchange of relevant information between MSF actors and entities dispersed geographically as well as rigorous support of the HART and RIOD in achieving the advocacy and operational objectives of the MSF movement.


Support to HART:

Contacts and documentation management:

  • Management and update of the internal and external contacts database.
  • Implementation and maintenance of internal mailing lists.
  • Ensures optimal documentation management by making sure key documents are at the right place on the shared server (Sharepoint, Cloud, …)

Support to content / talking points:

  • Writes preparatory draft memos, analysis, context updates, policy briefs, etc.
  • Prepares talking points. Makes summaries of external reports, extracts of publications, documentation research.
  • Takes notes at specific external meetings or briefings, and ensures timely feedback to the HART and MSF operations.

Support to reporting:

  • Drafts minutes for IORAC and HART Geneva meetings. Ensures proper archiving and dissemination to key stakeholders. Ad hoc support to other HART team members.
  • Support to the production of the yearly work plan. Consolidation of the unit yearly report. 


  • Any ad hoc admin or reporting support to the IO upon request.


Administrative and organisational support (40-50%)

HART  calendar:

  • Elaborates and updates a  HART calendar:
    • Key meetings (internal, external)
    • External events
    • Consistency with the MSF international calendar
  • Follows-up key deadlines, anticipate necessary reminders for preparations of events of meetings
  • Interactions with the office of the International President on key external events

Meetings organisation:

  • Drafts and ensures the follow-up of meeting requests with key stakeholders in the calendar.
  • Ensures the logistic of internal meetings: room or location reservation, IT, VC, food, transport and accommodation issues, welcome of external participants.

Administrative support:

  • Carries-out the ticketing and travel booking for the IORAC and the HART Geneva. Support to expenses reimbursement.
  • Manages post mail and official correspondence (follow-up letters, official templates, congratulations, condolences, etc.)
  • Follows-up the team planning, trips, absences, holydays, presence in Geneva…
  • Provides support to mail management (post mail and e-mail)
  • Follows-up the HART unit budget
  • Provides support to recruitment of team members: application reception, contacts with candidates, interviews organisation.
  • Can be requested to take care of ad hoc logistic issues like publications.


Support to the RIOD platform

Meetings preparation and follow-up:

  • Provides support for the agenda elaboration.
  • Follows-up the preparation of the documentation corresponding to the agenda: compilation, summary, reminders to stakeholders for the submission on due date, etc.
  • Supervises the readiness and quality of the documentation – flags preparation obstacles to the IORAC – amend RIOD agenda accordingly.
  • Follows-up guests invitations according to the agenda.
  • Drafts the minutes of the meeting and disseminates it within delays. Supervises feedbacks on the minutes by the stakeholders and finalises it before communicating it to the agreed lists and web platforms.
  • Follows-up the RIOD’s decisions: preparatory work, reminders, link with agenda.

Communication & information sharing:

  • Supervises the communication circulation flow of the RIOD’s decisions towards other stakeholders and appropriate platforms.
  • Makes sure that issues implicating the RIOD, developed by other platforms, is proposed to the RIOD’s agenda.
  • Support to the drafting of memo and content production : production of content to support RIOD discussions, or to summarize RIOD’s positions transcription of RIOD’s members position on transversal issues before a meeting, etc.


  • Minimum 3 years directly relevant work experience plus Master degree.
  • Knowledge and interest in international humanitarian affairs and international relations.
  • Knowledge of MSF work and internal structure and/or MSF field experience is a plus.
  • Fast learner, autonomous and proactive, with ability to work in a fluid environment, under pressure and with tight deadlines.
  • Outstanding proven time management and organizational skills with ability to prioritize ongoing versus immediate needs appropriately.
  • Keen attention to details with ability to track multiple projects at one time.
  • Ability to synthesize complex and sensitive material, record information accurately and appropriately in the form of minutes, write complex correspondence and internal memos.
  • Excellent communications skills including fluent written and spoken English and French.
  • Strong computer literacy, including ability to use word processing and spreadsheet and database software and to search the internet.
  • Excellent judgment, diplomacy, flexibility and patience.
  • Genuine commitment to MSF's humanitarian principles.

Starting date: ASAP

Contract: 100%

Location: Geneva

Deadline for applications: 15  November  2016

Please submit all applications only by email to: stating “Advocacy and Operations Assistant” in the title.

Please submit your CV and cover letter in ONE file and name the file with your LAST NAME.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.