MSF Speaking Out

Learning Module: How does speaking out articulate with MSF’s working humanitarian principles?

This is the first module in a series of MSF Speaking Out Case Studies (SOCS) learning modules to come. The case study chosen for this module is “MSF and the War in the Former Yugoslavia 1991-2003” as it reveals the constraints and questions associated with striking a balance between ethics, medical ethics, humanitarian principles, and speaking out—key components of the central thematic. Ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and an international community that abandons the population are critical features of this war.


The central thematic includes concepts such as:

  • Speaking Out
  • Humanitarian Imperative
  • International humanitarian framework
  • Medical ethics including do no harm and solidarity
  • Working humanitarian principles such as impartiality, neutrality, and independence.

What you need to know before starting the course

  1. The Speaking Out Learning Journey and MSF SOCS
  2. Speaking Out and Humanitarian Concepts
  3. The War in the Former Yugoslavia
  4. Srebrenica
  5. Epilogue
  6. Wrap up
  7. Annexes

Approximately 5 to 6 hours

  • The topics are complex so plan to work over several sessions instead of all at once
  • Try to follow the structure sequentially as topics and the case study timeline build upon each other as you move through the module
  • Work at your own pace 
  • Module offers multimedia and interactive approaches
  • Knowledge checks and evaluations must be completed to proceed
  • A learning journal is provided with reflection questions
  • Suggested readings are provided at the end of each section if you want to explore particular topics further
  • Opportunity to join the SOCS discussion forum on TEMBO for extended learning experiences (for MSF only)
  • A quiz score of 70% or better is required
  • Upon completion of the quiz, you will be able to download your certificate

By the end of this module, you should gain the following competencies:

Knowledge competencies:

  1. Relate the concept of speaking out to the imperative to speak out based on humanitarian principles
  2. Understand Speaking out in MSF and the normative international framework for humanitarian action, including international law
  3. Assess how far humanitarian principles and ethics are compromised while formulating critical approaches to speaking out

Skills Competencies

  1. Apply critical reflective processes to speaking out dilemmas
  2. Identify, compare, and analyse some of the dilemmas highlighted in SOCS
  3. Apply critical thinking & leadership skills to real-life contemporary dilemmas