Since the setting up of the organization in 1981 by a handful of volunteers, MSF-Switzerland has grown up. Today, more than one hundred employees, helped by volunteers, are managing the operational center located in Geneva.
Interview with Marc Hermant, Human Resources Director in Geneva:
Médecins Sans Frontières – Switzerland (MSF-Switzerland) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides emergency medical assistance to populations in danger. The Head Office is located in Geneva. The priority of MSF is to assure an access to health care to the most vulnerable people. MSF is also specialized in emergency interventions in case of conflicts, disasters and epidemics. Thanks to its important technical means, MSF can play an important role in research and operational development of solutions for public health problems, helped by its presence on the sites.
© Valérie Babize / MSF
Mr. Herman, could you present yourself?
I have a commercial background, and have been working for MSF since I did my first mission in 1991. Between 1995 and 2004, I was on mission in Africa and in Asia, where I also worked with Handicap International. I have been at the Head Office in Geneva for the past four years.
How many employees work in Geneva?
Approximately 140 people. We have about 3’000 persons working for MSF Switzerland. We are one of the 19 sections of the MSF movement.
We have 5 operational centers: Geneva, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Barcelona.
All are independent, but we share our human resources as well as funds.
What is the importance of the volunteers in the MSF activities in Switzlerland?
We have three recruitment axes:
- At Head Office level: managers and people dealing with administrative work
- International recruitment: for people working in the field. It’s quite a big matter! We hire about 100 people per year. Hard skills are a crucial topic. It is fundamental to have the capacity to acquire new skills. Soft skills are also important, because during a mission people live together, mostly enduring tough conditions, so if relationships are difficult, this could lead to some problems.
- National recruitment for people who are recruited in the field. The requirements are adapted to the environment, therefore different from Head Office and international recruitment level.
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