Back to top

Senior Advisor to the Director General & Head of the Centre for Applied Reflection on Humanitarian Practice (ARHP)


As highlighted in MSF OCBA’s strategic Plan for 2014-2017, together with effective medical action, we aim to maximise our transformation potential (the capacity to change, or contribute to bringing about changes that improve the medical status and the humanitarian condition of the populations we work with/for) through complementary engagement and advocacy strategies. Our ambitions range from increasing access to vulnerable populations, to mobilising other agencies to respond, advocating for changes of medical protocols, to contributing to changes at an international policy level, and they will all constitute an intrinsic building block of our medical-humanitarian operations in the field.

The Senior Advisor leads the Centre for Applied Reflection on Humanitarian Practice (ARHP) which has a dual focus; on the one hand it documents and reflects upon the operational challenges and dilemmas faced by the field teams and on the other it provides direct support to operations on humanitarian affairs and advocacy.

The objective of the HASADG position has three main components:

  1. Provide advice to the Director General (DG) and the Director of Operations (DO) on humanitarian affairs issues and strategic positioning
  2. Lead the reflection and analysis in OCBA
  3. Oversee humanitarian affairs and advocacy ambitions in OCBA’s operational portfolio

ARHP team:

  • Humanitarian Affairs Advisor (priority contexts)
  • Humanitarian Affairs Advisor Cell 5 (NBO based)*
  • Humanitarian Affairs Legal Advisor (IHL, violence & patient safety)
  • Humanitarian Affairs Advisor  (Aid system and Emergency Gap Advocacy Manager )
  • Humanitarian Affairs Senior Researcher
  • Medical Advocacy Advisor (NBO based)*
  • Humanitarian Affairs and Advocacy Mentor (field support)
  • Several consultancy/short contracts for specific dossiers throughout the year directly reporting to the Senior Advisor

Note: the NBO based positions (*) are not under direct management of the Senior Advisor but are members of the ARHP team (and receive functional support from the Senior Advisor)

The Senior Advisor is a member of the OCT (Ops Platform that includes heads of service) and participates on an ad-hoc basis in Management Team (Full or Core) discussions.


  1. Contribute to OCBA’s organisational strategy and positioning
  • Spar with the Director General and Director of Operations on humanitarian affairs, positioning, advocacy, operational strategies and institutional acceptance and perception
  • Support the Director General and Director of Operations in preparation and feedback of topics raised at EXCOM and RIOD level, reactively but also proactively
  • Promote and facilitate discussions and reflections on institutionally important topics with a view to defining OCBA positioning, mainly with Core MT and when relevant including also President or other guests/partners/experts
  • Lead the process of definition of yearly advocacy institutional priorities with core MT.
  • Follow up of current debates, trends & challenges to humanitarian action at macro level, in relation to dossiers specified in the planning of the General Direction.
  • Lead the development, implementation, follow up and evaluation of advocacy and communication strategies originating from the Director General’s office in close coordination with HRT and relevant partners in the Movement  
  • Lead ad-hoc executive dossiers assigned by the Director General.
  • Act as focal point of international advocacy/research projects (may delegate some to other members of the ARHP team)
  1. Lead the operational humanitarian affairs and advocacy support team
  • Oversee the delivery of OCBA’s humanitarian affairs and advocacy ambitions in close collaboration with the Director of Operations, the RECOs (desks) and the rest of the ARHP team
  • Spar with the Director of Operations to identify key advocacy and coms initiatives in major crises
  • Conduct field visits at the request of the Director General or the Director of Operations
  • Oversee investigations after a critical event in close collaboration with the Director of Operations and the RECO involved. Critical event investigations include (i) gathering of evidence, (ii) analysing the data, (iii) producing the report (establishing the facts, lessons learnt, identification of messages and advocacy plan)
  1. Lead analysis, reflection and research on humanitarian affairs issues
  • Steer reflection and analysis. Develop research frameworks and supervise the academic and/or operational research in relation to the dossiers, promoting innovation as well as capitalisation and extraction of lessons learnt
  • Produce analytical papers and positioning briefs.  
  • Initiate and/or contribute to internal and external debates, panel discussions, conferences,…
  • Maintain and develop a network of external resources (MSF movement & beyond) related to research and policy on humanitarian affairs(both independent consultants and assigned/seconded researchers from other MSF sections within the context of the Operational Network)
  1. Develop HR and promote knowledge management
  • Functional support and mentoring to all Humanitarian Affairs Advisors
  • Oversee the mentoring initiatives directed at building capacity in humanitarian affairs analysis and advocacy skills of field coordinators (HoMs, Medcos and FieldCos)
  • Contribute to human resource development through transmission of operational/humanitarian affairs-related knowledge as well as analysis, advocacy and other related skills (courses, ad-hoc support, field visits, ops & in-house debates)
  1. Manage internal communication channels and represent MSF OCBA
  • Facilitate regular trilateral meetings on Humanitarian Affairs (DG, DirOps, ARHP)
  • Participate to core MT, MT or ROP meetings in an adhoc basis- while not formally a member of either of these platforms, this position has close links to both and is a member of the OCT.
  • Ensure regular and constructive collaboration with other OCs and their various humanitarian affairs and reflection units as well as the HRT team and the International Office.
  • Guarantee an adequate information and work flow with key internal interlocutors: General Director, Director of Operations (and Deputies), Director of Communications and other members of the Coms Department, Deputy Medical Director, External Relations Representative in Madrid, Head of NBO Unit, Head of Amman Unit, Head of Argentina Branch Office and other OCBA Network Partners.   
  • Represents OCBA and promotes relations with other MSF sections and with external actors with a particular focus on the humanitarian sector and academia.
  1. Planning and budgeting
  • Propose and define an annual planning and budget at the assigned level of responsibility.
  • Participate in the accountability processes at the assigned level of responsibility.
  • Implement knowledge management policies at the assigned level of responsibility


Education, skills and experience


  • Social Sciences profile, with an international component and/or expertise, including: (International) Political Science, International Law, Development’ Studies, Anthropology or similar
  • More than 10 years experience in the humanitarian sector
  • Previous field and head quarter operational experience in humanitarian crises with MSF (Desk level or more)
  • Previous experience in humanitarian affairs and advocacy, whether in MSF or externally
  • Knowledge of the practical workings of the humanitarian and wider aid system in acute and protracted conflict (traditional and new actors, including UN coordination structures, international NGOs, integrated peacekeeping missions, donors and the role of host governments)
  • Ability to analyse complex operational environments and synthesise the core elements into conclusions and recommendations for MSF operations and advocacy
  • Outstanding analytical, writing and facilitation skills
  • Outstanding advisory skills
  • Ability to understand medical data and epidemiological analysis
  • Excellent verbal communication skills, with the ability to represent MSF in high-level external meetings
  • Proven excellence in written English, with a track record of published reports/articles and position papers


  • Knowledge of protection issues in armed conflict, including those relating to International Humanitarian Law and the human rights of internally displaced persons
  • Experience with other organisations in the sector (UN, other NGOs, think tanks) or donors
  • Advocacy and/or humanitarian affairs training, whether MSF or external
  • Spanish, French and Arabic language skills
  • Experience in coaching, mentoring and professional development


  • Commitment to MSF’s principles
  • Leadership
  • Strategic vision
  • Results and quality orientation
  • Service orientation
  • Teamwork and cooperation
  • Initiative and innovation
  • Behavioural flexibility
  • Planning and organising
  • Security awareness and management
  • Writing, presentation and facilitation
  • Cross-cultural awareness


  • Availability to travel, including to insecure environments (up to 25% of the time)


  • Based in: Barcelona, Spain
  • Permanent position, minimum commitment of 3 year
  • Annual gross salary: 49,096.01 € (based on a 40 hours per week) Divided in twelve monthly payments + Secondary Benefits based on MSF-OCBA Reward Policy
  • Start Date: 1st of May 2018


  • To apply, all applicants should please send their CV and cover motivation letter under the reference SA to GD and Head of ARHP” to
  • Please submit your CV and cover letter in ONE file and name the file with your LAST NAME.
  • Closing date: April 5th 2018
  • Replies will only be sent to short-listed candidates.
  • Médecins Sans Frontieres, as a responsible employer, under article 38 of “Ley de Integración Social del Minusválido de 1982 (LISMI)” invite those persons with a recognized disability and with an interest in the humanitarian area to apply for the above mentioned position.