Operations Advisor

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent, medical, emergency relief organisation that provides assistance to people worldwide, regardless of their background, religion or political convictions. Above all, we aim to save lives and to offer medical care to victims of disasters, wars and epidemics. Working together with local staff, we give direct support to the population. MSF also appeals to those in power, including governments and international organizations, and speaks out about the abuses we encounter in the course of our work.

MSF coordinates operations through collaborations between global offices. ‘Artsen zonder Grenzen Nederland’ (MSF-Holland) has a partnership with offices in the UK and Germany. This partnership, known as ‘MSF Operational Centre Amsterdam’ (MSF-OCA), operates medical humanitarian interventions in about 25 countries. Annually, MSF-OCA deploys approximately 1,100 international staff and employs 7,000 national staff.

At Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) / Artsen zonder Grenzen, we are committed to an inclusive culture that encourages and supports the diverse voices of our employees. Our diversity fuels our innovation and connects us closer to our beneficiaries and the communities in which we work.  We welcome applications from individuals of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, races, religions, beliefs, ability status and all other diversity characteristics.

The office of MSF-Holland located in Amsterdam hosts more than 350 employees, offering direct support to MSF-OCA operations.

The operations department has a vacancy for an


Based in Amsterdam

Starting date is flexible, between 1 June and 1 August

The Operations Advisor (OA) reports to the Operations Manager (OM) and provides day-to-day operational and strategic advice on a functional basis within a specific portfolio.

The particular portfolio that would need OA support consists of the missions in DRC South and North Kivu, Haiti, India, and the combined Libya and Search & Rescue mission at the Mediterranean. The portfolio composition might shift slightly in the future, but is largely expected to remain stable.


The Operations Advisor acts as a sparring partner to the OM and Heads of Mission on operational strategic issues. S/he provides advice and support in order to facilitate decision making towards the development and realization of operational goals within the existing set of policies and planning. The OA facilitates interaction between support processes and is responsible for enabling appropriate support by Human Resource, Logistics, and Finance departments. Furthermore the OA monitors the effectiveness and efficiency of operations and acts as a mediator/trouble shooter whenever problems arise.


Your team will consist of an OM and also an operations officer. The three of you support, advise and manage the missions in the field.

There is also a close working relation with the different departments in HQ that advise the field missions on a functional level: Public health, Human Resources, Communications and advocacy, Logistics and Finance.

On a structural basis you:

  • Participate in strategic operational discussions (with other operations teams) and assists in developing of e.g. country policies, project proposals, security plans, emergency preparation plans
  • Give advice to OM, Heads of Missions and field management in the portfolio supporting tactical decision making. This involves analysis of field questions and problems as well as proposing solutions
  • Coach the Heads of Missions where appropriate and/or refer the teams to alternative sources for feedback and coaching. You also identify opportunities and needs for institutional competence building
  • Safeguard adherence to operational policies of the organization.
  • You (de)brief field staff
  • Manage the process and support the content of control cycle reviews of missions

You cooperate closely with other departments on:

  • for example identification of new or large scale emergencies, security matters, new advocacy issues. You represent your team if the OM delegates this to you and you proactively identify and refer matters to the relevant people
  • You also keep a close relation to the other departments in HQ so that you can facilitate adequate support and timely flag to OM major deviations (eg. budget), and concerns (eg. Code of Conduct issues)
  • With HR and learning and development you cooperate when it comes to HR policies, (for example regarding recruitment, (de)briefings, training & development), induction sessions, you act as a facilitator in courses and you join a panel in job interviews
  • With the financial department you identify and follow up on day to day financial issues for the portfolio which includes institutional donors, donations from partner sections and mission budget
  • You process management of legal and compliance matters in missions; MoU’s, registration etc.
  • You initiate and coordinate meetings between representative of the different departments (the operational support team) on a regular basis and in case of ad hoc needs, to enhance collaboration/consultation between field operations and head office

In addition, you:

  • Maintain relations with external actors (incl. intersectional) related to the portfolio concerning access, contextual understanding, advocacy, communication as delegated by the OM
  • Coordinate the maintenance and proper use of the electronic operations data base
  • Are first point of contact in absence of OM, though end responsibilities will be transferred to other OM/(Dep) DoP


We are seeking a motivated team player who operates on an advanced professional level, is capable of thorough analytical thinking and has a natural ability to effectively putting forward solutions to identified problems.

The successful candidate will have a proven record of delivering emergency medical aid in complex political and humanitarian settings, has worked in insecure contexts, and gained experience in managing resources (finance, human resources and logistics).

We expect the candidate to have held field-based management posts for at least two years, preferably including Head of Mission or Medical Coordinator level. You are required to be familiar with current MSF policy and procedures (ideally on both field and head office level), and have good knowledge of the MSF movement and organisational structure.

The position operates in a fast paced work environment that requires initiative and a flexible, stress resistant attitude. Good communication skills are essential, as well as an excellent command of English.

The position requires a good knowledge of French. The candidate must be willing to work irregular hours and spend approximately 15-20% of the time in the field.


  • A stimulating, professional working environment in an international organization.
  • A full-time appointment for one year (option for renewal);
  • A gross monthly salary of a minimum of € 3,360 and a maximum of €4,798 for a full-time appointment based on relevant work experience;
  • Other benefits include 30 holidays and a premium free pension.


If you are interested in this post, please apply by uploading a letter of motivation and Curriculum Vitae in English (as one combined document).
Would you like additional information, please address your questions with Ellen van der Velden (current Operations advisor, future Operations Manager) at ellen.van.der.velden@amsterdam.msf.orgThe closing date for applications is 19 April 2020.

The selection will be done early May, by means of an interview and an assignment. Dates to be determined, based on mutual availability.