Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Regional HR Responsible

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Job Description

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides assistance in more than 60 countries to populations in distress, to victims of natural or manmade disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and irrespective of origin, religion, creed or political affiliation.

Regional HR Responsible Central Africa (m/f/x) Mid-2019 MSF OCB launched a reform aiming at providing more autonomy to the projects: the Field Recentralization programme. Following a first phase in Southern Africa, MSF operations in Central Africa (CA): DRC, CAR, Burundi and Cameroon were selected to develop an innovative and transformational support approach to operations that will be implemented in the region from September 2021 on.

In order to support projects in the region, we are looking for a Regional Human Resources Responsible. He / she will be, along with the Regional Operational Responsible and Regional Medical Responsible, a key member of the Regional Support Team (ESR - Equipe de Support Régional). Together they will be responsible for the operational portfolio in Central Africa while respecting the principle of subsidiarity[1]**. The Regional HR Responsible will be directly linked to and coached by the Head of Field HR OCB. This mandate will require a lot of mobility in the region and will be based in Kinshasa with the Ops and Med counterparts.

Cell 1, currently in charge of operations in the region, and its responsibilities will gradually change in parallel with the establishment of the regional team. The speed of transformation in the different teams will depend on the operational and contextual reality of each project and each country.


The Field Recentralization programme impacts the role of teams at project, country and regional level. At each level, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and different from those currently played by the projects, the cell and the Coordination teams.

There will be 2 types of projects, defined according to the project cycle, security & context and maturity of project management. A project will be managed in one way or another.

  • Type 1: project in direct strategic contact with the Regional Support Team
  • Type 2 (insecure context, unstable cycle…): project in direct consultation with the Country Support Team
Regarding the different teams: • A "regional support team" (RST/ESR – Equipe de Support Régional) will be set up in Kinshasa and will be the interlocutor of the projects and of country support teams (today called the coordination teams) in DRC, CAR, Burundi and Cameroon for strategic decision-taking. This team will initially be made up of senior Ops, Med and HR (this post) profiles.

• "Country Support Team" (CST/ESP – Equipe de Support Pays) will firstly provide country-specific / Technical Support to the projects of the country concerned in the different areas of expertise necessary for the proper functioning of the projects. Members of this team will also maintain the representation role at country level. Depending on the stability of certain projects, which will be identified as such, the capital-based team will continue to play a strategic role for these specific projects. In collaboration with the project teams, the regional team and the Brussels Emergency pool, the ESP provides surveillance and response to emergencies. An expansion of activities outside the predefined framework will have to be decided with the ESR team.

• “Project teams”: based on each unique project reality and its life cycle, a strengthening of the teams (e.g. an investment in staff development, interaction between projects, etc.) will accompany the transition towards more autonomy from Q3 2021. Depending on the stability of the project (type 1 or 2), the lines of communication and collaboration will be adapted between the project, the country team and the regional team. The regional team will have a more direct relationship with those projects deemed as more stable. The transition speed will be adapted to each project.

The regional support team will play an active role in this initial set up, the redefinition of certain roles and the implementation of changes, which will be ongoing for at least the first year after implementation.

To obtain greater autonomy for projects, a strengthening of responsibility and skills at the project level is essential. This strengthening will be accompanied by a transformation of the responsibilities of the current coordination teams with potentially a change of titles in this team. Complementarity between the project and support teams at the country level will be sought and adapted according to the stability of the projects, among other things reducing the number of non-essential validations.

At the same time, autonomy includes the duty for the project to consult with the teams at the country and regional level and the technical referents concerned. Each operational team must have access to the expertise and internal knowledge of MSF (eg referents at the global / headquarters level) in an approach promoting transversality between departments / specialties.

Finally, the Field Recentralization promotes a managerial approach of dialogue by including project staff in strategic decisions, while keeping a clear line of decision-making. In the context of each specific project and depending on the stability of that project, the project HR manager will have the final responsibility and therefore the decision-making power within the established framework of MSF HR principles, policies and practices and decisions taken at the AROs. Projects facing chronic instability will continue to benefit from close support from the ESP who in these cases will retain responsibility for operations comparable to that exercised by a Coordination Team today.

The Regional HR Responsible remains the guarantor and ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with the HR principles, policies and practices applied in the Region. He/she has a role in guiding and challenging the field teams. This decision-making line is formed via the "rescue roles"[2]. In case of deviation (decisions outside the regional framework) from MSF HR principles, policies and practices, arbitration will be done at the Head of Field HR OCB level.

In parallel to the installation of support team to the operations in the region (ESR), the OCB HR department wishes to develop an HR unit in Central Africa. The main objective of this unit will be to strengthen and develop our recruitment and development Adviser capacity in the region in order to increase the quantity and quality of our resources for the CA region, but not only. The activities and composition of this team are yet to be developed but it will be necessary for the Regional HR Responsible to work closely with this HR unit to avoid duplication and maximize the impact of the HR unit on the development and stability of the project teams in the region.


The Regional HR Responsible CA will be the Advisor on strategic HR issues faced by the teams. The position focuses on consistency with HR strategies and long-term memory. He or she will initially be in charge of supporting the transition towards more autonomy for HR managers in projects. Depending on the stability of the project teams, the responsibilities at country level (today called coordination) will be defined differently (type 1 or type 2). For example, DRC and Burundi will have a different country support team setup, adapted to the complexity and stability of the country and projects. Concretely, the Regional HR Responsible will coach either the HR manager at project level if the project is categorized as stable / autonomous or at the country level in the case of unstable projects. In both cases their autonomous functioning is encouraged.


  • Provide strategic support and guidance to project/country HR
  • Ensure the quality and consistency of the HR response to operational and institutional HR needs
  • Coach HR teams in the region to become autonomous in effective HR management
  • Act as a Rescue role for HR teams in the region and act as an intermediary with the HR department in Brussels
  • Accompany the national HR teams in the adaptation of their roles in the framework of the FrC
  • Ensure, with L&D support (local, regional and global), the adequate development of skills and competences of the staff in the region and their mobility
  • Work on the revision of some HR processes within the HR department in Brussels in order to adapt them to the new set-up implemented in the region

  • Contribute to operational objectives and strategic planning in collaboration with HR stakeholders in the region.
  • Define long-term HR strategy to ensure coherence of the HR response in the region
  • Ensure understanding of and compliance with OCB HR practices, policies and principles
  • Implement the HR strategy through the establishment of appropriate policies on recruitment, remuneration, management, development, etc.
  • Monitor and adapt the HR policies
  • Mirror & coaching role for project HR
  • Rescue role for project and ESP teams
  • Raise awareness of the field HR teams of the global institutional objectives and needs, ensuring a long-term overview
  • Share common HR issues and problems across projects with the Field HR OCB in order to adapt/improve the framework
  • Review and safekeeping of MoUs in the region and liaise with legal advisors as needed
  • Neutral view in the management of abuse/harassment cases
  • Accompanies projects in prioritizing global HR projects to be implemented in the field.
  • Arbitration in case of conflict
  • Ensure HR budget and HR needs projections are in line with the plan
  • Works closely with the HR unit in Central Africa (under construction)


  • A university degree in HR/law is an asset**

  • A minimum of 5 years humanitarian experience
  • Extensive MSF experience in HR coordination positions, preferably with field experience
  • Relevant and solid experience in coaching
  • Work experience in the region is an asset

  • Strategic vision
  • Leadership
  • Management and development of staff
  • Service orientation
  • Teamwork and cooperation
  • Coaching & mirror attitude with the teams

  • Very good knowledge of French and English. Swahili and Lingala are assets

• Expecting starting date : Q3 2021 • Based in Kinshasa • Contract type: 2 years fixed term contract, renewable • Family position possible • Up to 50% mobility in the region • Salary and package according to field remuneration policy • Adhere to the MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust and Empowerment

Adhere to the MSF Behavioral Commitments

[1] Subsidiarity principle according to which a central authority can only carry out tasks which cannot be carried out at a lower level.

[2] Rescue role: bidirectional principle. The decision-making role can be delegated (by choice 1 /) or taken over (by default 2 /). A project in distress, in unexpected difficulty ... can call for “help” to the person predefined as “rescue role” to take over decision-making power as requested (= 1). If a project is perceived as dysfunctional from the outside (regional level / global expertise ...), there is the possibility of intervening through the rescue role (exceptionally and with solid arguments) and regaining decision-making power. The 2 situations are rather exceptional and do not refer to daily or regular support or to coaching collaboration.

Apply Now