MSF

Tough choices: moral challenges experienced by aid workers during the Covid-19 pandemic

The truly unprecedented nature of the pandemic has mobilised and confused humanitarian NGOs and their staff as much. Forced inaction mixed with setting up programmes within a context of high uncertainty has resulted in strong, sometimes painful, moral experiences. The research project initiated within Médecins Sans Frontières Switzerland has already made it possible to collect useful data both for the present crisis and for others to come.

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Opportunities, limits and challenges of perceptions studies for humanitarian contexts

This article aims to advance understanding and discussion of perceptions studies as a method for strengthening humanitarian performance. Perceptions studies are qualitative studies produced for and often by humanitarian organisations, based on analysis of local perceptions of humanitarian efforts. While these studies are normatively asserted as valuable within the humanitarian sector, there has been no synthesis to date of their potential and limitations.

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Volunteers and responsibility for risk-taking: Changing interpretations of the Charter of Médecins Sans Frontières

The Charter of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the guiding document for all of the organization's members, states in the final paragraph that volunteers "understand the risks and dangers of the missions they carry out". Through a review of the different periods in the history of MSF, this article analyzes the changing interpretations that the organization's successive leaders have given to this reference to the acceptance of risk by individuals.

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Juego de espejos: Reflexiones sobre la percepción de MSF y la acción humanitaria

What are the ethical issues involved in providing humanitarian aid? What is the real impact of humanitarian groups? MSF sought to answer these questions in the Perception Project, a study that spanned four years and more than ten countries. Close to 7,000 people were interviewed in order to understand the ways that patients, populations, authorities, and communities perceive MSF’s principles and medical practices.

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The interaction between humanitarian non-governmental organisations and extractive industries: a perspective from Médecins Sans Frontières

This opinion note explores some aspects of the relationship between humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and extractive industries. Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders, MSF) has endorsed a policy of non-engagement with the corporate sector of the extractive industries, particularly when it comes to financial donations.
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La mirada de los otros : Cómo las poblaciones en crisis perciben la ayuda humanitaria

Over the past 40 years, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has developed a reputation as an emergency medical humanitarian organization willing to go almost anywhere to deliver care to people in need.

Yet when questioned about MSF, people in countries where it works had different perceptions. One thought MSF was from Saudi Arabia and financed by Muslim charities. Another thought it was a China-based corporation. And yet another believed MSF requires everyone who enters their medical facilities to be armed (quite the opposite, in fact).

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Perspectives from the field

Since its foundation, MSF has faced different forms of violence against its patients, staff, health facilities and medical vehicles, as well as against national health systems in general. Medical practice can thus be perverted for political and martial purposes. This violence deprives entire populations of vital assistance and is a means for the parties to the conflict to exert, both symbolically and practically, their power over people’s lives.
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