Program Manager - Field Recentralisation

NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy

Organization: Médecins Sans Frontières
Closing date: 4 Oct 2020

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 religion, creed, or political affiliation. To develop the work on Field-Recentralisation, a two-person-team was recruited in 2019, completed with a temporary 3rd programme manager post. To prolong this temporary post until the end of 2021 the General Direction of the Operational Centre Brussels (OCB) is recruiting a: Program Manager Field-Recentralisation



After a study and workshop organised in 2018, MSF OCB launched a programme in 2019 to increase decisional power closer to the gravity and reality of our field work and to design an adapted operational support.

For the last 20 years, the world in which we work has become more complex, MSF grew rapidly in volume and the size of some projects became equivalent of what used to be the size of missions.

In response to the growing complexity of the organisation’s external environment and the requirements to improve the quality of its operational management and response, MSF developed its operational support by concentrating experience and expertise mainly at headquarters. This de facto generated an increase in internal complexity, with fragmentation of more & more specialised expertise, duplication of validation processes, the research for more and more innovative solutions and the development of highly technical tools.

The “field recentralisation” programme will base itself on the lessons learnt and modus operandi of the first bottom up approach designed for OCB projects of the Southern Africa portfolio. The next chapter is now moving to other operational contexts and geared to work on Central Africa and Cell 1 portfolio. The same principles will be used to propose an adapted strategy. Solutions will be specific, depending on contextual realities, needs, objectives, and future perspectives along the evolution of the operational portfolio. The “field recentralisation” programme will also assist other missions and cells (on demand in general and more specifically for contexts such as Latin America and the Horn of Africa) to use similar principles in the revision of their respective set ups.

Core principles of the new managerial culture - with the field projects in the centre - which we want to develop are laid out in a roadmap and are based on the following principles:

  1. a more stimulating, less bureaucratic and more agile and efficient management: responsibilising field managers, including the role of medical staff in operational decision-making
  2. an adapted operational support which contributes to becoming a truly global organisation


The candidate will continue the support to the initial recruited 2 person-team and together they are responsible to lead the operational translation of the philosophy of this programme. Until the end of 2021 the team is composed of 3 and they work as equal colleagues without a formal leader. Task division between the 3 members needs to be agreed within the group according to the priorities, the demands of the field & HQ and the personal strengths of each team member.

The team-members:

Will identify the key actors of change at field and HQ level; organise working groups and meetings (ad hoc & quarterly progress monitoring meetings); identify and manage necessary support.

Will create buy-in; organise internal communication through capitalisation on the experience, building of success stories, etc.

Work in an inclusive manner; identify blockages, regulate tensions created by the change, facilitate the resolution of complex problems, foster a positive dynamic. (Change management)

Will monitor progress and budget consequences, analyse risks and suggest solutions. Regular presentations of progress update and difficulties to the Strategic Circle (Programme management)

Will feed the organizational model through the experiences and look for examples out of OCB in the MSF movement and beyond. (Strategical organizational reflection)

Will be the focal point for this programme at OCB, will be available to explain key concepts to other (OC-Departments & operational cells) and act as an advisor to guide them into similar paths, if requested

The Programme manager will have to be able to travel whenever needed or requested.

The Programme manager falls under the OCB DG department and reports to the Strategic Circle.


  • 5 years of MSF experience in management positions, preferably in both field and HQ.
  • Academic level with strategic vision and decision capacity
  • Experience in project management and change management
  • Proven knowledge in project management methodology
  • Proven experience in inclusive management style
  • Result and quality oriented: perseverance, energy, voluntarism, pragmatism, performance oriented, consistency, be able to take initiatives
  • Capacity to represent, negotiate and influence: to manage resistances, be inclusive, have empathy and create buy-in; to be able to arbitrate
  • Team player
  • Agrees in the Recentralization principles which lay at the basis of this new managerial model.
  • Able to develop relations and a network
  • Fluent in English, French is an important asset
  • Adhere to the MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust and Empowerment and to the Behavioural Commitments.


  • Fixed-term office contract of 14 months (until end of 2021) - Full-time – available to (ir)regular travels
  • Based in Brussels or any other MSF office.
  • Starting position ASAP (ideally 15/10/2020)

How to apply:

Send your CV and cover letter before 04/10/2020, to General Direction - Sarah Laevens, via e-mail :

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