2011 Canadian Tour Dates

Recruitment: Inviting people to ‘live the experience’



Sunday September 18th (Halifax NS) – While the last guided tours wind down, and that the crew gets ready to pack up and head out to Moncton, I think on the last few days spent in Halifax.

Spent Friday afternoon in the exit tent with fellow recruiters Geneviève Bolduc and Owen Campbell (see photo) meeting people interested in possibly volunteering with MSF, informing them about the various recruitment events going on during the week-end. The Refugee Camp tours really get people thinking about the reality of populations in remote areas whose lives have been disrupted. We were there to explain what they can do to become MSF field workers and ‘live the experience’. A lot of people were surprised to find out that they too can volunteer to work with MSF. As I repeated over the course of the week-end, ‘MSF is not just for doctors..’. Of course we are always looking to recruit doctors, surgeons, anaesthesiologists and nurses, but there is also a strong need for non-medical personnel. I think visiting the refugee camp helps people better understand this (especially if their tour guide is a logistician or a water sanitation specialist!). Someone has to set up the camp, make sure the generators are working, make sure that there is water to drink and that the truck engines are working!

We met all kinds of people in Halifax. Some were university students wondering what our selection criteria are, wondering what kind of work experience they would need before eventually applying. Hopefully the spirit of their refugee camp experience will stay with them and we’ll see them again down the road. We also got to speak to people who are thinking about retiring. Whether they be nurses, doctors or electricians, these people represent a great wealth of knowledge and experience. Some have been contemplating volunteering with MSF for some time, but were caught up in their careers or with the challenges of raising a family.





Friday night, the MSF Recruitment department participated actively in the screening of the documentary, ‘Living in emergency’ which was followed by an interesting question and answer period with questions about the recruitment process. On Saturday, we organized special guided tours for doctors, nurses, midwives and technical logisticians contemplating working with MSF in the field. For us, the highlight was definitely the Sunday afternoon information session that was held a 2 PM at Dalhousie University’s Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building. Certain people had registered online several weeks prior to the event. Others had found out about it while attending the Refugee camp exhibit. All listened attentively while Recruitment officer Owen Campbell went through his PowerPoint presentation, taking the time to give a detailed explanation of the MSF recruitment process, using examples of his own personal mission experience in Congo to shed light on the realities of life in the field. Judy Adams, a MSF mental health specialist, was the session’s guest speaker. Judy shared stories of her time in the field and the everyday challenges that await MSF field workers. The official presentation was followed by a question and answer period. The public was then invited to meet with expats from various backgrounds (medical doctor, administrator, logistician) who were present to answer questions specific to each individual’s needs.


There are many ways a person can work with MSF. The Refugee camp in the heart of the city exhibit has proven to be a great way for us to reach people from the Halifax and St-John’s areas. We look forward to meeting potential candidates in Moncton. Please check out the Recruitment events tab on this site. Again, events will include Saturday special tours and a Sunday afternoon info session. All are invited to come see for themselves and maybe someday ‘live the experience’. Come and say hello to us in the exit tent!

(Michel Marchildon - MSF Recruitment Events Officer)