Regional HR Generalist Support - Southern Africa

Cette position exige une très bonne connaissance de l'anglais et ne sera par conséquent uniquement publiée dans cette langue.


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. We work in over 60 countries, offering assistance to people based on need, irrespective of origin, religion, creed or political affiliation. MSF Operational Centre Brussels is looking for a: Regional HR Generalist Support Southern Africa

Operational Context

Mid-2019 OCB launched a reform in support of the projects aiming at providing more autonomy to the projects.  Southern Africa (SnA) missions (Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South-Africa) have been chosen as first pilot.  An innovative and transformational approach will be implemented in 2020 in the region. The model incorporates:

  • A ‘Regional Support Team’ (RST) will be established to be the first line contact for the projects for strategic matters.  While being based in different offices in the region, the RST will report directly to the OCB Director of Operations.
  • 'Country support team’ (CST): a transformation of what is currently known as the Coordination Team (often based in the capital of the country) into a mixed team of junior and senior profiles that provide country-specific support within the different technical domains (HR, fin, supply, log, med..) and keep a role of representation at country level.
  • ‘Project teams’: based on unicity of every project reality, lifecycle, setup etc.... During 2020, a reinforcement and/or re-organization of punctual, temporary or more permanent positions/ functions will accompany the transition towards a more final setup. Speed of transition is project-specific.

One Ops, one Med and one Leverage/Advocacy position will make the core of the RST, based in MSF SnA office in Johannesburg (JHB), with the Ops Responsible being the regular contact of the Director of Operations.  Other members of this Regional support team will be based either in other OCB offices in the region with the possibility of sharing national and regional responsibilities, or within the Regional Support Team in JHB, or within and developing synergies with the departments of the MSF SnA section in JHB.

Every member of this RST will have a specific area of expertise and focus.  Their common point of attention will be to create and to animate a network that is able to make decisions as collective as possible and to allow maximum cross-fertilization between the projects and the National Support Teams. This unique horizontally managed set up will:

  • promote more autonomy for the projects by increasing responsibility and competences at the project level, by reducing the responsibility of the today’s national coordination teams who will transition towards ad-hoc National Support Teams. 
  • aim to develop as many synergies as possible (also with the section), primarily on Communication, Human Resources and advocacy common interests.
  • promote a holarchic managerial approach by including project staff in strategic decisions and by encouraging a distributed setup within the regional team.

The HR generalist support is part of the distributed regional support team.  He/she will work in JHB office near the core of the RST and with the HR dpt of the section and particularly with the regional PDM.  Her/his mandate will require a lot of mobility in the Sub-Region. 

The current cell will phase out of current responsibilities and will function as ‘safety net’ as long as a relevant hand-over hasn't been completed. The speed of phasing out of the role of the cell will be adapted to the operational and context reality of the countries, with Mozambique being currently in the most unstable situation.

Main objectives

The HR Generalist Support is responsible for accompanying the transition towards more autonomy for the HR in the projects.  The change process will happen in two phases. 

First phase and priority of direct HR support:

  • Assess the HR requirements and capabilities of each country HR team to enable the correct interventions and support and make recommendations on proposed structure of HR
  • Provides support and guidance, at strategic level, to project HR’s, with a specific attention for project opening, reduction and closure,
  • Ensures quality and coherence of the HR response to operational and institutional HR needs in the SnA region,
  • Acts as coach & trainer to empower the HR staff in projects (and if needed in NST) to become autonomous & capacitated in effective HR management. He/she ensures a rescue role for HR project staff providing technical support and act as an intermediary with the HR dpt in Brussels,
  • The HR Generalist Support, in collaboration with the PDM SnA office, ensure adequate development of skills and competences of the staff in the region and their mobility.
  • Accompany the Country National HR teams in the adaptation of their roles in the frame of the Field Recentralization,
  • Work on the revision of some HR processes within the HR dpt in Brussels to adapt them to the new HR set up in the region and to the objectives of more autonomy to the projects.

Second phase of transition of the HR support:

Once the projects are working on a more autonomous way, with the adequate support from the CST and from the global level the HR generalist will assess, with the support of the OCB HR dpt, the possibility to transfer the residual HR support roles to the SnA section HR dpt.  This assessment should ideally happen within the 1st year of implementation of the FrC set-up.  The transfer of roles, if assessed possible, will be accompanied by necessary adaptations at the level of the HR dpt in the SnA section.

Purpose of the post

  • He/She provides a direct support to the project and the National Support teams to adapt to the new setup and responsibilities with a focus on the project in transition (reducing/opening…).
  • He/she ensures a rescue role for HR staff providing technical support for HR management.
  • He/she participate to the assessment of a long-term setup providing more autonomy to the projects


  • Encourages the autonomy of project HR staff
  • Supports the transformation of the HR coordination roles to CST HR support
  • Works on the adaptation of the HR support at the global level (HR dpt in Brussels and Johannesburg) to match the objectives of the capacitation of the projects
  • Provides direct support to the projects in transition, opening, reducing their volume or closing (development of staff, outplacement, end of contract management…) with the PDM regional
  • Mirror & coaching role for project HR 
  • Rescue Role for project HR 
  • Contributes to operational objectives & strategic planning  
  • Definition of long-term HR strategy to ensure adequation of resources with regional operational objectives and institutional needs
  • HR Policies maintenance & review  
  • Declination of HR strategy through implementation of appropriate plans for recruitment, remuneration, management, learning and development, etc… 
  • Awareness & understanding of available global technical resources (Technical Referents in HQ and other HR stakeholders);
  •  Sharing information of broader institutional objectives through contact with HQ/Hr dept/other stakeholders (internal coherence at OCB level) & ensuring long term overview 
  • Review and safekeeping of project and national MoUs and liaison with legal advisors as needed (projects in direct contact with advisors, ex. Legal) 
  • Neutral eye in management of abuse/ harassment cases (alert system in place) 
  • Support to set priorities and act as filter of technical HR expertise  



  • University degree (or equivalent) in HR management or in Law desirable.


  • At least 2 years of MSF experience in Operational HR
  • Working experience in the region is an asset
  • Knowledge of MS Office, Advanced Excel, HR software
  • Awareness of the humanitarian world i.e MSF missions


  • Organized and precise
  • Able to work in a team
  • Coaching & training skills


  • English proficiency is mandatory; Portuguese is an asset


  • Expected starting date: Q3
  • 1-year expat contract following IRP2 frame (level 13 IRFFG), extendable but under local legislation the second year
  • Based Johannesburg
  • Family position
  • Proximity with the projects and hence travel within the SnA region is required (mobility up to 50%)
  • To adhere to the MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust and Empowerment
  • To adhere to the MSF Behavioral Commitments
  • To agree with the philosophy and principles behind the Field Recentralisation Programme of OCB

How to apply ?

Online applications by 18 June 2020 the latest via the following link (if the link does not work, please copy paste this in your browser: When clicking on this link, you will be directed to our online application tool.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

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