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7 April 2020 Newsletter Contents

MSF Norway GA 2020
Election Committee

Motion Committee
COVID-19 Update
Meet Our Fieldworker: Tamas Gaspar

Dear Asso,

The MSF Norway GA 2020 will go ahead as a remote-only event focusing mostly on the legal aspects, and will take place on Saturday 9th May 2020 from 10:00 - 16:00.

The content of the GA will include:
  • Board candidates presentation and election (Deadline for candidacy is 18 April)
  • IGA representative candidates election (Deadline for candidacy is 18 April)
  • Motions (Deadline to submit a motion is 8 April)
  • Election Committee members election
  • Board Q&A 
  • Presentation and vote on the Annual report, Auditor's report, level of remuneration of the board, liability of the board, new members and voting list, membership and GA fee for 2021
  • Update on the Covid-19 MSF operations globally
We kindly ask you to register for the remote event through the new registration link here.
The connection details to follow the GA live will be shared with you all closer to the date.

There is no participation fee for the remote GA, however, you still have to have paid your 2020 Asso Membership Fee to obtain Voting Rights if you are eligible for membership.

Everyone from the Association is welcome to follow the streaming of the GA. However, only Asso members with voting rights will be eligible to elect their respective Board of Directors and IGA representative and to vote on the legal aspects and motions put forward.

As this GA will be shortened and limited in content, we will make sure to provide our association with time and space for debates at a later stage this fall. You will receive more information on how the debate aspect of the GA will be carried once we have gained more visibility on how the situation evolves. 

Additional information, including the agenda, motions, 2019 financial and annual accounts, the board and IGA rep candidates profiles, the eVoting info and the connection link will gradually be made available here on InsideOCB.

Stay well and join us online on Saturday 9 May 2020! 

The MSF Norway Association Team
Please take a look at this video capturing the experiences and motivation of some of MSF Norway's fantastic board members: Karine Nordstrand (current board member and President), Dag Horntvedt (previous board member and Vice President), Elin Hoffmann Dahl (current board member), Maryam Yusuf (current board member and Secretary) and Henrik Vaaler (current boar member and Vice President).

Election Committee - still searching for our new board members

Would you like to influence MSF Norway through actively participating in its governance? Or do you know the perfect MSFer with the right profile to take that role?

The election committee is looking for candidates for the board to be elected at the 2020 General Assembly in May, and welcoming tips or nominations. Please use this form, or contact the election committee directly with any questions:

The future of MSF can be shaped by you!

For the GA 2020, four (4) positions will be open in the MSF Norway Board of Directors, three (3) for a 3-year mandate, and one (1) for a one-year mandate. We need: 

- minimum 2 medical profiles - As a medical humanitarian organisation, medical experience is highly important. We therefore should aim at electing minimum 2 medical profiles among the 4 seats in order to maintain a medical majority on our board as required by our statutes.
- some financial profiles  - We also need to elect a board member willing to be the treasurer this year.
- some non medical field workers - Our association benefits greatly from having a board representing our members as broadly as possible, hence other varied competencies are also of interest, for example non medical field experience.

So take some time to think: Do you feel you could contribute to the board and be a great representative of our association? Or do you want to nominate somebody else you feel has the right skills?

Here are 4 strong reasons for being a member of the Board:

  • Insight and possibility to influence in one of the world’s major humanitarian organisations
  • Learn about board work as well as operational support functions like finance, communications and human resources and see the machinery from the inside!
  • Contribute with your experience and ideas into the development of MSF
  • Grow your professional network with other committed MSFers

In addition, we are also electing a new IGA representative for a 3-year mandate to represent MSF Norway at the highest governance body of our MSF movement globally. If you are already familiar with the MSF governance and want to impact our organisation, check out the full terms of reference of this important role.

Should you be interested to run as a Board Member or IGA rep candidate at the upcoming election, or have any questions about running for election and board work, please check our dedicated page on insideOCB and contact the Election Committee  ASAP and by 18 April:

Finally, we will also be electing our GA 2021 Election Committee members at the upcoming GA. The role of the Election Committee is to provide the opportunity for MSF Norway Association Members to be identified, recruited, and elected to the Board of Directors through an active and engaged assessment of the various skills and backgrounds held by associative members. 

To find out more information about the role and duty of an Election Committee member, please check MSF Norway current statutes and the Internal Rules for Terms of References and additional background or get in touch with the current Election Committee and Associative Coordination team and let them know you are interested by 18 April.

We encourage all of you to nominate association members you want to represent you, or to nominate yourself by sending the full candidacy dossier to the Election Committee ASAP and by 18 April latest. Given the remote aspect of our GA and for technical reasons, we are asking all candidates to announce themselves by this deadline to enable all candidates to be properly introduced remotely. We will not be able to accept candidates on the spot.

Are you interested in motions, do you want to write a motion or have you written a motion and would like feedback? Get in contact with the Motion Committee!
All members can propose motions to the General Assembly. A motion presented at the MSF Norway General Assembly can be directed to the home association, the OCB Gathering, or the International General Assembly, depending on whether it is an issue that pertains to the movement as a whole or not.

Per MSF Norway statutes, motions must be received by the Board at least 30 days prior to the General Assembly, by 8 April 2020. Motions will then be sent to the members no later than 14 days prior to the General Assembly, by 24 April 2020. Given the remote aspect of our GA and for technical reasons, we are asking all motions to be submitted by this deadline as we will not be able to address new motions submitted from the floor in a full remote version of our GA.
The MSF Norway 2020 Motion Committee is composed of: 
Read more about motions and the process of submitting motions here.
MSF COVID-19 Virus Update

Dear Asso,

There is currently a lot of various information on COVID-19 relayed from various parts of the MSF  movement, MSF Norway as well as the various OCs and MSF International. We have tried to compile some of the information on the COVID-19 situation in this section. We hope you will find this compilation helpful and that you will keep checking your favorite platforms for future updates. 

COVID-19 update sent to the MSF Norway staff on March 27th
by General Director, Erwin van ‘t Land
Internationally, MSF is increasing its operations as part of the global Covid response. Continuing to work in hospitals in the north of Italy, MSF is now also looking at what support is needed further south in the country. Activities have started in Switzerland, Spain, France and Belgium, with technical support to hospitals, working on ways to decongest hospitals that are overloaded, temporary and mobile clinics for migrants and homeless people, and support to nursing homes and, potentially, prisons. In Jordan (and I believe in Lebanon too), MSF is converting hospitals into centres for care for Covid patients. In Greece, Syria and Bangladesh, MSF teams are preparing for when the outbreak reaches the refugees there; a first case was confirmed in Cox’ Bazar. In many other countries, MSF is supporting health authorities and hospitals in their Covid preparations, including in Venezuala, El Salvador, Colombia and Sudan.
Intervention in Iran uncertain. After initial agreement with some authorities OCP flew in two planes with supplies and staff, who were then blocked from deployment by other authorities. The situation is still not resolved, but was not helped much when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo poured oil on the fire. He tweeted: “The Iranian regime kicked out Doctors Without Borders… The regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. In response, MSF tweeted back that “US sanctions are also detrimental to the health of people in Iran.”
Work in Bærum Hospital continued, which great appreciation from the hospital staff. Alex Buchmann has been working with management and key staff on emergency management protocols for phase yellow (current situation) and phase red (likely future situation). We have written to Helse Sørøst, with Helsedirektoratet in copy, offering similar technical support also to other hospitals that struggle with the care for highly infectious Covid patients alongside their regular medical work.
Mixed news for fundraising. We are obviously starting to feel the impact of not doing direct dialogue for two weeks now. Luckily we have found other tasks for more than fifty dialoguers, either inside MSF or externally, but not for all. Five colleagues are now permittert; they have their full income guaranteed for the first 20 days and then 80% of their income for up to six months. Obviously, we  hope we can resume dialoguing earlier than that. There are some positive trends in fundraising as well: quick update from Grete Lise in Fundraising:
  • The week before the 13th we had very positive results on Facebook with the message from Katrin Glatz Brubakk on Moria. So if you compare our boosted efforts during Corona period the recruitment of regular donors increased by 324%. Well done!!!
  • Very successful warm not-earmarked SMS on the 13th March. Lukewarm on Monday with okay results and very positive cold SMS earmarked for epidemics.
Facebook Fundraiser: Join the Fight Against Viruses Like Corona, Ebola and Measles

MSF Norway's Door to Door and Street Fundraising has stopped due to the current pandemic. Therefore, we need to focus on new and remote ways of raising funds! The Facebook fundraiser is going very well, and has now raised over 500.000 NOK, which are earmarked for epidemics. We need everyone of you's help to keep raising more!

Please share the fundraiser with your extended network.


COVID-19 update sent to the MSF Norway staff on April 6th
by General Director, Erwin van ‘t Land

For most of Europe, including the countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 outbreak (Spain and Italy) the number of new daily cases and deaths has stopped increasing. Cautiously, we may start seeing a bit of perspective, but it will take time still before our lives return to normal – or at least a new kind of normality because the impact of the pandemic may last for a long time after we have contained the virus. While continuing to work hard in many European countries, the Operational Centers are increasingly preparing for outbreak response in other parts of the world. Statistically, for instance, Africa may not seem to be alarming yet, but keep in mind that there is very little testing available in many countries there, and reporting may not be as organized as in Western Europe.
Have a look at, where Marte has put together an overview of MSF’s global Covid response.
For our part as MSF Norway, I want to highlight a couple of important achievements.
Our support to Bærum hospital has been very successful and highly appreciated. In today’s Dagbladet our intervention was highlighted prominently: While internationally we are discussing how we can best make sure that the hardest-hit countries and most vulnerable populations are prioritized in our global Covid response, we know that our work in Bærum stands out as an example of extremely low investment with high impact (it has cost us hardly any money, we have not diverted staff who otherwise would have gone on mission elsewhere, and not used any MSF protective gear that could have gone to other projects). A big compliment to our team (Lindis, Alex, Sebastian, Kyrre, and Monica) is certainly in order.
Our call for evacuating children and their families from Moria will definitely be heard. On Friday, I already mentioned how successful the live demo and broadcast has been. More than 46,000 people signed the petition, which was delivered to the Ministry of Justice today at noon (and this could be followed live on NRK!). Last night’s Dagsrevyen, also on NRK, had a very strong report on Moria; you will find it (starting at 23:30) here: The Moria campaign was co-organised with many other organisations, but the lion’s share of the work was done by our communication team.
We managed to get agreement that Norwegian medical workers can leave the country to go on MSF missions elsewhere. Originally, Helsedirektoratet had banned all medical personnel from traveling abroad. But on April 5th they made it clear that they will allow for exemptions for humanitarian work, after MSF and the Red Cross had asked for this.
Our fundraisers continue to innovate and are getting a good response. Whether it is through telemarketing, calling donors who had left us over the past years, linking fundraising with our advocacy campaigns (100 new Field Partners over the weekend in response to our work on Moria!), the Norwegian public seems generally motivated to support our work. And it is great to see that most of our dialoguers have found other activities as part of our Covid response (not all, sadly; for some of them we had to move to permittering, but we hope this won’t be for too long a period). We encourage all our associative members to relay our fundraising campaigns to your extensive network! You can find the latest ones posted on our Leger uten Grenser Facebook Group.
We are offering mentoring and coaching that is specifically tailored to support colleagues who are under extreme pressure due to the Covid crisis. The Hub has been creative in developing adapted models that allow staff throughout the movement to catch their breath and take a moment to reflect, helped by trained coaches and mentors. Check this document with information about the offer and who it is for, how to request a coach and the contact details to get more information. Don’t hesitate to get in touch through the provided channels if you are interested.
The finance team are modelling different scenarios against the background of great uncertainty over our income. While financial accounting and reporting need to be done according to rigid standards, we now know that there is so much we don’t know that making projections is a nearly impossible exercise. Yet, our colleagues manage to provide and adjust models that help us in our decision making on where to invest (or temporarily disinvest). The flexibility and responsiveness they show are key for making sure that we contribute significantly to the operational budgets also this year.
There is so much more to mention, and I apologise if your hard work is not explicitly reflected in this message. Together, we are doing an immensely impressive job. I hope you are all as proud as I am to be part of the MSF Norway gang.
Thanks a million, all of you!

What can MSF do for an inclusive preparation to the COVID-19 response? 
By Coordinator TIC Project Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, Patrice Vastel

As the COVID-19 spreads swiftly, older persons and those with chronic underlying conditions are at particular risk for severe illness. These are also groups with a high prevalence of disability. Therefore, it is of critical importance to ensure that our response to this global emergency is inclusive and does not leave behind the most vulnerable. On our new page dedicated to the COVID-19 crisis, we gather and share tools and resources aimed at supporting MSF missions and projects in an inclusive preparation and response. Visit the page for recommendations of key actions to integrate into our interventions, contact information of major organisations representative of persons with disabilities, and additional communications materials. The content will be regularly updated to reflect the evolving situation and the changing needs in the field.An inclusive approach during the prevention and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, intends to limit the risk of exclusion from awareness messages and access to healthcare, for the groups that are often the most invisible, neglected, or discriminated against.

Older people and persons with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and will be particularly affected by Covid-19. While the importance of a stronger patient-focus and community approach has been growing in the movement, some key actions can make a difference, namely:
  • During sensitization and information campaigns, always think two ways of communication: audio and visual – sound and text.
  • Particularly in the preparation phase, contact organizations representative of persons with disabilities to discuss how to best use them as communication channels towards their groups and how to best include the needs of persons with disabilities. This also naturally applies to other groups and minorities at risk of being forgotten in the prevention and in the response.
Subscribe to their newsletter to receive regular updates on inclusion of persons with disabilities in MSF.

For more information about the inclusive approach to medical humanitarian action, see the IPWD introductory e-learning course and check their portal:
Coping with Corona: Caring in Quarantine - MSF Staff Health Response 

The Corona-virus pandemic has suddenly and drastically changed our ways of living, brought a sense of uncertainty and multiple challenges to organize our daily lives and work.

While feeling worried and anxious are normal reactions to extra-ordinary situations, it is essential to put into place self-care and team-care habits which will boost our resilience. These will enable us to meet our physiological needs, regain necessary sense of control and strengthen peer support against isolation.

Activities, routines and structure give the day shape and predictability, and discourage helplessness. In an uncertain situation, it provides stability and security, contributes to order and  structure.

Check this great guide on How to nurture wellbeing -  and stay productive during Covid19 and find out MSF Staff Health Unit recommendations on how to care for yourself in those unusual times in the Covid-19 special section on InsideOCB and watch the video below: 


Covid19 Updates from the ICST (International Covid19 Support team)

7 April 2020:     Covid19 MSF Update #6
3 April 2020:     Covid19 MSF Update #5

31 March 2020: Covid19 MSF Update #4
27 March 2020
Covid19 MSF Update #3
24 March 2020Covid19 MSF Update #2
20 March 2020Covid19 MSF Update #1

How to answer donations offers to MSF - A message from Bert Koelewijn,
Executive Supply Chain Secretary, MSF International Office

Dear all,

At the moment many of us are confronted with organisations/suppliers/private persons that want to sell and/or donate us COVID19 related material.

As part of the COVID19 Procurement Task Force we created a special email address for offers and donation requests of medical material (Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and Pharmaceuticals):
The people behind this email address will make sure that depending the offer the right people get involved concerning the quality and operational needs.

For non-medical material offers and donation request this can be sent to the International Logistics Coordinator:

He will follow it up with the technical working groups and operations in the OCs.

We hope that this will take away the burden of wondering what to do with the requests and offers and that we will treat the people behind in an professional and respectful way.
When you have question for clarification please send it the above mentioned email addresses as well.

Many regards and stay healthy!

What's Up, Covid19? OCB Operational Update #1

As of March 27 and according to WHO, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has affected 202 countries and/or territories with 509,164 confirmed cases and 23,335 confirmed deaths.  
Since last month, a taskforce under the operations department  is in place at HQ level for the Covid19 response, concentrating on 3 main actions: 
  • Providing oversight on medical expertise  
  • Guidance and support to existing projects and missions to gear up Covid IPC and HP engagement
  • Developing additional operations
Read the rest of the OCB Operational Update #1#2 and #3 and go to InsideOCB for more frequent updates.

Thing I missed the most while on the mission: 

My roller-blades

What I did for fun over there? 

Table football, karaoke, ping-pong, dance, board games

The first day on the job was: 

Ocean of information

A superpower I would like to have and why: 

To read mind in order to be able to help more.

Interesting foods I tried while on the mission: 

Mudfish (not recommended)

How I dealt with putting my personal life “on hold”: 

I did not put it on hold. I’m always on the road, this is just another destination.

How it felt living within a culture that’s so different from the one I grew up in: 

I enjoy living in other cultures than mine. It helps to widen my experiences and knowledge about the world.

My biggest challenge, personally/ professionally and how I dealt with it:

Micro-managing people and the amount of patience it required.

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