At the core of MSF’s identity is a commitment to independence, neutrality and impartiality. These ideals have driven every aspect of our work – from medical care and logistics to finance and communications – since MSF was established in 1971.
Our commitment to these principals, and the impact of the organisation built on them, was recognised in 1999 when MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
We provide free medical care to people who need it. It doesn’t matter which country they are from, which religion they belong to, or what their political affiliations are. All that matters is they are human beings in need.
In a conflict situation, we don’t take sides, but go where people’s medical needs are greatest. In the ward of one MSF field hospital, you might find wounded civilians alongside injured soldiers. Hostilities and weapons have to be left at the gate.
We rarely take funds from governments, businesses or institutions for our work, but rely mainly on the generosity of individual members of the public. Over 90 per cent of our income comes from private donors giving small amounts.
This means that when there is an emergency, we don’t need to wait for official funds to be released or for the media to generate interest; we can act fast to save people’s lives based on need alone.