Operational Achievements - Despite Remote Modus: The Shangil Tobaya Project, MSF-OCBA

This evaluation was commissioned by MSF-OCBA with the aim to analyse the experience of the project in Shangil Tobaya/Sudan in order to learn lessons for other remote programmes in MSF.

The project of Shangil Tobaya was at all times in line with the operational priority of MSF-OCBA which was targeting populations affected by violence and displacement. The quality of medical programmes varied depending on the availability of skilled human resources and supplies but these aspects cannot be associated with remote control per se. Regarding the MSF principles of Independence, Neutrality, Impartiality, the MSF-OCBA mission in Darfur, while being very conscious of MSF values, couldn’t avoid some compromises concerning the application of these basic principles. Challenges imposed on monitoring and communication systems were not sufficiently addressed during the remote control set-up. Furthermore, the centralisation of decision making power towards international staff, who had poor access to the field operations, resulted in a series of management problems, though, during remote control national staff acquired more responsibility in terms of overall management and implementation of the programme. Even so, the practices of recruitment and human resources management were not adapted to the remote control modus and preparation and planning for the upcoming handover remains minimal.

In conclusion, the Shangil Tobaya project demonstrates that MSF can achieve its operational goals even through remote programming if the modus operandi is adapted. This requires skilled human resources, appropriate supplies and good knowledge of the context and counterparts.


Mzia Turashvili and Jean-Marc Biquet



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“Good evaluation is essential for real organisational learning and accountability. We need well managed processes to make good evaluations a reality in MSF.”

Sabine Kampmüller,
Head of Vienna Evaluation Unit