The cool website Green Global Travel has introduced a series called Travel Bloggers Give Back, asking travel bloggers to write about their favourite charitable organsation. In short, we’re being challenged to use our blogs to make a difference. Can’t say no to that now, can I?

give back

Médecins Sans Frontières

My preferred humanitarian organisation is MSF, Médecins Sans Frontières (known as Doctors without Borders in the USA).

I’m certainly not their only fan. MSF received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, in the words of the Nobel Committee: in recognition of the organisation’s pioneering humanitarian work on several continents.

Médecins Sans Frontières was created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. The organisation aids people affected by armed conflicts, crises and disasters and others who lack basic health care.

Why MSF?

Among all the wonderful charitable organisations in the world, why do I choose this one? Well, firstly, it’s something very efficient and unafraid about MSF that appeals to me. MSF immediately get out in the field. They crash right in and get to work, helping the ones who need it the most.

Like many other aid organisations, MSF is independent from all political, economic or religious powers. They look only at need – no matter who, where or why.

What sets MSF apart, I think, is their commitment to speak out – often loudly – to bring attention to abuse and injustice around the world. It’s simple, really: fewer people die when more people know.

Notably, MSF was very vocal during the 1990s conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Chechnya and Rwanda. MSF is also responsible for shining a light on the neglected crisis in Darfur. Lately, the organisation has spoken out against the forcible return of Hmong refugees from Thailand to Laos.


90 % of MSFs funding is from private donations, ensuring freedom from political interference and bureaucracy. Donations help save lives. They help pregnant women give birth safely, treat children with malaria and provide surgery for people wounded by bombs and bullets. 87 % of UK donations are spent on the programmes.

I’m the sole provider for my two daughters. As such, I’m well aware of the importance of a predictable income. That’s no less important to an aid organisation. I’m therefore a field partner, drawing a set amount from my bank account every month. In return, I receive ground-level reports from MSF-personnel in the field. Just yesterday, I learned about Monica Thallinger, a pediatrician who works in a Somali refugee camp in Ethiopia.

Here’s what your monthly contributions can provide (clipped from the USA site):

  • $7.50 monthly – Two nourishing meals every day for a month to a child threatened by famine
  • $15 monthly – A month of clean water for 40 refugees
  • $30 monthly – A surgical kit to carry out emergency examinations and basic surgery in the field
  • $60 monthly – A month of nursing care for refugees from war or natural disaster

Doctors without Borders 024

Want to give back via MSF?

MSF comprises 19 associative organisations and donations go through national offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. Choose your office.

ps – Heard of Magnificent Monday?

Not only is Green Global Travel focussing on charity this month. Holes in my Soles has GOODWILL as theme for this week’s Magnificent Monday as well. Go on over and have a look at the contributions. Or even better, write an article on goodwill (such as your fave humanitarian organisation) and link up.

Top photo is lifted from MSF’s website and photo of MSF-flag is by ricklibrarian on flickr’s Creative Commons.

There are so many non-profits doing important work around the world. Which is your favourite charity?