Médecins Sans Frontières

Humanitarian action as a driver of your CSR goals

Supporting NGOs operating around the world not only allows a company to put itself at the service of a cause but also to engender loyalty in its employees. We caught up with Roger Martínez-Dolz who is director general of Médecins Sans Frontières Luxembourg.

Supporting an organisation can take many forms. These include corporate financial donations, the temporary provision of specific skills by staff (skills sponsorship), preferential rates for particular services or the funding of specific projects. It may also involve giving the NGO the benefit of the company's reputation. This aid also enables the company to identify with values such as solidarity and aid and to project a more human image.

“In order to maintain its independence from all political, economic and religious powers and to ensure its operational responsiveness, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is 96% financed by private donations. It is vital to team up with brands that respect our ethical charter,” says Roger Martínez-Dolz.

Strengthening the sense of loyalty

By supporting MSF Luxembourg, many companies demonstrate specific moral values that they wish to uphold. This tends to be well perceived by the public, which is now more inclined to favour a company that is committed to a humanitarian cause”.

Commitment to a cause also helps to unite employees and create a sense of loyalty to the company. Once persuaded by this approach, staff can get involved and support NGOs by participating in a sports event as a team in order to raise funds, for example.

In addition to a sense of pride, donating money to an NGO like MSF also offers tax advantages with donations tax deductible as special expenses when they are above EUR 120 annually. However, this deduction can never be more than 20% of the taxpayer's total net income, nor can it exceed the sum of one million euros.

Taking action locally

These donations enable MSF to provide emergency medical aid and to finance access to care in situations of conflict, natural disasters or when resources are scarce. This emergency medical humanitarian association has been in existence for 50 years and is active in more than 88 countries, in an increasingly wide range of contexts.

Following the recent floods in South Sudan and the earthquake that hit Haiti last August, MSF helped the population gain access to essential services. The NGO also intervenes in conflict zones such as Afghanistan to remedy problems of access to healthcare and to build infrastructure such as maternity wards for maternal health care.

Finally, for several years MSF has been battling infant mortality, which is a scourge in countries such as Sierra Leone where a dedicated hospital has been set up and local people are being trained in healthcare roles. The country was also severely affected by the Ebola epidemic in 2014-2015. The purpose of MSF is to provide medical assistance and to optimise the management of donations so as to be able to respond simultaneously in several countries at once. In Luxembourg, the local branch has set itself the task of raising awareness and developing expertise in operational research through a unit called LuxOR (Luxembourg Operational Research), which is made up of specialists who evaluate and improve MSF's health programmes around the world.

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