General admission criteria and recruitment process

Joining the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit SHA: Recruitment profile

  • SHA members must be Swiss citizens or holders of a permanent residence permit (C permit) and they must live in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein.
  • They must have a degree or certification or have undergone specialized training of equal value.
  • They must be able to demonstrate at least five years of professional experience, ideally two years of which should be in the humanitarian field.
  • SHA personnel must be reliable, take initiative, be flexible and must be able to work independently and efficiently.
  • They must have good people skills, be ready to assume leadership responsibilities and show an interest in other cultures.
  • They must have very good knowledge of two Swiss official languages and basic understanding of a third one. Fluency in English is considered an asset.
  • They must be healthy and physically fit.
  • They must be between the ages of 25 and 55.
  • They must be available for missions lasting at least six months.

The SHA actively promotes employment of women and native speakers of Switzerland's minority languages. Priority will therefore be given to applicants from these groups as long as they match the general recruitment profile.

What is the SHA and her expert groups

Promoting young talent

The Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) does not offer internships. 

Experienced professionals with no experience abroad who meet the other requirements for admission to the SHA have the possibility of carrying out a supervised first mission as part of the 'Programme Vert' programme. 

Unlike the SDC's Junior Staff Programme in International Cooperation, this programme is targeted at specific groups of professionals who carry out supervised first missions to learn special skills and gain experience. Programme Vert missions are exclusively intended for specific groups of specialists in construction, coordination/administration, logistics/support, disaster risk reduction/environment, and water and sanitation. This option does not exist for rapid response missions. 

Applicants whom the SHA officers responsible consider to be possible candidates for the programme will be contacted. Applications that do not meet the minimum requirements mentioned above receive no reply.

Application

If you are interested in taking part in SHA field missions, please send a 2-page curriculum vitae in table format along with a motivation letter to:

SDC – Humanitarian Aid Department and SHA
SHA Personnel Division
Ms. Selina Lüthi-Caspescha
Effingerstrasse 27
3003 Bern
Tel. +41 (0)58 462 35 46, Fax +41 (0)58 464 16 94
rekrutierungskh@eda.admin.ch

Initial interview/ information meeting

Applicants who match the recruitment profile and suit our needs will be invited to an initial interview or an information meeting at SDC headquarters. There, they will be provided with information about the SDC, the SHA, the recruitment process and mission opportunities.

Application documents

Application documents (personal data form, recruitment profile, self-assessment form relating to recruitment profile, criminal record extract, information materials) are normally provided at the initial interview or information meeting. These application documents should be filled out and sent to the address above by the deadline indicated.

Recruitment day

Suitable candidates will be invited to a recruitment day in Bern for the purpose of group assessment of mission-relevant skills before the final decision is made to accept them as SHA members. The session consists of an interview and various consolidation modules.

Introductory course for new SHA members

Upon recruitment and prior to their first field mission, new SHA members will take part in a one-week introductory course.

Selection for individual missions

Selection of SHA members for individual field missions is handled by the SHA Personnel Division on the basis of concrete job specifications as well as the SHA member’s skills and availability. The SHA Personnel Division and the SHA member will negotiate details such as length of mission, remuneration, insurance, etc. on a case-per-case basis. The agreed terms will then give rise to a written work contract.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does the SHA organise traineeships abroad?
    The SHA organises no traineeships abroad. Some NGOs offer internships in international cooperation. Please check NGO's websites. Further information on internships is provided by Cinfo.
    Cinfo
  2. Does the SHA offer salaried positions?
    The Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit is a militia-style operation. This means that its members go on field missions only when called upon to do so. They are under contract for the duration of the field mission.
  3. Will I be paid for taking part in an SHA field mission?
    SHA members receive a wage for the duration of the field mission. This wage is based on the type of work to be performed during the mission as well as the person’s level of training and experience.
  4. Where can I get initial work experience abroad?
    Cinfo in Biel provides comprehensive information on carreer matters in international cooperation. can provide you with information about positions relating to international cooperation. The SHA has only limited opportunities in this area.
  5. I match your requirement profile and would like to go on a four-month mission next summer. Would this be possible?
    We depend on experts who are available for long-term missions. We cannot accept anyone for one-off missions only.