Review of Middle East Support Office (MESO), 2016-2019
Middle East Support Office (MESO) opened at the end of 2016 with the main goal to provide support to OCG ME missions. While objectives and outcomes were not clearly outlined at the beginning, this became clearer in the following years and adjusted around three main objectives/pillars: increase access and acceptance, investing in people and operational support.
In the history of MESO, field driven support (based on field needs) around the three pillars has been constant and very well appreciated by the users. Context analysis, actor mappings and recently advocacy were an added value for missions and desks, although should be extended to other areas impacting current MSF operations. The pillar on investing in people is well known and the concept is integrated in missions as it is for operational support. However, the latter is commonly recognized as “gap filling”, with the limitation of not going further of filling an HR gap and being more useful and providing a more comprehensive support.
Agility, flexibility, quick availability, accessibility, geographical proximity, extensive knowledge of the Middle East and the good quality of the support are some of the strengths of MESO. Nonetheless, limitation in providing HR specific profiles (psychologists and midwifes), not enough visibility of MESO, no clear objectives since the beginning, lack of Arabic speakers/analysists and diversity among MESO team, and anticipation are weaknesses that need to be addressed.