Médecins Sans Frontières USA

Speaking up for human rights

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Tech Specs

  • Responsive, mobile-friendly site
  • Drupal 8
  • Pattern Lab
  • Drupal Paragraphs
  • Solr search


Outdated website hampering global mission

Doctors Without Borders (aka Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF) is dedicated to providing independent, politically neutral aid to vulnerable people worldwide. MSF uses its website as a vehicle to raise funds, recruit staff for field operations, and create public awareness about injustices and crimes against humanity.

The USA section of MSF was struggling to accomplish these goals using an old system that didn’t behave well. Content publishers were frustrated by slow page load speeds, problems with site caching, and restrictive content templates. CivicActions was engaged to upgrade the old Drupal 7 site to Drupal 8 and build a new theme that would match and extend the design system being adopted by all of MSF’s sections around the world.

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Easier content creation and management

We streamlined MSF’s content structure, moving from 40+ content types and taxonomies in Drupal 7 to just ten in Drupal 8. Now it’s easier to post and manage the stunning multimedia MSF uses to reach their audiences.

Sharing mission-critical info

MSF depends on its website to raise awareness about its work and how people can get involved. We incorporated social media widgets and link sharing so folks can spread the word about donation and work opportunities.

Mind-mapping the content workflow

We used cognitive modeling tools to group content types into categories and visualize how users and content creators would interact with the various media on the website.

Agile and sustainable

We employed Pattern Lab to build a sustainable and agile approach to the componentized front end. This helped keep us light on our feet to incorporate feedback from CMS user testing of the new content model.

Migration tools in Drupal

As part of the upgrade, our migration team moved thousands of articles and multimedia into the new content model, using the migration tools in Drupal built by CivicActions engineers.

Sharing media across teams

We integrated MSF’s global media library so content creators can access the latest from international teams of documentary producers and photojournalists and import it directly into their authoring experience.

Partnership for good

We built a rewarding relationship with MSF and their enthusiastic team of civic-minded folks. The transparent and mission-oriented culture of the organization allowed us to work effectively and help them succeed.

“CivicActions did an excellent job of understanding our priorities and translating them into a Drupal site for this complex project. It was truly a pleasure working with this accountable, creative, organized, and committed team.” Kelly Smith-Holbourn, Web Manager, Doctors Without Borders USA


  • Simplified CMS gives content managers a cleaner, easier experience
  • Up-to-date Drupal 8 system provides a faster, smarter website
  • MSF can reach a larger audience through better sharing options
  • More efficient content model equals time and cost savings for the nonprofit
  • Access to global media library provides options for more vibrant storytelling
  • Streamlined search tool helps people locate relevant information quickly


See the work


Helping Doctors Without Borders Speak Up for Vulnerable Humans

Explore the content model

Mind-mapping the MSF website


articles migrated to new site


visitors per year to MSF website

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