World Humanitarian Day
According to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder to take action to alleviate the suffering of those in need of humanitarian aid around the world. The event is also an occasion to honor the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the front lines of crises.

This year on August 19, “One Humanity” served as the theme of World Humanitarian Day. This World Humanitarian Day, the U.N. and its partners called for global solidarity with the 130 million people in need of humanitarian assistance around the world.

Under the banner of One Humanity, the event highlighted the coming together in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit earlier this year.

At the summit, member states made commitments to support people affected by crises and ensure that aid workers can deliver assistance in a safe and effective manner.

Events were held around the globe to celebrate the occasion, raising awareness for the cause and pledging support to end the problem. However, all of this attention being drawn to those in need of aid raises a few questions.

Who are the people in need of humanitarian aid?

In 2015, UNICEF reported that one in 10 children are growing up in areas affected by armed conflict. That’s 230 million children. If grouped together, those children would make up the fourth-largest population on the planet, and that does not even account for their families.

Some of these kids are fortunate enough to escape the violence, but others have seen their homes destroyed and families separated and displaced from their communities.

In the decade between 2004 and 2013, some 6,525 natural disasters took place around the world, ranging from drought and famine to tornadoes to tsunamis and earthquakes. In 2013, close to 100 million individuals were affected by disasters.

Where is humanitarian aid needed?

According to OCHA’s 2016 Global Humanitarian Overview, some 130 million people in 40 countries are affected by some sort of humanitarian crisis and are in need of aid. Aid is needed in African nations like Ethiopia and Nigeria, Middle Eastern countries like Syria, South American nations such as Guatemala, Asian countries like Myanmar and island nations such as Haiti.

Aid is needed all over. The U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has raised some $5.5 billion this year and has provided or will be able to provide assistance to 95 million people.

There is reason for the global community to be proud, as 73% of those in need have received or will receive some kind of humanitarian assistance this year; however, there is still work to be done. That $5.5 billion is just one-quarter of the funds that CERF needs to properly serve those who need help.

Learn how to take action by visiting the World Humanitarian Day website. We can help the world’s hungry and hurting, but we need to do it together.

Aaron Parr

Photo: Flickr

World Humanitarian Day
On Aug. 19, 2003, the Baghdad headquarters of the United Nations were bombed and 22 aid workers were killed.

Aug. 19 has now been designated World Humanitarian Day, a day to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives doing humanitarian work. While it is certainly a day to pay respects to those who are gone, it is also an occasion to honor their legacy by raising awareness about humanitarian efforts around the world.

Various organizations are using World Humanitarian Day as an opportunity to gain momentum for their cause and to honor different kinds of humanitarians.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others?’” Humanitarian workers are the type of people who dedicate their lives to being able to provide detailed, confident answers to that question.

By visiting the official website for World Humanitarian Day, anyone can agree to “donate” their Facebook or Twitter feed to a cause for the day. A story will be told about a specific health worker and his or her experience in the field. This raises awareness about aid workers all across the world who dedicate their time and resources in a multitude of ways to help those who need it.

Vincent Omuga, Deputy Head of Office for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, says WHD is an occasion to showcase humanitarians and “their dignity, strength and humanity to inspire us all.”

The hashtag #sharehumanity is being used to share stories about aid workers all over the international community.

We are in an age where social media is a powerful way to transmit information. It can be all-consuming, but that feature can be used to the advantage of worthwhile causes. It is the perfect way to raise awareness about worthwhile causes and the people who are fighting for them throughout the world.

It’s easy for individuals to get involved, but entire groups are getting in on it as well. All sorts of organizations are taking part in the #sharehumanity social media campaign.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has voiced their support and involvement of the movement.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are honoring humanitarian workers by telling stories about the aid they offer across the globe and by calling on people throughout the world to help make sure these workers are kept safe.

USAID released a statement about the five major crises that their Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) responded to this year and voiced their involvement with and support of the #sharehumanity campaign.

The World Health Organization is encouraging the use of the hashtag #thankshealthhero to pay tribute to the health workers who sacrifice their own comfort, position in society, health and sometimes even their lives trying to help others. They encourage people everywhere to use the hashtag and send messages of thanks to these heroes between now and the World Humanitarian Summit next May.

World Humanitarian Day is the perfect opportunity to jumpstart knowledge about the people who deserve immense recognition. The effects of World Humanitarian Day will, hopefully, emanate far beyond Aug. 19. It is a part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness and to honor all those who serve. In short, World Humanitarian Day will #sharehumanity.

Emily Dieckman

Sources: International Committee of the Red Cross, ReliefWeb, UNFPA, USAID, WHO
Photo: Youth Kiawaaz

Many celebrities have answered the call of the United Nations relief arm by posting and tweeting to raise awareness and hype for this year’s World Humanitarian Day on August 22.

The U.N. has asked young and digitally-connected people to talk about the compelling stories of people in need by sharing these tales on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

Stars have already taken to their profiles by using the hashtag ShareHumanity, which will be observed across the world’s U.N. system and beyond, promoting a change for World Humanitarian Day.

Australian singer Cody Simpson, Chinese martial artist Jet Li, actress Shay Mitchell and British singer Leona Lewis have all endorsed the campaign. Brazilian football player Ricardo Kaka sponsored the initiative by sharing people’s stories of endurance, faith and optimism.

The Share Humanity campaign calls on people to donate their social media feeds to inspire “a greater sense of responsibility, solidarity and social activism, using the far-reaching impact of social media,” said the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Simpson, 18, shared his reasoning behind his activism. “I’m getting behind #ShareHumanity because it’s a way of showing that we haven’t forgotten that there are millions living in humanitarian crises,” he said. “I hope others will join us in this massive display of public support calling for a more humane world.”

Along with Simpson, Mitchell and Lewis are promoting this cause by sharing different inspiring accounts. Mitchell is sharing the story of Oliver, titled Welcome to Skateistan, while Lewis tells the story of Khaled, called Baby in the Rubble: Syria’s White Helmets.

According to the U.N., in 2015, 78 million people globally are in need of food, education, health care or shelter. To help save these people, the world needs to raise $16.4 billion to eradicate this problem. In a video sanctioned by World Humanitarian Day, the U.N. asks that humanitarians share their stories about giving back, so that the world may potentially raise this money to make a drastic change.

“Share an incredible journey. Share new friends. Share a miraculous status. Share something that needs to be stopped. Share something that should never stop. Share humanity,” the video said. It shows several videos of incredible and shocking moments that all appear to be videotaped on a cell phone due to the pixelated low quality. Since most videos posted on social media are taken from cell phones, the video makes a good point: phones and social media are the gateway to making a difference.

The power of digital devices and social media can change the world. People who understand and wish to act on this can join Messengers of Humanity. In association with Share Humanity, Messengers of Humanity creates an online presence for those who want to change the world. The people involved in Messengers of Humanity see the influence of social media and know mindfulness is the primary stage in driving achievement. They practice their social networks to communicate about matters that need to change and to transform the world we live in.

On the World Humanitarian Day website, there is a live feed that shows each person who has donated their social media feed to the cause. There are too many people to count. These are the numbers that are needed to really create change in the world. To help, search #ShareHumanity or visit

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Look to the Stars, World Humanitarian Day
Photo: Daily Record

world humanitarian day
“One person can make a difference and every person should try.”

On Aug. 19, World Humanitarian Day is celebrated by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, recognizing the struggle and sacrifice made by aid workers.

World Humanitarian Day first began in 2003 in the wake of a terrorist attack that killed 22 aid workers who were working at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. Since then, the day has been set aside not only to shine a spotlight on those who often go unrecognized for their efforts, but also to remember those killed or seriously injured.

Since that first year, millions around the world have helped raise awareness of the real dangers that many aid workers face. The 2012 campaign – “I was here” – was one of the most successful reaching one billion people. It even included a song of the same name by Beyoncé in collaboration with the U.N.

In a video message about this year’s event, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated, “Last year, more humanitarian workers were kidnapped, seriously injured or killed than ever before. This is an outrage,”

World Humanitarian Day provides a chance to honor the fallen and support those who continue to work despite the dangers they face. This year’s theme, ‘The world needs more,’ is a campaign meant to recognize humanitarian work and raise awareness about the great work being done and to offer support. The organization is highlighting different aid workers around the world, posting short excerpts of their stories and what motivates them to keep going on its website.

In honor of this day, the U.N. asked people to be a part of the conversation by tweeting #humanitarianheroes and listing someone they admire. This allows people around the world to show support for the workers that risk their lives everyday and whose efforts often go unnoticed.

The organization has also put out an interactive map that highlights the work taking place all over the world including Iraq, the Central African Republic and the Gaza Strip.

World Humanitarian Day is the rare opportunity to celebrate the unique spirit that undertakes humanitarian work. It is a chance to recognize thousands of people who face incredible odds and dangers to help those most in need.

– Andrea Blinkhorn

Sources: World Humanitarian Day 1, World Humanitarian Day 2, Vimeo, IB Times
Photo: Starmedica


Ermira Babamusta, Ph.D is a guest writer and a Regional Director for The Borgen Project.

World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity to recognize those people around the world often in dangerous and difficult circumstances. This year I would like to pause and remember the tragic events in Kosovo and the humanitarian catastrophe of ethnic Albanians being killed, expelled and persecuted in their own land. The ethnic cleaning campaigns led by Slobodan Milosevic and the Yugoslav and Serb forces against Albanian civilians shall forever be recorded as dark years in the history of Albania and Kosova.

This August 19, 2013 as the world commemorates the fight against genocide, it is important to reflect on the historical aspects of genocide against ethnic Albanians. I dedicate this day to the Families of those who were harmed during the Kosovo Genocide.

As I witnessed the injustice being inflicted on the Kosovar refugees in 2007 and on the genocide survivors in 2012, I was reminded of their struggle to hang on and lead a normal life despite the horrible trauma they experienced. Today, I think about those who are still missing and their families who have no answers.

We have a great opportunity to learn from the past, become united and encourage leaders to build a better future. It is essential to peace, diplomacy and prosperity to ground our efforts on the four pillars of democracy: justice, good governance, economic development and social welfare.

I applaud America for leading the way in this effort of peace and democracy building. I had the chance to visit and meet with great leaders and US Congress members like Senator Harry Reid, Senator Tom Harkin, former US Secretary Colin Powel, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, all of who share my commitment to peace, human rights and democracy. I applaud the brave actions and the extraordinary efforts of President Bill Clinton, former US Secretary Hillary Clinton, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Dr. Jill Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama for staying at the forefront of building and strengthening democracy in US and around the world and promoting human rights.

As J. F. Kennedy stated, “the world is very different now, for man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life.” This is the time to start the movement for global equality, promote human rights, improve governance and deliver justice around the world. I am proud that Albania and Kosovo are great successful models of such moral and democratic principles.

Ermira Babamusta, Ph.D