World Humanitarian Day
World Humanitarian Day is an international day that recognises humanitarians and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.
Established in 2008, its setting on the 19th of August marks the day on which the then Secretary General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad.
In terms of aid worker security, last year was the second-worst on record and the worst of the past five years. In 2018, there were 405 victims, with 131 aid workers killed, 144 wounded and 130 kidnapped across the world. The countries with the most security incidents were South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. So far in 2019, some 156 aid workers have been attacked on the job, with 57 killed, 59 wounded and 40 kidnapped. The actual number is likely far higher due to underreporting. A lack of gender-disaggregated data makes it difficult to provide exact numbers on how many women humanitarians have been affected. (Reliefweb, n.d.)
Providing a rich global experience, careers in the humanitarian field offer the opportunity to become a leader, delivering relief to societies around the world. Humanitarians make a difference within their communities as they contribute to the society across the globe. Humanitarians focus on fighting disease, hunger, violence, and poverty from all over the world. They can help in many ways, from saving and protecting refugees to providing shelter for the homeless and helping citizens cope with natural disasters or civil war. They often work in difficult, or even dangerous, situations, areas, and climates. Humanitarians foster change within a society by providing money and resources for those in need, including shelter, water, food, clothing, medical supplies, and healthcare.
Humanitarians do not work in one particular place. They work globally, in many different regions and communities. Whether they are working in an office fighting gender discrimination or building a hospital in East Asia, a humanitarian’s career symbolizes the importance of forming strong bonds with a community. People from around the world, from all backgrounds, can make a difference through the help they provide.
For World Humanitarian Day, 2019, the theme is ‘women humanitarians’. Women humanitarian workers are being honoured as they work on the front lines in their communities to help people in need. There are 40% of women who endanger their own lives to save others.
This World Humanitarian Day, UN and its partners are launching the #WomenHumanitarians global campaign to pay special tribute to and raise support for the work women do as aid workers. Stories of 24 women will be told over 24 hours to show the range and diversity of their roles in humanitarian action. They include a driver in the Central African Republic who brings food to people in need; an international model who has established a school for girls in her native Democratic Republic of the Congo; a midwife in Liberia who has cared for mothers and babies for three decades and has more than 800 girls named after her; and a woman who provides legal advice to refugee women and children from Somalia.