World Humanitarian Action Day is observed every year on October 19. The day is reserved to show special appreciation and respect to the martyrs of the humanitarian causes. The observation calls for a mass global display of public support for humanitarian action. When the governing bodies fail, the non-profits and humanitarian organizations step up. But serving humanity by being on the frontlines has severe consequences that can often turn fatal. World Humanitarian Action Day honors the ones who died while saving others. People from around the world are encouraged to join humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF, Red Cross, and others, and become active messengers of humanity.
History of World Humanitarian Action Day
World Humanitarian Action Day recognizes the frontline warriors who face adversity and danger to help others in need. Some of the themes of the past years have been ‘Charter for Compassion’ and ‘Eradicating Extreme Hunger.’
World Humanitarian Action Day is an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of global humanitarian initiatives and the work of humanitarian forces around the globe. Although the appeal for a humane world remains at the top of the agenda, the day primarily honors the volunteers, workers, and support staff who have sacrificed their lives to the cause. The definition of humanitarian action is to ‘maintain human dignity, alleviate suffering, and save lives without any regard for race, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation, or religion.’ The oath of humanitarian action serves the most vulnerable people who need external support to return to their normal lives after surviving the destructive impact of complex emergencies, natural disasters, or war.
World Humanitarian Action Day is followed by World Humanitarian Day and other United Nations Affiliated holidays to keep up the global sense of momentum charted by the members of the group called the “Messengers of Humanity.” The day calls for some social media action, with members sharing the successes and failures of global humanitarian aid to amplify their common message.
Humanitarians around the world deserve our praise and support for saving millions of lives and selflessly serving billions of people. The day also examines the boundaries of humanitarianism and agrees that, while humanitarian aid will always be available, it is preferable to work towards a better, more humane society in which the need for it does not exist.
World Humanitarian Action Day timeline
The U.N. General Assembly’s first session convenes in London with 51 representative nations.
August 19 is dedicated as World Humanitarian Day to honor the martyrs of the 2007 bombing of the Baghdad U.N. Headquarters.
The U.N. launches the “People Helping People" campaign to inspire people to contribute to humanitarian aid work.
The U.N. launches "The World Needs More…" project to invite private companies and philanthropists to sponsor the word ‘action’ and collaborate in humanitarian aid.
World Humanitarian Action Day FAQs
What should I study to become a humanitarian?
Humanitarian organizations are mostly run by volunteers and there is no official study career or degree required to become one. For those interested in pursuing administration/managerial work in the field, a Bachelor’s in nursing, sociology, political science, economics, and international relations is recommended.
What are the four principles of humanitarianism?
The four humanitarian principles are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence.
What does a humanitarian do?
A humanitarian elevates human suffering and engages in promoting social reforms, general welfare, and rehabilitation programs without any regard for the gender, political affiliation, and religion of the victims.
How to Observe World Humanitarian Action Day
Sign up for humanitarian aid
Go to a charity, aid organization, or shelter of your choice and sign up for volunteer hours. Honor the fallen by continuing their work. Several leading global and local organizations are always looking for volunteers to expand their network. You don’t need a fancy degree to qualify — only a kind heart and a generous mind.
Organize a local event
There are numerous difficulties in our neighborhood that go unnoticed. You don’t have to be in an active war zone to become a humanitarian. You can start from your home, and the best way to find out what’s wrong is by engaging with your community.
Several underfunded humanitarian aid organizations rely on small-dollar donations to keep up with the work. Food, shelter, clean clothes, money, and medical supplies are all required on the frontlines. Honor the day of action by becoming a regular patron of a humanitarian cause.
5 Leading Humanitarian Aid Organizations In The World
UNICEF is the largest children’s aid organization in the world, with a focus on medicine, food, and shelter for children.
International Rescue Committee
The I.R.C. is the leading security and rehabilitation organization for vulnerable refugees escaping disaster for nearly 80 years.
The Red Cross responds to natural disasters around the world and caters to its victims.
World Food Programme
World Food Programme has provided food aid to nearly 115 million people in 80+ countries.
World Health Organization
WHO aids people in necessities of life such as water, food, and clean air, and creates better conditions for long-term improvements of communities.
Why World Humanitarian Action Day is Important
It honors the heroes
World Humanitarian Action Day puts into perspective the dangers of traversing through natural disasters and inhumane conditions to help the people in need. It’s not a job of the faint-hearted and deserves the honor of the observation.
It’s a call to action
According to the U.N., more than 125 million people require humanitarian aid in a single year. There just aren't enough hands to deal with the relentless onslaught of man-made and natural disasters. World Humanitarian Action Day encourages individuals to get off the sidelines and get involved to leave the world a better place than we found it.
It’s a global organizing event
World Humanitarian Action Day is observed in coordination with World Humanitarian Day to create awareness about the humanitarian tasks and the specific needs of the organization. The global campaign kicks off the volunteer recruitment and donation drive from all the corners of the world.
World Humanitarian Action Day dates