The United Nations’ World Humanitarian Day, which took place last Sunday 19th August, saw an incredible social media outreach campaign reach 1,132,204,110 people. The day, run by the UN, aims to recognise the courage of those who face adversity and put themselves at risk in order to help others.
World Humanitarian Day (WHD) occurs annually on the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq to remember the 22 people who were killed, and honour others who have also made the ultimate sacrifice.
The day used social media to share its message, connecting and inspiring ‘people all over the world to do something good, no matter how big or small, for someone else.’ Using international companies and musicians such as Coca-Cola and Rhianna, as well as giving participants the opportunity to pin their good deed to a unique map, meant that the day succeeded in seeing a global engagement with its cause.
WHD comes as a celebration of helping other people, with the UN suggesting good acts as varied as helping someone with their shopping to donating your skills to a community project. Big or small acts aside, the day was about making a difference, and just because that day has passed shouldn’t mean a stop to humanitarian efforts.
As a conservation NGO, Frontier aims to help create preventative solutions within communities that benefit local people and create sustainable development. Community projects that run in partnership with local organisations, from universities and schools to health centres and orphanages, help ensure that work done by volunteers is effective and long-lasting.
Frontier’s dedication to creating sustainable solutions was illustrated by Adam Brown, a Tanzania Project Coordinator, in a recent interview with Into The Wild:
"Our project has always relied on assisting the community in making their own decisions not forcing them to subscribe to ours. By doing this it gives the local villages a sense of ownership and pride in their ability to preserve the forests hopefully giving the project sustainability above and beyond that instigated by Frontier itself."
From teaching English and core curriculum to raising awareness for the conservation and development issues communities face, the education of both volunteers and local communities is a focus of Frontier’s projects and part of its mantra of conservation, education, and exploration.
Adam goes on to exemplify how this ethos is put into action on projects:
"We host a lot of workshops and village meetings to ensure that information is disseminated throughout the people and the decisions are not just known to the elite few. We have recently begun a series of lectures at the local schools to get the new generation interested in the natural world in the hope that they will preserve it into the future."
Whilst volunteers donate a valuable portion of their time to projects and help provide precious resources, the issues communities face, whether that be young children requiring a comprehensive education or wildlife and habitat conservation, need addressing as ongoing problems. The global engagement created by world days, such a WHD, help demonstrate to a wider audience the conservation and development issues that we encounter as an international community. The continuing success of such days will hopefully carry on inspiring people to complete good acts, no matter how big or small.
By Maria Sowter