World Humanitarian Day: Partners Are Local Heroes

World Humanitarian Day Logo

Berlin, 18 August 2020

On August 19, the world commemorates humanitarian aid workers who lost their lives in the course of their work. Especially during the Corona pandemic, it becomes clear how important local partners are in order to help effectively.

Staying at home because of Corona is not an option in many countries where women, men and youth have to work every day to ensure the survival of the family. Staying at home is also not an option for many humanitarian aid workers. Without their continuous commitment in crisis and conflict countries, the humanitarian situation in many places would be more catastrophic than it already is.

A Living Partnership

Local actors in particular play a key role. Many regions are not accessible to international employees or organisations due to security issues or restricted access. One such example is Mandera in north-eastern Kenya. A long drought, severe flooding and now a locust crisis have destroyed the harvests of many communities. People like Sabdow Dagane Osman from our partner organisation "Rural Agency for Community Development and Assistance" (RACIDA) are implementing relief measures there. " My wish is to walk with them by making them self-reliant", says Dagane, who works as a focal point in Mandera and represents RACIDA in all forums. Not only in Kenya, but also in many other countries, it is our 51 partner organisations that make our projects possible in the first place.

The Right to Aid Is Violated

Despite the corona pandemic, attacks against aid workers continue to occur. Last week six French aid workers were killed in Niger, and a few days later an aid organisation's convoy was ambushed in South Sudan. According to the Aid Worker Security Database, 483 aid workers were affected by attacks in 2019, 465 of whom were national staff.

"The disregard of international law to provide and receive aid in conflicts and crises endangers not only those in need, but also many NGO-workers," says Susanne Wesemann, Head of Johanniter International Assistance.

This must stop. This is why we support the call of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a worldwide ceasefire.
Susanne Wesemann, Head of Johanniter International Assistance

World Humanitarian Day since 2009

On World Humanitarian Day (WHD), the world commemorates humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work. This day was designated in memory of the 19 August 2003 bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 22 people, including the chief humanitarian in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly formalised the day as World Humanitarian Day.


Our partner approach

We want to emphasize the importance and contribution of local partners to donors and the public, and we are committed to their direct support.