24 Stories

24 Hours with
24 Women Humanitarians

For women humanitarians around the world, no two days look the same.

It’s hard to put into words exactly what women humanitarians encounter on the job over the course of 24 hours. The impact that they have. The lives they change. The personal sacrifices they make. It’s a job where there really is no ‘switching off’ – in emergency situations, there are no half days or overtime.

Today, on World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations honours the work of women throughout the world; raising awareness, rallying support, and amplifying the stories of these heroes on the front lines of our humanitarian efforts.

From wake-up calls in Yemen to morning jogs through central park and helicopter rides in Mali, these incredible women are making an impact in thousands of ways in communities around the world. We invite you to come along with us as we travel with 24 women humanitarians of all backgrounds, nationalities and experiences through the moments that punctuate their everyday lives, whether its checking in at a legal clinic in Kenya, talking to locals at a marketplace in Fiji or holding an impromptu fashion show in Burundi.

While their situations and settings are unique, you might be surprised to find familiarity in the rhythms of their everyday lives. The ebbs and flows of the daily routine – from waking up to having a cup of coffee, feeling frustration at work and then sharing a conversation with friends – share a universal pulse that connects us all.

Join us in our salute of women humanitarians around the world and share their stories using #WomenHumanitarians and #WHD2019.

What is World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.

On 19 August 2003, a bomb attack hit the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22 people, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Five years later, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 19 August as World Humanitarian Day. Every year since then, the humanitarian community has organized global campaigns to commemorate WHD, advocating for the safety and security of humanitarian aid workers, and for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises.

Since that day, more than 4,000 humanitarians have been killed, injured, detained, kidnapped or otherwise prevented from carrying out their life saving duties. That’s an average of 300 cases a year, or almost one every single day. In 2018, there were 369 attacks on aid workers, including kidnapping, detention and assaults. 120 of those humanitarians were killed.

This year, the United Nations has chosen to focus on female humanitarians, sharing the stories of 24 women who are affecting change in cities and towns and villages around the world.