Greetings on behalf of the International NGO Humanitarian Community (known in Ethiopia as 'HINGO').
When the HINGO members were asked to think about World Humanitarian Day this year and to determine the word that would define what the ‘world needs more of…’, I know that many people in the room were taken back to their own experiences in humanitarian settings in various locations around the world.
For me I was taken back to the early 1990’s when I worked for three years in Somalia. That was a difficult and indeed a dangerous period of time. I tried to think about what struck me the most about that time and working with my Somali colleagues.
The thing that I remembered most was not the danger or the desperate situation of so many. What I remembered was the complete commitment of my colleagues and the staff with which I worked. What I remembered most was the successes we had on the ground, helping children, women, families and communities make it through those difficult times….and even thrive. I know for many in the room they recalled the same.
What is repeated each and every day in humanitarian crises around the world is that international humanitarian organizations, working in partnership with others, bring hope to people who are most affected.
Because of this, the word that we have chosen this year is HOPE. The world needs more HOPE.
Now, this word conjures up more than the work on the ground. Bringing hope to people happens not only during an emergency, but also before. Some of the ways in which international humanitarian organizations bring hope include:
- Before emergencies strike, international humanitarian organizations work to advocate on behalf of those less fortunate, mobilizing resources and advocating on behalf of the voiceless.
- These organizations work tirelessly for a more equitable world, where the gap between those with resources and those without is bridged. This focus on equity is for all people - no matter nationality; ethnic group; faith or gender.
- They ensure participation, engagement and building of ownership. This is a key aspect of the approach that humanitarian organizations use and is important for ensuring sustainable solutions and more resilient communities when shocks do occur.
- They focus heavily on strengthening economic opportunities and transitioning populations to more resilient livelihoods after emergencies – again, reducing the impact of future shocks.
- And finally, through work in the sectors of WASH, health, protection and education, they work to rebuild a sense of dignity among populations who have been severely affected by disaster.
All these approaches, used by humanitarian organizations before and during humanitarian crises help to ensure that children, families and communities have a real sense of hope for the future.
Today, the world needs more HOPE.
Finally, the international humanitarian community in Ethiopia is committed to work tirelessly in partnership with donors, the government and national partners to ensure communities affected by humanitarian crises are supported and that they are more resilient and have a greater sense of hope for the future.
Thank you for allowing the international humanitarian community to share their vision during this important World Humanitarian Day.