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Zimbabwe commemorates World Humanitarian Day

Sunday, August 19, 2012 - 13:20

ActionAid International Zimbabwe (AAI Zimbabwe) joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Humanitarian Day celebrated across the globe on 19 August.

August 19 each year has been set aside by the United Nations’ (UN) as a World Humanitarian Day[1] which honours all humanitarians who promote the humanitarian cause and those who lost their lives or injured doing humanitarian work.  The day aims to increase public awareness about humanitarian assistance activities worldwide, acknowledge the ongoing work of humanitarian staff around the world and the importance of international co-operation in humanitarian response.

Like its mother body Action Aid International (AAI), AAI Zimbabwe subscribes to the notion of fundamental freedoms and human rights and believes in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other related UN covenants. AAI Zimbabwe’s work ensures that the rights of the poor and the excluded are respected, promoted and fulfilled. The organization’s work promotes critical engagement with the state and other powerful institutions and individuals at national and global levels to ensure the realization of the rights of the poor and the excluded.

Commenting on the humanitarian work in Zimbabwe, AAI Zimbabwe Country Director, Ronnie J. Murungu said: Humanitarian agencies in Zimbabwe including AAI Zimbabwe, should be commended for their sterling performance in successfully meeting the needs of Zimbabwean populations affected by various emergencies. The emergencies include cholera outbreaks, food insecurity and lack of access to social services such as education and health. The cholera outbreak of 2008 and 2009 killed more than 4,200 people and more than 10,000 people[2] fell ill from the disease.  Many human lives were saved and sources of livelihoods were restored through the intervention of humanitarian agencies, which focused on reversing the deterioration in service provision.

The Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and Humanitarian Reform Project Phase II (NHRP) also partakes in commemorating the World Humanitarian Day.   AAI Zimbabwe, through the NHRP II which is funded by European Commission aims at enhancing the leadership, participation and representation of NGOs in humanitarian reform structures. This is done through support for capacity and consensus-building, advocacy and lobbying, and strengthening of co-ordination for transition and recovery at national and provincial levels.

The NHRP II is technically led by the International Council for Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and implemented by different partners in five different countries namely Ivory Coast, Somalia, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.  AAI Zimbabwe is facilitating the implementation of the project activities with the support of a Steering Committee that is comprised of both national and international NGOs. The NHRP II in Zimbabwe whose implementation started in January 2012 will build the capacity and skills for NGOs to assume active membership in humanitarian reform forums and ensure that country-level challenges and good practices inform and advance global policy discussions on humanitarian reform.

The NHRP II is implemented by NGOs for NGOs and therefore their active participation in all activities particularly mobilizing their structures for the project is important. In the same vein, the project cannot succeed without the support of the UN agencies, the Humanitarian Coordination Team and the Humanitarian Co-ordinator, said Murungu.


This article was written by Joram Chikwanya, Action Aid International Zimbabwe Capacity Building and Technical Advisor -Humanitarian Reform Phase II


[1] World Humanitarian Day was established by the General Assembly of the UN in December 2008 and was first observed in August 2009. The date of August 19 is the anniversary date of the 2003 Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad where twenty-two people lost their lives including, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.