World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is a global celebration of people helping people. Every year on 19 August, the day recognizes those who have lost their lives in the course of duty and pays tribute to those who continue to help people around the world, regardless of who they are and where they are.
In 2012 OCHA forged new private-sector relationships and obtained pro-bono support to produce the WHD campaign. In collaboration with international creative agency Droga5, music artist Beyoncé and her production company Parkwood Entertainment and other global players including Ridley Scott and Associates and, Sony Music, OCHA coordinated a social media campaign that reached 1 billion people.
The official music video for the song “I Was Here”, filmed in the UN General Assembly, featured Beyoncé and told the story of humanitarian work around the world. In addition, two public service announcements were released featuring the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Beyoncé.
With support from WHD partners including UN Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations, the goal was to reach a wide public audience with a message that highlighted the importance of humanitarian work. It also encouraged people to take humanitarian action on the day. The official WHD website provided information and suggestions as well as linking to many of the partners’ websites who also promoted the day.
In addition to support online, events to mark the day were held all over the world in countries including Afghanistan, Dubai, Madagascar, Somalia, South Sudan, Switzerland, Thailand and Yemen. Partners personalized events to suit different audiences, held concerts, information events and video screenings. In Dubai, the official music video was screened at the bottom of the Burq Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
The music video has been viewed more than 17 million times on YouTube and the day itself received media coverage in 4000 plus articles in 91 countries. The support of our partners helped to make the day itself and the campaign a success