Honouring Our Women Humanitarians
This World Humanitarian Day (August 19), we honour the unique contribution and unstoppable dedication of women humanitarians.
We asked some of our colleagues from across the globe what they had to say about being a woman in humanitarian aid.
What unique impact do you think women have in humanitarian aid?
Duha A., Jordan
“When women stand together to empower one another, we create an intense ripple of courage, love, and life in the world.”
Nada Y., Lebanon
“I believe women possess a mighty mix of power and softness all at once. This is the secret as to why women excel in humanitarian aid, in my opinion. We face all sorts of hardships yet serve people with our whole hearts.”
Sarah Y., Jordan
“I think women play a vital role in humanitarian aid. They are innovative, resilient, and can access those in need right inside their homes.”
What do you like most about working in humanitarian aid?
Fifina, Madagascar, far right
“I am a very talkative person. My job as a Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) Officer perfectly suits my personality, as the job requires someone who enjoys interacting with people a lot.
While my job is to share knowledge, I also enjoy that I’m constantly learning new skills and how we can better help and support each other in my community. My job gives me hope as I see the people we reach eager to learn and improve their lives.”
Lubna Z., Lebanon
“I love my job and I’m proud to be a humanitarian civil engineer. The opportunity to discover how my technical knowledge fits together with helping those affected by crisis is what really appeals to me. Though a woman may be seen by some as ‘too fragile’ to do this work, I am able to reach those most in need and make a tangible difference.”
Dr Tonni, Bangladesh
“I work as a Health Officer in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh. Every day I have the opportunity to learn something new—to learn how to be a better person. If you see Rohingya refugees, they have patience, they have faith, they have hope. We all need hope to survive. I learn many things from them, and it makes me a better person every day.”
Chrystelle L., Lebanon
“Being a humanitarian psychologist is incredibly rewarding. I have the opportunity to help others improve the quality of their lives and witness their journey from suffering and hopelessness to feeling like life is worth living.”
Joice, South Sudan
“I love this work. I’m so motivated by the team and the environment. When I see patients at the market or at church, they approach me to say how much the team has helped them. They tell me how grateful they are for this clinic. I know it is helping this community.”
Why do you think it is important to invest in women?
Reem A., Jordan
“Women are a vital and important part of our culture, education, development, and well-being. My mother, sister, and friend are my backbone. Whether they are working, raising the next generation, or playing with their grandchildren in the park, their contribution makes a difference!”
Mama Eliza, South Sudan
“I am proud to serve mothers and their babies in South Sudan. The women here are very patient and so hopeful. They are the ones who will shape the future. As soon as they can, they begin educating their children, cultivating food, and they have the desire to study for themselves.”
“The perseverance and compassion of women is one that holds the community together.”
*Photo (©Kate Holt) and name have been changed for security reasons.
What advice would you give to readers hoping to make an impact in their own communities?
Carine K., Lebanon
“I believe the secret to happiness is helping others. So, I would say to continue to reach out to those in need around you and you will be happy.”
Tala J., Jordan
“It is important to make those in need feel seen, heard, and protected, because everyone has intrinsic value and deserves to be treated with respect and kindness.”
Is there a woman in your life who is making an incredible difference in her community? Share this story with her on Facebook. Make sure to tag her in it and include the hashtag #WomenHumanitarians to join the global conversation.