WHD: One billion messages shared

20 August, 2012
WHD: One billion messages shared

The World Humanitarian Day 2012 campaign has made social media history by sharing more than one billion messages of hope encouraging people to do something good for someone else.

The campaign, which was launched 2 August, asked people around the world to pledge to help another person on World Humanitarian Day.

“There are seven billion people in the world and we reached hundreds of millions of them with our message. People really care,” said Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

At 9 am (Eastern Standard Time) on 19 August more than one billion messages were shared at the same time: “This World Humanitarian Day I’m doing something good, somewhere, for someone else. Join Me!”

The campaign numbers soared following the release of the ‘I Was Here’ music video by Beyoncé on 18 August, whose support for the cause, alongside other major brands and celebrities, put this campaign on the global stage.  

“I feel like we all want to know that our life meant something and that we did something for someone else. That we spread positivity no matter how big or how small,” said Beyoncé in the lead up to World Humanitarian Day.

Upon navigating to www.whd-iwashere.org, people can mark their good deed on a global interactive map.  Thousands of people around the world have now done so, adding their location and a description of their action, and promoting it via social media to inspire others.

“The response has been overwhelming, with six pins being dropped every minute on the map. In the first 24-hours more than 10,000 people had contributed. Pins have been dropped in every continent of the world,” said David Ohana, the campaign manager.

Actions included helping teach young people to read and write, contributing skills to community projects, and simple ideas like helping an elderly neighbour to plant flowers or giving away a subway ticket. Others committed to helping the humanitarian cause by fundraising for NGOs or contributing time and money to humanitarian projects.

In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly designated 19 August World Humanitarian Day to raise awareness of humanitarian action; recognize people who risk their lives to help people in need, and mark the day when 22 humanitarians lost their lives in an attack on the UN offices in Baghdad.

The success of the campaign would not have been possible without partnerships with advertising agency Droga5, Parkwood Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment, production company Ridley Scott & Associates, directors Kenzo Digital and Sophie Muller, MTV, Toshiba, and especially the humanitarian community and people around the world.