U.N. Global Campaign to Assist Neglected Humanitarian Missions

New York, N.Y.  The United Nations launched a fundraising campaign today, which marks the fifth annual celebration of World Humanitarian Day. This month-long fundraising effort, called “The World Needs More,” seeks to raise funds and awareness of ongoing humanitarian crises that the public has forgotten.

According to the U.N., this campaign is a unique project that “turns words into aid.” For this social media campaign, the organization says it created “the world’s first marketplace for words.”

Peacekeeping - MINUSTAH

Humanitarian worker of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti carries children to safety
in Cité-Soleil. U.N. Photo/Marco Dormino.

Entertainers involved in the program will Tweet a word, such as “peace” or “humanity.” Corporations sponsoring a word will pay $1 to a U.N. humanitarian fund each time a follower retweets that word.

“Words are the most powerful currency we have,” says a U.N. statement announcing the campaign. “They are the way we all express ourselves; they are the path to diplomacy, peace and understanding. But imagine if you said the world needs more #shelter, and it actually created shelter for somebody?”

This campaign is important because certain humanitarian crises, such as the civil war in Syria, garner the global spotlight through constant media coverage. Consequently, it overshadows other humanitarian hotspots, such as Haiti and Afghanistan, U.N. Undersecretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos explained to Reuters.

Press Conference:  on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day.

 Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs
and Emergency Relief Coordinator. U.N. Photo.

Global celebrities participating in the campaign include pop singer Beyonce, Indian film actor Amitabh Bachchan, Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho and 10-year-old American comedian Kid President. Corporate sponsors include U.S. financial services company Western Union, British bank Barclays, Italian fashion house Gucci, computer chip maker Intel and the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation.

In 2008, the U.N. General Assembly declared Aug. 19 World Humanitarian Day in memory of the 22 U.N. and aid agency workers, including Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who died during a 2003 bombing of the organization’s Baghdad headquarters.

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Nigel Roberts
Nigel Roberts is the Communications Committee Chair of the J. Luce Foundation. He's also a communications consultant and freelance writer. His clients have included (now retired) U.S. Congressman Ed Towns.

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