World Humanitarian Day 2023: Honoring aid workers who deliver no matter what


Abuja, 18 August 2023: This year’s World Humanitarian Day honours all aid workers who step up each day to provide life-saving assistance to millions of people in north-east Nigeria and other parts of the country. Despite daunting challenges, humanitarians work tirelessly to deliver assistance to those in need no matter who, no matter where, no matter what.

“This year’s theme for World Humanitarian Day is about the unwavering commitment of countless individuals to deliver for and with the communities they serve, #NoMatterWhat,” stated Mr. Matthias Schmale, United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria. “Humanitarians on the frontline in northeast Nigeria work each day to ensure assistance is accessible to the most vulnerable women, children and men. No matter who they are or where they are, humanitarians are deeply committed to serving people in need.”

World Humanitarian Day is an occasion to advocate for the survival, well-being and dignity of crisis-affected people and for the safety and security of aid workers. In 2023, as the range and scope of risks facing humanitarians continues to increase, such advocacy is needed more than ever. This year is the twentieth anniversary of the attack that inspired World Humanitarian Day. A devastating bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq killed 22 humanitarian workers and severely injured many more. In 2008, the UN General Assembly designated 19 August as World Humanitarian Day to raise awareness about humanitarian assistance worldwide and to pay tribute to the people who risk their lives to provide it.

Today members of the humanitarian community gathered to mark World Humanitarian Day with a solidarity walk in Abuja. Throughout the north-east, people are commemorating the day with events that bring people together to honour aid workers and shine a light on the barriers they face to do their work.

“On a number of occasions I have seen for myself how hard humanitarians in north-east Nigeria are working in extremely difficult circumstances, often risking their lives and safety to support people in need,” stated Mr. Schmale. Since 2016, 37 aid workers have been killed in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states, according to the Aid Worker Security Database. Additionally, 24 have been wounded and 34 kidnapped. “The courage, dedication and perseverance of national and international aid workers on the front line who deliver no matter what is deeply impressive,” said Mr. Schmale.

The UN and its partners aim to assist six million people in north-east Nigeria through the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), and additional funding is urgently needed. The plan appealed for USD$1.3 billion but is currently only 29 per cent funded.

The deteriorating food security and nutrition situation is one of the most alarming aspects of the crisis in the north-east. An estimated 4.3 million people are food insecure in the BAY states, according to the March 2023 Cadre Harmonisé assessment. Some two million children under five are likely to face acute malnutrition this year. To urgently operationalize time-sensitive and critical activities, the United Nations and partners launched a $396 million Lean Season Multi-Sector Plan as part of the HRP. While partners have made significant progress, including reaching approximately 2.1 million people with food assistance, they are challenged by limited funding, as this prioritised plan is only 51 per cent funded.

Despite facing tremendous difficulties, aid workers persist each day, standing shoulder to shoulder with affected communities. “On this day, and every day, I salute the commitment and perseverance of humanitarian workers,” said Mr. Schmale. “No matter what, the humanitarian community will continue to work together in support of government and other key actors to save, protect, and improve lives.”

For more information on World Humanitarian Day please visit

For further information, please contact:

Ann Weru: Head, Public Information, OCHA Nigeria, Email:, (+234) 703 852 2706

Christina Powell: Public Information Officer, OCHA Nigeria, Email:, (+234) 906 227 7205

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