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World Humanitarian Day 2020


August 19 is World Humanitarian Day, a day to come together and pay tribute to humanitarian policymakers, practitioners and #RealLifeHeroes who provide life-saving support to people affected by crises. This year World Humanitarian Day takes on special significance, as we find ourselves caught in the grips of a global health emergency, which has plunged countries the world over into a state of crisis. Over 21 million people have now contracted COVID-19, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 700,000 men, women, boys and girls and people of diverse gender identities.

To combat the pandemic Governments have adopted restrictive measures such as social-distancing, stay-at-home and quarantine orders to curb the spread of the virus. While such measures have undoubtedly helped save lives, they have also contributed to devastating political, economic, social and cultural consequences, which have disproportionately impacted people in low-income and fragile and conflict-affected states.

SDDirect, drawing on its expertise in gender, social inclusion and safeguarding, has launched a COVID-19 Blog series. This is with the principal aim of inspiring and supporting the international community to identify, prioritise and respond to the needs of the most vulnerable individuals and nations as part of both the immediate humanitarian response and long-term recovery planning. To find out more, visit

We at SDDirect are particularly concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on violence against women and girls. Research has shown that in times of crisis, be this the result of conflict, natural disaster or pandemic situations, women and girls experience GBV at a higher rate, particularly intimate partner violence. This is because in such situations the factors that contribute to GBV such as gender inequality, social fragmentation, stress, acute poverty and strained service provision worsen.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the GBV AoR Helpdesk, SDDirect’s flagship humanitarian research and technical advice service, is available to support frontline aid workers and #RealLifeHeroes on GBV risk mitigation, prevention and response. The Helpdesk is staffed by a Roster of Senior Gender and GBV Experts who can conduct rapid desk-based research and provide remote technical advice on GBV in emergencies programming to make sure interventions are in line with international standards, guidelines and best practice. We strive to ensure our services are accessible to and utilized by a broad range of humanitarian actors, including staff from UN agencies, INGOs and local women-led organizations, groups and movements. For this reason, our services are both FREE and CONFIDENTIAL. For more information, visit