Why and which humanitarian action?

Today is a good day to talk about humanitarian action, because the 19th of August we are celebrating the World humanitarian day. Let’s do it #WHD2014!

But, what is humanitarian action- HA? Relief by itself is not necessarily humanitarian. Humanitarian action is not only about providing care or relief. It also has to be done impartially, without discrimination, independent from ideology, religion, etc.; and it has to be aimed at saving lives, respecting people’s dignity, providing protection and human needs.

Determining what is the most effective way of working and complying with humanitarian principles is not always easy, but agencies and NGOs must work following their mission, vision and objectives.

In order to assure the aid effectiveness, two kinds of humanitarian organizations must coexist: the ones that do not make and “open” awareness and because of that they usually do not have problems to provide the aid, and the ones that are also bearing witness. Both approaches are important and must be complementary.

Moreover, humanitarian organisations need well-prepared and trained people to carry out projects helping communities struck by disasters and man-made crises.

As a humanitarian volunteer, I am learning how to work properly in HA through the project «Bridging the gap with volunteers: EU aid volunteers in LRRD missions«. I am contributing with the communication and advocacy work of Alianza por la Solidaridad– APS in Colombia. APS mission is Colombia is to work in humanitarian action and development from three perspectives: ensure the safety, dignity and humanitarian assistance to population affected by the Colombian conflict. Moreover, we are working from the LRRD approach, linking relief, rehabilitation and development.

Humanitarian advocacy has taken great relevance in the previous years and has the objective of obtaining help or providing information to influence politics or practices by key players. In order to make advocacy, I will be working, with my colleagues, inside UN clusters and through other mechanisms of coordination. As a communication officer, among other activities, I will be developing communication products about the projects and activities of APS in the country.

I am excited for contributing with responsibility and commitment with the work of Alianza por la Solidaridad in Colombia!

Written by Laura Sancho Torné