August Digital Initiatives Recap

This month and each month moving forward, we’ll be exploring the UN digital campaigns that are generating lots of interest and engagement – and social media activity that’s helping to connect the public to the important work that you all do.

In August, some of the most popular tweets in the UN Social 500 were related to the celebration of World Humanitarian Day on August 19th, which helped send #ShareHumanity trending. On this day, the UN and its partners recognize the humanitarian aid workers who risk their lives in service to the international community. This year’s World Humanitarian Day was focused on the theme of “One Humanity” and the over 130 million people around the world who depend on humanitarian assistance to survive.

UN Headquarters celebrated World Humanitarian Day with a speech and performance by UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Youth Ambassador Mohammed Assaf. A Palestinean refugee, Assaf grew up in the Khan Younis camp in Gaza and was appointed the Agency’s Regional Youth Ambassador for Palestine Refugees in 2013. UN staffers, including Alexandra Eurdolian, shared clips and images of Assaf’s moving a cappella performance in the General Assembly Hall in series of popular tweets.

As part of the rollout of World Humanity Day, the UN also launched a digital campaign focused on the impossible choices that people caught in crisis face. Tweets sharing the #AgendaForHumanity hashtag prompted members of the public to take the Humanitarian Quiz at WorldHumanitarianDay.org, which presents the reader with a series of impossible choices. Would you rather drink cholera-contaminated water or cross a minefield to get clean water? Would you share the last of your water with a severely dehydrated child or keep it for your own thirsty children?

The quiz, which features bold illustrations of people in crisis, analyzes your choices and then presents you with your result: a statement about “the world you’d rather live in”. I took the quiz; my results told me that I “want a world where children don’t have to grow up in camps” (I do!) and prompted me to share my result and an accompanying illustration of a smiling child on Facebook and Twitter.

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Several staffers on the UN Social 500, like Brendan McDonald, shared their results, which were widely retweeted. Many of those tweets also encouraged others to take the quiz and support the over 130 million people across the world living in crisis, who are presented with impossible choices each day.

#ProtectAidWorkers also began to trend around World Humanitarian Day, with UN staffers sharing stories of the risks that aid workers face on duty. Helen Clark of UNDP joined in the conversation, retweeting a grim statistic shared by UNDP team leader Ludo Bok: since 1997, 1,451 aid workers have been killed on duty, with twice as many killed in 2015 as in 1997. Others leading in the UN Social 500 tweeted with the #ProtectAidWorkers hashtag to share related news stories and implore UN agencies to do more to protect aid workers on the job.

Next month we’ll be scanning the UN Social 500 for the stories, tweets, and hashtags that generated the most public engagement in September. We’ll share the story behind those campaigns and highlight UN staff who have used their social media accounts to connect the public with the important work that all of you do. See you next month!