2020: 12 months of hope and progress - GOAL Global Skip to content

12 Months of Hope and Progress

Supporting Vulnerable Communities

In 2020, with the support of our generous donors, partners and the people of Ireland, GOAL reached more than 14 million people in need in some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries.

Together, we helped change the lives of communities experiencing crises and extreme poverty through nutrition, health, livelihoods and emergency response programmes.

Our work is driven by our vision for a world where poverty no longer exists; where vulnerable communities are resilient; where barriers to well-being are removed and where everyone has equal rights and opportunities.

Where We Work


The Year in Numbers


countries of operation

14 million

people supported globally

1.2 million

people provided with food and nutrition

7.8 million

people reached through emergency response

Covid Response

2020 was first and foremost the year of the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus spread around the globe within weeks, affecting 192 countries on all continents. For the first time, GOAL was faced with a major humanitarian crisis occurring simultaneously in all our countries of operation.

While rates of infection and Covid-19 related deaths were particularly high in Europe and the Americas, other parts of the world including the Middle East and Africa have been severely hit by the secondary effects which included interrupted markets, lockdowns and movement restrictions. Countries and communities without well-established safety-nets and social welfare systems very quickly reached significant levels of hardship and hunger.


  • 6.3 million people reached directly with GOAL's Covid-19 response
  • Over 17.7 million people were reached with Covid-19 media messaging
  • Nearly 8 million people benefited from over 1,000 health facilities supported with infection prevention measures against Covid-19

Nigat's Story

As Covid spread across the world GOAL teams provided medical equipment to help protect frontline workers. Workers like Nigat who answered the call to help protect their communities.

“I'm just supposed to be backup but I can’t sit and watch while people are suffering. Working as a nurse is a blessing. Helping is a blessing. I am happy to help people who need my help," Nigat says.

“Working as a nurse is a blessing. Helping is a blessing. I am happy to help people who need my help.”

With hospital staff often overwhelmed, Nigat tries to keeps her spirits up - “When people are discharged. When my staff are protected. When they get what they need for their protection. That makes me smile."

"I want everyone to be protected. So we can hold hands and come out of this as heroes by defeating Covid.”

Covid-19 made me reflect on my life and my work. It confirmed my desire to be a humanitarian.

Thandolwenkosi Sibindi, GOAL Zimbabwe

Responding to Emergencies

Conflict and climate change continue to affect vulnerable communities, forcing millions to flee their homes.  A number of countries in which GOAL works, such as Syria, South Sudan, and Ethiopia, are host to over 10 million refugees and displaced people.



During 2020, the Syria crisis continued to be the world’s largest migrant crisis with more than 5.6 million Syrian refugees and another 6.2 million people displaced inside Syria. GOAL teams provided lifesaving food and water and other critical aid to over 1.6 million people.

GOAL also introduced new elements to its response in 2020 to increase the use of cash transfer programming and livelihood interventions to support strengthening of local markets and help the transition to some form of stability in the years ahead.



Last November two major Category 5 hurricanes - Eta and Iota - hit the North Coast of Central America directly affecting more than four million people and forcing hundreds of thousands of people into emergency shelter.

GOAL quickly mobilised its response to provide shelter repair, cash transfers for recovery, Covid-19 mitigation measures, and water and sanitation aid, to more than 40,000 people. This recovery effort will continue well into 2021.



In 2020 GOAL increased its response to the Venezuelan migrant crisis, supporting more families fleeing their homes. It's now the world’s second largest migrant crisis after Syria.

GOAL formally registered its operation in Colombia where it has established a response in four departments along the Venezuelan border which are hosting the highest numbers of Venezuelan migrants and Colombian returnees.

I would like to express my profound gratitude to our supporters, partners and our dedicated teams on the ground. Your ongoing support, generosity and passion ensures we can continue to be there for the world’s most vulnerable people when they need us most.

Barry O’Connell, GOAL Chairperson

Improving Health

In 2020 GOAL supported more than 5 million people with quality health, nutrition and water and sanitation programmes, enabling them to care for their own health and helping local providers supply the essential care needed to facilitate the communities they serve.


  • 925,000 people provided with soap and other hygiene items to hep prevent the spread of Covid-19
  • Over 1,000 health facilities supported with provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) supplies
  • Over 5 million people supported with health, nutrition, and water and sanitation programmes including;
    • Over 27,000 children vaccinated against preventable disease in South Sudan
    • 290 water points completed in Uganda and Sierra Leone combined

I have seen first-hand the struggles of people and how a helping hand can make real change in someone’s life

Jorge Tejeda, GOAL Honduras

Providing Food and Nutrition

Nearly 800 million people globally do not to have had enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs. The world’s demand for food is increasing against a background of population growth, conflict, migration and climate change. The economic and public health impacts of the Covid-19 have put people already vulnerable to shocks at risk.

Last year GOAL teams provided nutritional support to 1.2 million people, and we continued to focus on innovative and sustainable ways to achieve food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable.

Programme support focused on:

  • providing and promoting adequate diets in communities
  • enhancing subsistence food production and commercial food production
  • delivering market access and making nutritionally diverse foods available
Fatima is a beneficiary of GOAL's Livelihoods Programming in Ethiopia.

Nyakan's Story

Nyakan was forced to flee her village in South Sudan due to conflict. It was a harrowing journey. Nyakan and her family were lucky to survive. After five days without food or water Nyakan finally found safe haven. When she arrived at GOAL’s refugee camp in Gambella GOAL staff rushed to her aid and provided fresh water, food and shelter. Surrounded by a safe support network and her loving family, Nyakan began to thrive.

She later gave birth to beautiful triplets Nyachua, Nyajuak and Nyakime. They look the picture of health as they lie together in Gambella refugee camp in Ethiopia with their mother.

But as the world came together to fight the threat of Covid-19 in recent months, the triplets had a huge fight of their own. The baby girls were found to be suffering from life-threatening, severe malnutrition in their early weeks.

Thanks to the support of our donors our team in Ethiopia were there to intervene. And the babies received the vital treatment they needed to survive and flourish. The triplets are now meeting all their developmental milestones and their mother Nyakan can start planning for their future.


The same character is on display each and every day - that of passion and compassion; that of resilience imbued with hope; that of humanity and solidarity; and that of professionalism and composure, often in the most challenging of contexts.

Siobhan Walsh, GOAL CEO

Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods

In 2019, GOAL supported thousands of families through our sustainable livelihood programmes, focusing on the development of resilient livelihoods by giving people what they needed to create and maintain a living.

GOAL worked in communities where livelihoods were often within the informal economy and typically characterised by low and unstable income and an inability to access institutional support and credit.


  • GOAL supported 158,500 vulnerable people to help them building livelihoods and care for their families
  • In Ethiopia, GOAL and partners reached over 2,000 street-connected youth with education programmes and socio-economic skills
  • Through Savings & Loans groups, 33,678 people increased their financial literacy and accessed savings and loans, enabling thousands of people to set up their own businesses
GOAL teams in Uganda are supporting Covine's farm
GOAL teams in Uganda are supporting Covine's farm

Panom's Story

Meet Panom, a father of 6 and local farmer in Ulang, South Sudan.

It’s a beautiful region but blighted by ongoing conflict, insecurity and seasonal flooding. Growing enough food just to provide for their own families is often a struggle for small-scale farmers like Panom.

Panom Gatluak leads a group of 25 farmers in the RECOVER programme in Ulang, South Sudan.

But with GOAL's support a new sustainable initiative is helping to educate and empower local farmers. Life for Panom and his family has been transformed.

“I was so happy when GOAL gave me the opportunity. I learned modern farming techniques and had a better tomato harvest compared to previous years when I was doing it alone. I am also expecting a good maize harvest from the maize seeds GOAL gave me.”

Panom is now earning 60% more a week selling tomatoes to local markets. His family are currently living in crowded conditions. But with the extra income Panom hopes to build more space for his family.

He no longer worries about being able to put food on the table for his 6 children. A reliable harvest has enabled Panom to expand production and start planning for the future.

GOAL participates in vital humanitarian work that is aimed at achieving an enduring, peaceful and fulfilling balance between the needs of peoples, sustainable economy and a responsible care for the planet’s ecological capacity.

President Michael D Higgins

Supporting Gender Equality

GOAL has a longstanding commitment to gender equality, and we adopt a 'gender lens' in everything we do. We believe gender equality is critical to achieving poverty reduction, food security, more peaceful and inclusive communities and enhancing human capital through health and education.



GOAL teams are working with Venezuelan refugees in Colombia to support integration and boost employment prospects. Ines has received support to kick start her own baking business.


With poor hygiene closing schools and making students ill, GOAL Honduras are working to improve sanitation in schools to ensure students like Stephany can make the most their education and reach for the stars.


With support from GOAL, Joyce's Mothers' Group in Malawi used their experience of sewing menstrual sanitary pads to make face masks, helping to protect their community from the spread of Covid-19.

Impact In Numbers