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GOAL has been working in Colombia since 2019, supporting host communities and Venezuelan refugees who have been exiled from their homeland. Economic turmoil, political unrest, violence and a lack of basic needs such as food and medicine have driven millions from their homes. Many now live in informal settlements in Colombia.

What we do in Colombia

Emergency Response
Sustainable Livelihoods

Supporting communities facing conflict, migration and natural disasters

In 2022, GOAL Colombia responded to the Venezuelan migrant crisis with targeted inventions for host communities and migrant populations in informal urban settlements. Activities include improving access to shelter, food security, and early warning and response in areas where informal settlements are at risk from landslides, flooding, and other natural disasters.

GOAL also supports improved social cohesion and assists migrants with registration. In 2022, we also responded to flooding with cash assistance and livelihood restoration for affected families. GOAL is in advanced discussions with USAID regarding further scaling of this response effort in Colombia

GOAL provides support to a number of shelters and settlements sites, and is strengthening urban resilience through the flagship Barrio Resiliente programme. The project is being implemented by a consortium, with GOAL as lead agency, and targets neighborhoods in four regions: La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Bucaramanga Municipality in Santander, and Baranquilla municipality in Atlantico.

Baranquilla and Bucaramanga, in particular, have experienced rapid expansion as a result of the migrant crisis. GOAL’s Barrio Resiliente approach aims to reduce urban disaster risk by strengthening local government and community capacities. The approach was first developed by GOAL in Honduras where it resulted in a measurable reduction in disaster risk in urban areas. It is being adapted to the Colombia context in collaboration with key municipal actors and piloted in prioritised neighbourhoods prone to flooding and landslides and other hazards (as happened during the heavy rains in Nariño, Antioquia and in Calle del Cauca in 2021). 

Supporting Blue and Green economies

In 2022, GOAL continued to implement the Resilience of the Blue Economy programme to support longer-term solutions to the migrant crisis. GOAL's programme targeted small-scale fisheries and eco-tourism in indigenous and Afro-descendent communities. 

This well-established programme is now being adapted and applied in response to the migrant crisis in Colombia. The Resilience of the Blue Economy Programme was developed by GOAL with the aim of making fisheries markets more inclusive and resilient by addressing key constraints including: inadequate infrastructure for cold chain management; lack of access to capital and financial services; poor and non-existent extension and business development services; poor governance of natural resources leading to the “tragedy of the commons,” including overfishing and habitat loss; limited adherence to market demand (food hygiene standards, stability of supply chains) and poor market coordination and linkages.

All interventions integrate economic incentives which have positive environmental and social outcomes. In Colombia, GOAL supports MSMEs owned by Venezuelan migrants in the recycling ‘circular’ economy, to access formal markets to improve their incomes and employment conditions. 

Working with local communities

The operationalisation of GOAL's Crisis to Resilience framework in Colombia focuses on the needs and root causes of major regional humanitarian crises in food security, health, rapid urban expansion, migration and other sudden onset emergencies due to seismic and extreme weather events. This includes scaling up GOAL’s response to the Venezuela migrant crisis in both Colombia and Venezuela.

Programming includes regional interventions in the Blue Economy targeting food security and disaster resilience for indigenous and Afro-descendent communities, urban programming and humanitarian leadership focused on building GOAL and local partner capacities to respond to sudden onset emergencies. 

To support longer-term solutions to the migrant crisis, GOAL is supporting inclusive economic development through its Barrio Resiliente, ‘Resilience of the Blue Economy’ and ‘Green Economy’ programmes.

Our Story in numbers


GOAL begins work in Colombia


Total staff


No. of Venezuelan migrants living in Colombia


People supported in 2023

Our work in Colombia is supported by: