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GOAL, changing lives in Iraq


March 5, 2020 • 3 min read

Four different people. Four powerful stories of change.

Last year GOAL implemented a project to strengthen livelihoods for the people of Al-Hamdaniya District, in Nineveh Governorate in Northern Iraq.

Funded by Irish Aid and benefitting more than 500 residents, the project included training communities to plan for emergencies and reduce disaster risk.

One hundred people were directly involved in the training. 65% reported they had implemented what they learned in their day-to-day lives and used some of the practices to face emergencies they encountered, reducing losses as much as possible.

Here are the stories of four individuals who personally benefitted from the training provided by GOAL.


“The training saved my bakery and my life too”

Mahdi Ibrahim, 29, shows the fire extinguisher he installed in his bakery, to be used in the case of fire.

Mahdi Ibrahim is 29 years old and lives in the Al-Hamdaniya district in Nineveh Governate. He is the owner of a bakery and received training in Emergency Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction conducted by GOAL in 2019. “Immediately after the training, I bought a fire extinguisher and put it in the bakery. During the following weeks, the fire broke out due to the explosion of a gas bottle in the bakery. Without hesitation, I used the fire extinguisher and managed the flames before it got worse. I would have lost my life and my bakery together if I hadn’t put out the fire.”



“Keeping my cattle safe”

Laith Hamid, 29, shows the wall in his stables used to protect his animals from floods.

Laith Hamid is 29 years old and a cattle farmer. He built a wall inside his stables to protect his cattle against floods and to give the animals an opportunity to find a safe place in the event that water entered the stable. “I developed this idea during the Emergency Preparedness training provided by GOAL in Ninawa 2019” Laith said.


Avoiding field fire spreading

Qais Ibrahim Ahmed, 29, shows the ditch he dug around his farmland to prevent the spread of wildfires.

Qais Ibrahim Ahmed is a 29-year-old farmer. He dug a ditch around his land to prevent the spreading of fires from one farm to another.

“I learned this during the Disaster Reduction training provided by GOAL in Ninawa 2019. I found it a simple and inexpensive way to prevent the spreading of fires that have caused great losses in the past.” Qais says.


“The first First Aid kit in my home”

Abdulsalam Salah, 31, shows the First Aid kit he now has in his home in case of a medical emergency.

Abdulsalam Salah is 31 years old and from Nimrud. He attended the Emergency Preparedness Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction training conducted by GOAL in 2019.

“During this training, I realized the importance of preparing ourselves for any emergency. In my remote village we cannot expect any medical assistance to arrive urgently, so I decided to have a First Aid kit in my house at least. It was the first time I thought in this way” Abdulsalam said.


The Nineveh Governate in northern Iraq is the second largest province in the country in terms of population, with about 4 million people living there. This province has witnessed many conflicts as well as natural disasters, as Mosul, the centre of Nineveh, was the first and largest city that came under control of ISIS in 2014. This led to many human and material losses in the province, which also suffered from several floods due to heavy winter rain, as well as fires due to high summer temperatures.


GOAL in Iraq:

  • Operating in Iraq since we first entered in 2003 to provide short-term emergency response to communities affected by conflict and returned to the country in 2014.
  • GOAL’s work first focused on crisis response but is now directed towards rebuilding and recovery following years of conflict and large-scale displacement.
  • Managed an operating budget of €2M in 2018, delivering programmes both directly and through local partners.
  • Reached 3,000 people in 2018.