GOAL is an international humanitarian agency dedicated to the alleviation of suffering amongst the poorest of
the poor. GOAL works towards ensuring that the poorest and most
vulnerable in our world and those affected by humanitarian crises have
access to the fundamental needs and rights of life such as food, water,
shelter, medical attention and primary education.
Founded in Dublin,
Ireland, in 1977, has spent more than €790 million (over $1 billion on current exchange rates) on the delivery of
aid to the poor in more than 50 countries.
If you would like to support GOAL USA, or take part in a fundraising event, please contact GOAL USA by clicking here.
South Sudan Crisis
GOAL teams in South Sudan are responding to the needs of displaced families and monitoring the overall humanitarian situation after recent outbreaks of violence in many parts of the country.
| A member of GOAL's response team in South Sudan
accessing the needs of a displaced family.
A large-scale vaccination programme for displaced children and pregnant women has been launched at our health clinics in Twic. We are vaccinating children against tuberculosis, polio, measles and diphtheria and pregnant women against tetanus.
More than 1,000 people are believed to have died and an estimated 174,000 people displaced from their homes since violence erupted on December 15.
What began as fighting between rival army factions has in some regions manifested in ethnic clashes between different ethnic groups.
A small number of our 34 health clinics in South Sudan have been looted in indiscriminate attacks, and some areas are too unsafe for our personnel to work. However, thanks to the dedication of GOAL staff, the vast majority of GOAL’s clinics have remained operational throughout the current emergency.
| GOAL staff vaccinating displaced children on January 8 in
Twic County, South Sudan
• GOAL has been working in (pre-partition) Sudan since 1985, when we began delivering primary health care.
• We are currently delivering Integrated Primary Health Care, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), Education, and Livelihoods programmes in South Sudan, which gained independence in July 2011.
• We manage 34 health clinics in various parts of the country
• We employ over 700 staff and have an estimated 473,578 beneficiaries in South Sudan.
GOAL’s Impact in the Philippines
Typhoon Haiyan - one of the most powerful storms on record to have made landfall - struck the eastern coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar on Friday, November 8th. This disaster has profoundly affected more than 13 million people and over 3.4 million people are displaced.
GOAL has reached more than 42,000 people and has provided vital aid supplies on the islands of Leyte and Panay. The aid includes food, non-food and shelter items. GOAL is planning to provide almost 70,000 people on Panay and Leyte islands with food, emergency shelter kits, cash-for-work and cash transfer programs over the coming weeks.
James Kelly of GOAL shared his recent experience in the Philippines:
As much as you try to inure yourself against emotional involvement, when you travel to a humanitarian disaster there is always at least one story of personal tragedy that manages to find a chink in the armor of “professionalism” that you had carefully wrapped around yourself before setting out.
And so it was when I met eighteen-year-old Lori-Jane and her family, in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan and the havoc it wreaked across the Philippines. Their story touched me in a way for which I was unprepared.
Lori-Jane and her two sisters - Jessica (16) and Amber (9) – and their father live in Jaro, a rural village on the island of Leyte. The mother of the family is working far from Jaro, as the father is unwell and unable to provide for his family. She was at work when Haiyan struck.
Theirs was once, by Philippine standards, a very good house; made from concrete and nicely decorated, with multiple rooms. By the time I visited it had been all been reduced to rubble. The little family had sheltered from the storm behind one of the concrete walls, which miraculously had remained standing. The father and daughters escaped physically unscathed, although undoubtedly they will be emotionally scarred for a long time.
The girls had been celebrating their father’s birthday when the typhoon struck. “When the winds and rain came,” said Lori-Jane, “Me and my sisters had just started singing happy birthday to my father. Within minutes, the walls and roof began to fall down around us, and we just huddled up against a wall, and prayed that we’d be safe.” The tears begin to flow as she points to what remains of their once lovely home, and the precious items that were destroyed.
The wall that gave protection is all that remains of the house’s infrastructure. The family now sleeps under a few blankets, spread over two wooden pallets. Their only shelter from the elements is from a “roof” consisting of a few sheets of corrugated tin attached to two bamboo poles.
As Amber delightedly examines the emergency rations that GOAL has provided, and the father busies himself in a never-ending attempt to clear the rubble and debris from their former home, Jessica shows me a tiny plaster figurine of a saint. The sisters credit this chipped and somewhat battered little icon with having protected their family. “It was our faith that helped us survive the storm,” says Jessica, “Now we are praying that we can rebuild our house and our lives.”
Lori-Jane is a high school graduate, and had planned to go to college. But now, it seems, what little money the family can earn will, for years to come, have to be invested in replacing what was lost to Typhoon Haiyan.
There are undoubtedly many Filipino people who suffered worse than Lori-Jane’s family, because of Typhoon Haiyan. There was something about this family that spoke to me far more than statistics we read about, these are real people. It also made me realize that had it not been for the fortunate accident of birthplace it could so easily have been my own family huddled against a wall during a devastating typhoon.
Syria Crisis: GOAL’s Largest Humanitarian Challenge in its
36 Year History
By Joseph M. Rinaldi, GOAL USA Board Member
In mid-June, Jonathan Edgar, GOAL's Chief Operating Officer,
invited me to join him on his next visit to Antakya, Turkey where GOAL's
humanitarian relief effort for Syria is based. We met there the following week.
I had hoped to go into Syria to see GOAL’s programs, but for security reasons,
I was unable to cross the Turkey-Syria border and instead stayed at the GOAL
base in Antakya.
Antakya is in southeast Turkey, close to the Syrian border.
It is the modern name for the ancient city of Antioch. GOAL is one of only
three NGOs registered by the Turkish government to operate inside Syria from
their Turkish base.
The area where GOAL is currently working within Syria is
centered on the town of Harim in Idlib Province, just across the border from
Antakya. Aleppo is due south of Harim
and farther south is Damascus. The fighting seems to be following the ancient
road that runs from Antakya to Damascus.
GOAL is providing food and other lifesaving supplies in kits
to Syrian beneficiaries. Trucks carrying the kits cross from Turkey into Syria
through the normal border crossing, which on the Syrian side is controlled by
the Free Syrian Army. However, non-commercial traffic, i.e. people, must
quietly cross the river that separates the two countries via a raft ferry
(equivalent to six or eight fifty-gallon drums lashed together and covered by a
Turkish border guards are posted in watchtowers along the
border. They tolerate passage between the countries recognizing the serious
humanitarian situation. Coupons, which permit people to buy sundries and other
items from 10 or 15 shops with whom GOAL has contracted, are also distributed
to beneficiaries. The shops accept the coupons in payment and GOAL reimburses
them in local currency.
GOAL is receiving most of its funding for Syrian relief
efforts from the U.S. and Irish governments. USAID, the responsible agency, is
considering substantially increasing its funding. The increases being discussed
would make this program the largest humanitarian relief effort ever undertaken
In Antakya, GOAL has its “A Team” – a group of humanitarian
crisis management staff. They are GOAL’s first responders – dedicated
professionals who know how to organize efforts and function effectively in a
chaotic situation. Most are veterans of GOAL's efforts in places like Uganda,
South Sudan, Darfur, Haiti, Pakistan, Bosnia, etc. They are incredibly
impressive people who are willing to bear difficult living conditions and
extremely dangerous environments. Although Antakya itself is not difficult,
there are frequent forays into Syria by some members of the team. They take
great pride in what they do and strongly believe that GOAL is one of the best
in the world at what it does.
One of most challenging issues that was discussed is how
close to get to the fighting. GOAL's mission is to care for the poorest of the
poor, or in this case the neediest of the needy. The closer one gets to the
fighting, the greater the needs of the people. However, the ability to verify
that the aid is in fact getting to the intended beneficiaries diminishes as the
severity of the conflict increases.
The closer one gets to the conflict, the more dangerous it
becomes for GOAL employees, volunteers, and contracted agents. Striking the
right balance between need, efficacy and risk is a daunting challenge for both
donors and GOAL senior management. These decisions have ethical and moral
dimensions that most of us do not necessarily deal with in ordinary life. These
are real issues that affect many lives and the responsibility is great.