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Winners of the 2024 GOAL Humanitarian Innovation Fund announced


June 21, 2024 • 4 min read

Winners from GOAL Niger and Colombia will lead projects leveraging technology to enhance response during health crises and introducing propane-fueled (LPG) motors to artisanal fishing communities, respectively. 

After an extensive pitching and judging process, GOAL is pleased to announce the two winners in the Irish INGO 2024 Humanitarian Innovation Fund’s two workstreams. The Innovation Fund, which aims to foster scalable innovations in a longer-term effort to reduce and overcome humanitarian crises, is now in its third round and this year is providing €220,00 worth of funding. The 2024 Fund prioritizes health, resilience, and digital technology solutions for humanitarian response and this year, applications were open to GOAL’s external partners, including social enterprises, for-profit companies, and research institutions. 

The winners of the 2024 GOAL Humanitarian Fund in the two workstreams were as follows;  

  • In the Digital Technology Solutions Workstream, the Community-based Health Emergency Early Warning and Response System, led by GOAL Niger, leveraging existing data and community engagement to improve response to health crises in the Mirriah district in the Zinder region in Niger.  
  • In the Resilience Workstream, the Energy Transition in Small and Medium-Scale Fisheries project, led by GOAL Colombia in partnership with COLGAS and Fundación Capital, introducing sustainable energy solutions to artisan fishing communities in La Guajira, Colombia and aims to reduce CO2 emissions and operational costs, enhancing both economic viability and environmental sustainability.  

Irish Aid has partnered with GOAL on the Humanitarian Innovation Fund since 2022 and is providing €150,000 to the 2024 fund. Of this amount, €50,000 has been allocated to ongoing innovations previously selected and €100,000 has been allocated to support new innovations selected in this round of funding. GOAL is also pleased to announce a new partnership between the Humanitarian Innovation Fund and Kingspan. Kingspan, a buildings materials company which trades in over 80 countries, has committed to contributing €150,000 to the Fund to support digital innovations for overcoming humanitarian crises. 

Innovation leaders guided the final selection in this year’s Innovation Fund process and the process was inspired by TV shows like Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank.  

Alison Cowzer, a serial innovator, Dragon investor on Dragons’ Den, and GOAL Board member, who was part of the judging process said,  

“We have been absolutely thrilled with the response to the competition this year. Ingenuity, new thinking, and ambition have been truly inspiring, addressing real problems and challenges experienced daily in the communities where we work. Well done to everyone who participated in this year’s project and competition.” 

“We have been blown away by the standard, particularly by the ability of participants to take new ideas on board, refine them, and make them the best they can be. This project and competition are about taking innovation to the next level and building on what we at GOAL does best: putting great ideas into action and delivering real impact.” continued Alison Cowzer.   

Conor Twomey, Head of Customer Success at KX Technology and GOAL US Board member, also highlighted the critical role of technology in driving humanitarian innovation. Louise Foody, representing Covolve, a digital  innovation business and digital venture arm of GOAL’s new innovation partner Kingspan Group, and David Elliot, Director and Founding Member of The Gallus Edge CIC, brought their diverse experiences to the table, enriching the discussions on impactful innovation in humanitarian contexts. 

GOAL’s team in Niger were the winners in the Digital Technology Solutions Workstream

In expressing her appreciation for the insights gained into GOAL’s field operations, Louise Foody, Managing Director, Convolve said,  

 “Thank you to GOAL for the opportunity to participate in this year’s Innovation Fund.  It was great to see the innovative work happening in regions around the world. This technology and information system has the potential to fill a major gap in the health system, and we believe it is scalable. The team displayed huge courage and resilience, having applied last year and returned this year to win.” 

Commenting on the winner in the Resilience Workstream, the Energy Transition in Small and Medium-Scale Fisheries in Colombia project, Alison Cowzer further remarked,  

“We are thrilled to support the Energy Transition in Small and Medium-Scale Fisheries project. This project builds on the expertise that GOAL has been developing in the blue economy. The benefits to the communities and the fishers will be immense. We see this funding as the beginning of a project that can scale and deliver significant benefits and impact across the region.” 

In addition, the Fund is supporting two other initiatives;  

  • The ‘Token Tap Digital Remote Monitoring Tool for Water Systems in Uganda’, introduces a digital tracker for the TokenTap prepayment mechanism. This initiative enhances the sustainability of rural water systems by providing real-time data on handpump usage and ensuring consistent revenue for maintenance, aligned with SDG 6.  
  • The ‘Tackling Vaccine and Medical Supply Challenges: Drone Delivery Program for Improved Connectivity and Emergency Response in South Sudan,’ which aims to pilot medical drones for efficient vaccine and medical supply delivery in remote areas, thereby reducing vaccine-preventable diseases and enhancing healthcare accessibility in South Sudan. 

GOAL extends its appreciation to all applicants for their dedication and innovative ideas. Each proposal underwent a rigorous evaluation process, and future collaboration and proposal refinement opportunities are available through GOAL’s Programme Innovation Lab. 

Special thanks to Irish Aid for their continued support and to our new innovation partner, Kingspan Group for their support and collaboration. Their commitment to humanitarian innovation is crucial to the success of our initiatives and the impactful work we can accomplish together. 

For more information, please visit Humanitarian Innovation Fund – GOAL Global.