Hope and new beginnings


ZOA has been working with displaced persons in Ethiopia since 1993. ZOA Ethiopia works with internally displaced people, host populations, returnees, and a large population of refugees who fled a lethal combination of violence and drought in Somalia.


The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, located in the landlocked region of the Horn of Africa, borders Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya and Eritrea. Ethiopia, while a land of great natural beauty and resources, is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Harassed by drought and flooding, hampered by internal and cross-border conflict, and host to large numbers of refugees fleeing across its borders, Ethiopia, ranked 174th out of 187 countries on UNDP 2012 Human Development Index, has long been a gracious host to hundreds of thousands of refugees who flock across its borders from Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia. 


ZOA Ethiopia undertakes activities in the sectors of livelihoods development, food security, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), education, and environmental protection. In this way vulnerable people are better prepared for the impact of conflict and natural disasters.  

The organization focuses on the populations in need in the Gambella Regional State and the Somali Regional State, and is willing to consider careful expansion of operations into the regions bordering these regional states, especially in the interest of displacement return and reintegration activities.

Emergency Response
Escalation of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, aggravated by the limitations of the Transitional Federal Government and the Islamist movements, fuelled a sharp influx of Somali asylum seekers into the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia in 2011. The Dollo Ado District of the Somali region of Ethiopia is currently host to approximately 160,000 Somali refuges, with hundreds more arriving daily. The two original refugee camps were soon overflowing; three additional camps were established in 2011 and a sixth camp will be opened in 2012. 

The refugees are arriving in extremely poor health, with many leaving children, disabled, weak, and elderly family members behind, or losing them en route. The majority arrives without assets and is wholly dependent on relief aid. Further troubling, the host population of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists are, themselves, facing extreme economic hardship due to the prolonged drought in the region. ZOA began working with these populations in 2009, and boosted its operations in 2011 to address the emergency response and recovery needs of this new influx of refugees, and their hosts.

Approached for immediate assistance by the regional government, ZOA is also implementing an emergency relief operation in the Hudet district of the Somali region for a large number of displaced people and their hosts, who are themselves in early stage of recovery from a prolonged drought. 

The emergency assistance is in the form of shelter material and basic construction tools, cash transfers, the provision of soap, blankets, sleeping mats, cooking pots, jugs, plastic cups, bowls, plates, washing basins, and mosquito nets. And further, to improve accessibility of potable water, donkeys, carts, plastic barrens, jerry cans and buckets will be provided. Through a multi-year programme ZOA Ethiopia will support the most vulnerable displaced and host community members towards a restoration of their livelihoods.


9° 8' 49.1496" N, 40° 29' 35.0124" E