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Dawn Hoyle

Dawn Hoyle: from bank manager to country director at ZOA

British Dawn started her career in the banking world. But in 2009 she decided to take a sabbatical. I discovered that with my education and work experience in business, I could really make a difference in people's lives.” She made a radical career change and has since worked in Uganda, Vanuatu,Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Ethiopia.

career switch

I want to use my talents to make a difference in people's lives!”

Sometimes when Dawn Hoyle goes on a field visit, she end up in tears. Not from sadness, but because I am genuinely touched by so much resilience and hope. Although refugees find themselves in extremely vulnerable circumstances, I am deeply impressed by the power that many of them show to make something of it. Then I remember why I do this work!”

Dawn already has a lot of experience in the world of development work. Yet the situation in Ethiopia, where she has been ZOA country director since 2021, is extremely complex. In Ethiopia we are facing and addressing the impact of both man made and natural disasters, supporting refugees and displaced persons to rebuild their lives. We face new challenges regularly and at times it can be overwhelming, but we work together as a team, to prioritise and deliver change.”

Strong reputation

''As ZOA, we have a strong reputation in Ethiopia. We are known to act quickly in emergency situations. We have our logistics in order. But what really sets ZOA apart is that it also looks at the long term. We do not want refugees to remain dependent on food aid, but to become self-sufficient. We go one step further. Not only do we help people to set up their own vegetable garden, but we also immediately teach them how to sell their extra-grown vegetables on the market.”

Resilience is key

The key word here is for Dawn: empowerment. It starts with how you look at refugees. We are not here to tell people how to live their lives, but to support and help, so that people can continue on their own. People are already strong. Yes, they are in a vulnerable position due to circumstances that they can often do nothing about. But refugees are extremely resilient. That touches me every time I visit the field.”


Dawn is happy to share stories about her encounters with strong refugees: ''For example, I recently met a young girl who had fled all alone from Congo to Ethiopia. She was on her own, yet she told me with great determination that she would take every opportunity. She was sure she would succeed in building a better life. Then I am moved. It is incredibly inspiring to see that people are capable of so much even in the most complicated of circumstances. Hearing these stories gives me infinite strength and motivation for my work."

Dawn is part of a team of 1000 committed colleagues all over the world. We are here for people who have lost everything in a war or a disaster. Interested in working for ZOA?

Check our current vacancies!