Liberia

Programme areas and target groups

ZOA works across Liberia’s 15 counties with most activities taking place in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Montserrado, Margibi, Nimba and Lofa. We target urban and rural communities recovering from the civil war and the Ebola epidemic.

ZOA Liberia works in the following sectors:

  • Food security & Livelihoods
  • Peacebuilding
  • WASH
  • Education

What we do in Liberia

ZOA began working in Liberia in 2003, helping people to rebuild their lives following the devastation of a 14-year civil war. Liberia’s recovery from the war, and the Ebola epidemic, has been a slow process, with many setbacks. Although the country has been relatively stable and peaceful over the last years, developmental challenges remain such as high levels of malnutrition and maternal mortality and low levels of education, literacy and access to water and sanitation.

Food Security and Livelihoods

We work with 3,000 farmers in 100 communities, empowering them for a long-term positive future. We support them to adopt improved agriculture practices to grow a wider range of nutritious and marketable crops and to get better prices by processing these crops and we connect them to the market. Community and Farmer Saving and Loans Associations are established to help farmers to save.

In the same villages, we establish Mothers Groups which support women to grow, prepare and market a wide range of nutritious vegetables from their own gardens. Women, men and children learn about nutrition, food safety and good hygienic and dietary practices to reduce under-nutrition and to support healthy child development.

In Margibi County, ZOA targets 21 schools in the Home-Grown School Meals Programme. We aim to increase enrollment, improve attendance, and to support children to finish their schooling. This project simultaneously helps children to be properly nourished, whilst also supporting farmers and agro-processors.

Rebuilding trust and sustaining inclusive peace

Liberian communities still experience the impact of the violent war that ended 15 years ago. We help individuals and communities who are traumatized by the war to rebuild safety and trust and to foster reconciliation and healing. ZOA furthermore works with several partners to encourage inclusive dialogues and to strengthen trust between communities, community and traditional leaders, and government institutions.

ZOA collaborates with the Liberia Peacebuilding Office to promote reconciliation before and after elections, which can cause tensions in Liberia. In addition, efforts have been made to strengthen Liberia’s Early Warning and Early Response system and to resolve conflicts across the country through County Peace Committees. As women and youth still remain underrepresented in conflict resolution, peacebuilding efforts and political and civic engagements, ZOA aims to empower them to meaningfully participate.

Education as a key to employment

Liberia’s extremely high levels of youth unemployment are a cause of concern with respect to the maintenance of peace in this fragile post-conflict setting. Supporting young people to gain employment is therefore a vital development goal. ZOA is establishing 65 youth internships in ‘’Small Business Management, Food Processing and Agro-Entrepreneurship’’. These interns are being equipped to participate in this growing sector to either start their own small businesses in agro-processing or to find employment in this strongly emerging sector that straddles rural and urban settings.

Innovation in WASH

ZOA works with partners to drill boreholes, to establish hand pumps, to build school latrines and hand-washing stations and to educate communities about good hygiene practices. In the WASH sector, ZOA has made a groundbreaking contribution by establishing and professionalizing manual drilling in Liberia. ZOA’s work has enabled the expansion of this cost-effective, innovative and high-quality technique to several counties. In total, over 200 boreholes have been established and/or rehabilitated and provided tens of thousands of Liberians with access to safe drinking water.

Donors and partners

With funding from

European Union, SIDA, YEP (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs), UNICEF, ECOWAS, Irish Aid, Vreugdenhil Dairy Foods, Hoogwegt Group,  Turing Foundation, ZOA the Netherlands, Stichting De Pagter Fonds.

In cooperation with

PBO / ONPA / SHIFSD, YMCA, WHH / Concern / SPARK / ABIC

Header picture: Margreet Noordhof