Liberia

Programme areas and target groups

ZOA works directly in the following counties: 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. Even in 2019, the people of Liberia continue to suffer from some of the highest levels of malnutrition and maternal mortality and the lowest levels of education, literacy and access to water and sanitation in the world.

Food Security and Livelihoods

We work alongside thousands of farmers, empowering them for a long term positive future. We support them 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. In total, ZOA is working with 3,000 farmers in 100 communities in three counties. Our field staff live and work in these communities, teaching best practices and establishing Community and Farmer Saving and Loans Associations.

In these same remote villages, we establish Mothers Groups in which we aim to empower women by working with them 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.

ZOA’s Home Grown School Meals programme supports farmers to grow cassava and beans, which are then processed and supplied to schools to provide a nutritious daily meal for students.

ZOA is targeting 21 schools in the Home Grown School Meals programme to increase enrollment, improve attendance, and help children to concentrate in class and to pass their exams so that they can finish their schooling. This project simultaneously helps children to be properly nourished, and to finish school whilst also supporting farmers and agro-processors, thereby improving livelihoods and creating jobs.

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.

Rebuilding trust through community-based sociotherapy

Liberian communities still experience the impact of the violent war that ended 10 years ago. In response, ZOA developed a programme of peacebuilding activities, focusing mainly on community-based sociotherapy. We help individuals and communities who were traumatized by the war to rebuild safety and trust. In this project we are also working with our partner YMCA to establish peace clubs in schools and to set up ‘Community Leaders Forums’ and ‘Civic Trust Workshops’. ZOA also works to promote reconciliation before and after elections, which can cause tensions in Liberia.

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.

Donors and partners

With funding from

European Union, SIDA, YEP (Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs), UNICEF, ECOWAS, Vreugdenhil Dairy Foods, Hoogwegt Group, Aqua for All, Turing Foundation, Hofstee Stichting, ZOA the Netherlands

In cooperation with

SHIFSD, YMCA, WHH / Concern / SPARK

Header picture: Margreet Noordhof