Programme areas and target groups

  • Karamoja: Amudat District
  • Acholi: Nwoya District, Agago District, Pader District
  • West Nile: Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement, Imvepi Refugee Settlement (Arua District), Bidibidi Refugee Settlement (Yumbe District) and host communities

ZOA Uganda is active in several sectors:

  • Peace building
  • Food security & Livelihoods
  • Basic education
  • WASH

What we do

ZOA Uganda delivers assistance to marginalized communities with diverse and innovative programs. Applying a holistic approach and working in cooperation with the communities we serve, our goal is to create a viable impact. We provide sustainable access to basic services and resources, promote good community governance and help re-building peaceful and stable communities. Being the largest refugee-hosting country on the African continent, Uganda is home to more than 1 million refugees. The majority, hundreds of thousands of people, fled devastating violence and conflict in South Sudan. As a response to the ongoing needs, ZOA Uganda continued to expand its relief and recovery intervention in West Nile in 2017 and 2018.

Our work in West Nile

In West Nile Region, ZOA responds to urgent Food Security, Livelihoods, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and Basic Education needs of both refugees and host communities. Together with our partners Danish Refugee Council, Save the Children, and CEFORD under the EU Emergency Trust Fund, we aim to improve the living conditions and promote peaceful coexistence among refugees and host communities in Northern Uganda. ZOA works towards this goal by providing relevant participatory farming skills training to both host community and refugee farmers in and around Bidibidi and Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement. In partnership with ICCO and War Child Holland and with support of the Dutch Embassy in Uganda, we furthermore build capacity and resilience of 5,000 youth, equipping them with employable, societal and business skills.

In and around Imvepi Refugee Settlement we improve WASH facilities for refugees and host communities with funding of the United States Government. In partnership with Malteser International and International Aid Services, we provide access to safe water and basic sanitation facilities at household and school level and raise sanitation and hygiene awareness.

More than half of the refugee population are children. As a consequence, schools in and around the refugee settlements have been overwhelmed by the rapid increase in the number of pupils. Our aim is that all children have access to quality education. We therefore support both refugee and host community children to enrol, stay and complete primary school. We create an enabling environment by providing children with go-to-school packages, school feeding and with specific support to girls with menstrual hygiene packages.

Our work in Acholi

In Acholi Region, we help to re-build peaceful and stable communities that faced atrocities and years of displacement during the violent conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the government. The region currently struggles with (violent) land conflicts, which severely limits sustainable access to land for farmers, especially for vulnerable groups. With our land security project supported by the EU, Foundation Pharus and Dioraphte, we provide farmers the opportunity to map and register their parcel so that they can secure their land.  We build local capacity and support land administration structures to register land through so-called Certificates of Customary Ownership (CCOs). Doing so, we support solving land related conflicts. Between 2016-2018, more than 1,400 CCOs have been processed through which almost 4,000 landowners secured their land rights. Our farming skills training further supports farmers to engage in climate-smart agricultural practices and improve their crop yields.

In line with our comprehensive approach, we support children and youth in the sub-region with basic education and vocational skills. We give 1,250 vulnerable and/or school drop-out children a second-chance through our speed schooling project. We provide vocational skills training to 3,500 vulnerable youth through placements at Vocational Skills Institutes and apprenticeships.

Our work in Karamoja

In Amudat District, Karamoja Region, ZOA supports (agro-)pastoralist returnee communities who were forced to flee to neighbouring Kenya as a result of intensive intertribal cattle rustling and violent conflict for natural resources. In a region that is one of the poorest and marginalised of Uganda, our holistic approach supports sustainable recovery and development. With the long-term support of private donors, we support quality education to ensure children enrol, stay and complete primary school. We help their parents to gain an income by providing alternative livelihood sources through agro-entrepreneurial and bee-keeping groups. With our specific attention to the needs of women and girls, we aim to empower their role in society. We work with male-role models and faith-based institutions to counteract Female Genital Mutilation and other harmful traditional practices of gender-based violence. We create awareness among communities about the importance of education, as education is the key towards development.

Donors and partners

ZOA’s started working in Uganda in 1997. Today, we provide relief, hope and recovery in West Nile, Acholi and Karamoja Region. We work in partnerships with both national and international organisations and work in close collaboration with local governments to build capacity and enforce the sustainability of our intervention. ZOA Uganda employs over 115 staff and applies the Core Humanitarian Standards in its operations.


ZOA Uganda is supported by a range of multilateral, bilateral and private institutional donors. Recent bilateral and multilateral donors include EuropeAid, the European Commission, Government of the United Sates (BPRM), Enabel and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Uganda. ZOA Uganda also receives support from a wide range of private donors and foundations, such as ELMA Foundation, Stichting Pharus, Stichting Dioraphte, Stichting Wees Een Kans, Florys, ZOA Business Ambassadors and Stichting Draagt Elkanders Lasten.

Consortia and partnerships

ZOA Uganda works in several consortia and partnerships. Recent partners include: Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Save the Children, Community Empowerment for Rural Development (CEFORD), Malteser International (MI), International Aid Services (IAS), War Child Holland, ICCO, WOMENA, CCF, Nwoya District Local Government, Light for the World, NET Foundation and AIDI.

ZOA Uganda is ambassador of the ‘Make 12.4% Work Initiative’, aiming to create access to open employment opportunities to persons with disabilities.