ZOA's COVID-19 emergency response - Timeline

2 July – update: overview of our emergency response worldwide

ZOA works with people who have to deal with conflict, displacement en food insecurity. Support is needed more than ever. Even when restrictive measures make our work difficult. We do everything in our power to continue to provide life-saving aid to our neighbours in need. Click on the map to see a short overview of the situation in the countries we work in. 


16 June- Covid-19 response in remote areas in Uganda

In Uganda, ZOA is part of a special COVID-19 working group in both regions. This allows us to respond directly to the greatest needs in the two regions: Acholi and Umudat. Through the active response and participation of ZOA in the COVID-19 working groups, permission has been obtained to go to remote villages, which were previously difficult to reach. Click to read more about our response to Covid-19 in Uganda.

6 June- ZOA supports 150 Indigenous Wayuu families living in the remote deserts in Northern Uribia, Colombia

ZOA prefers to provide support in the form of multipurpose cash or vouchers, because it preserves peoples dignity to choose and a sense of normalcy in the uncertain times of COVID-19. However, for 150 Indigenous Wayuu families living in the remote deserts in Northern Uribia, ZOA had to take a different approach. ZOA staff travelled 7 hours north and  distributed food kits to vulnerable household who faced food insecurity due to COVID-19 for over two days. Click here to read more about the COVID-19 response in Colombia.

15 May -ZOA receives COVID-19 funding in Nigeria and Syria from Dutch Relief Alliance

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands has allocated 10 million EUR for COVID-19 response through the Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA). The DRA is a collaboration of 16 Dutch international humanitarian NGOs, who jointly respond to various crises around the world. ZOA is an active member of the DRA and currently takes the lead for the Syria Joint Response. ZOA was recently awarded 231.000 EUR for COVID-19 response in Syria and 324.000 EUR for COVID-19 response in the Boko Haram affected area in northeastern Nigeria.

25 April – COVID-19 response in Iraqi IDP camps

In spite of the lockdown, ZOA continues to distribute hygiene packages in Iraq amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. For instance in Bardarash IDP camp, the most vulnerable populations receive hygiene materials, including a leaflet with COVID-19 precautionary measures.

3 April – COVID-19 Cash distributions in Colombia

In a refugee camp Uribia, in the north of Colombia, ZOA has adapted its programming as an acute food crisis was looming. Because of the lockdown, people could not go out anymore to earn an income and lost their (informal) jobs. Also the central kitchen, operated by WFP, had to close. ZOA provided the most needy families with a card which they can use to buy food in supermarkets. This a COVID-19 proof modality, as the card has to be handed out only once. Households receive a fixed amount on a monthly basis for a specific number of months. In total 736 families received life saving support through this programme.



21 April – Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs awards 481K EUR to ZOA Ethiopia

ZOA was awarded 481.000 euro from the Dutch Government to address the effects of the desert locust invasion in Ethiopia, which is greatly affecting the Horn of Africa at the moment. Within this grant, also COVID-19 integrated activities are included, for instance in the area of public health awareness and hygiene promotion. ZOA will focus on two heavily affected areas. Cash and / or voucher distributions will target the acute needs of he most vulnerable, combined with more medium term livelihood support to impacted farmers and pastoralists. The programme in Ethiopia reflects ZOA’s approach. Click here to read ‘Four ways to respond to the COVID-19 virus.’

4 April 2020 – ZOA is experienced in fighting infectious diseases

ZOA has ample experience in fighting infectious diseases, for instance during the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Although not active in medical treatment and testing, ZOA has worked in different crises around the world doing frontline work in terms of controlling/containment and follow up of cases, prevention, awareness raising and hygiene promotion. In Nigeria, ZOA has recent experience in fighting various cholera outbreaks, which enables the team to act quickly and acquire the right skills and capacity to fight COVID-19 as efficiently and effectively as possible.  Click here to read more about our COVID-19 response in Nigeria.

30 March 2020 – ZOA calls for more international solidarity together with 40 other aid organizations

In a plea for more international solidarity, ZOA has signed a letter to the Dutch government. In a joint statement together with 40 colleague organizations, ZOA emphasizes that although every country is taking its own measures, the virus does not stop at international borders. Especially countries with limited health systems and weak institutions will be hit the hardest. This means that a global coordinated response based on solidarity and mutual responsibility is needed to strengthen global public health. Global public health is an important condition for functioning international markets and economic development, which means that, ultimately, more solidarity and coordination is also in interest of the Dutch economy. Click here to read the Statement for International Solidarity.

23 March 2020 – UNICEF asks ZOA Colombia for hand washing facilities at health clinics

In a short period of time, ZOA has greatly expanded its impact in Colombia for the Venezuelan refugees, especially in terms of sanitation and hygiene. ZOA has provided 500 households in one of the informal refugee settlements with clean drinking water, latrines and handwashing facilities. In light of the increasing importance of hygiene due to COVID-19, UNICEF has now asked ZOA to expand its activities to public locations, including health clinics. A first prototype was installed this week.

21 March 2020 – ZOA adapts programming due to COVID-19 in among others Iraq and Ethiopia

Due to the rapid worldwide outbreak of the corona virus, ZOA is adapting its programming in various country programmes. For instance, in Iraq ZOA is focusing on awareness raising and sensitization campaigns in IDP camps. Also in Ethiopia, ZOA does everything possible to prevent the virus from spreading. Staff is trained in hygiene promotion and vital practices to prevent transmission. ZOA’s Country Director Chris MacLullich: ‘’This is the very reason ZOA exists. We are here to lead the most vulnerable through this crisis’’.

ZOA has set up an Emergency Relief Fund to gather resources that allow us to respond quickly, targeted and flexible in the global fight against COVID-19. We will do so in close cooperation with our country teams around the world using our knowledge and expertise, being there where we are most needed.

Click here to read ‘Four ways to respond to the COVID-19 virus.’