Water, sanitation and hygiene

WASH improving lives

ZOA’s overall mission is to ensure positive change at community level by supporting women, men, girls and boys to realize dignified and resilient lives. Clean drinking water and basic sanitation are of primary importance for human survival and wellbeing.

It is our goal that that more people who live in fragile contexts, especially woman and girls, have increased sustainable access to safe water and decent sanitation. We also want to train and equip them with the right tools and skills to apply adequate hygiene practices. Working at a local level gives ZOA the advantage of really understanding the situation on the ground. ZOA has extensive experience in both urban and rural WASH-projects in Africa and Asia.

What we do

Emergencies and crises

Clean and safe water is a basic and live-saving necessity for every person on earth. Still millions of people, mainly children, annually die or are seriously sickened by a host of water-related ailments—many of which are easily preventable. ZOA provides safe drinking water in situations of conflict or disaster, where limited or poor access to water and sanitation is further aggravated. Together with local organisations and businesses, ZOA constructs new or rehabilitates existing but damaged water infrastructure. Technical solutions are suited to the local situation and range from extremely deep boreholes, to rainwater or fog harvesting techniques.

Imagine you would have to relieve yourself in the bushes every day and night

Ending open defecation

Imagine you would have to relieve yourself in the bushes every day and night, rain or shine. A lack of proper sanitation services not only breeds disease, it robs people of their human dignity as well. Access to and use of hygienic sanitation facilities and an end to open defecation are crucial for public health.

For ZOA, sanitation is so much more than just toilets, and includes the safe management of human excreta (including collection, transportation and disposal). ZOA promotes Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), whereby a complete community will work together to find localized solutions to stop open defecation.

Evidence based behaviour change programmes

When people are motivated to practice good hygiene – especially hand-washing with soap – the health benefits of water and sanitation interventions are significantly increased.  Serious efforts to change behaviour require serious investment and professional skill. Such change needs to be voluntary and typically only occurs when people want to change. ZOA uses evidence based behaviour change programmes which are founded upon the experiences, desires and options of the people we work with.

To have the highest impact on public health, ZOA combines water supply, sanitation, and hygiene promotion.


ZOA participates in several networks and works together with other NGO’s to increase the impact of our projects.

ZOA is a member of the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP)
In the countries, ZOA collaborates with the UN WASH Cluster, governments and local partners