Dr. Shimwaayi Muntemba, a Zambian national, was working as a gender advisor on the World Bank Africa Region’s HIV/AIDS programmes when she became increasingly concerned by the rising numbers of requests from schools for support for orphaned pupils.
Tragically, during this period, Shimwaayi lost three younger sisters to the AIDS pandemic; leaving behind 11 young children. This motivated her to work towards establishing ZOA-US in Washington D.C. in 2000, to supply food and educational support to impoverished orphans and other vulnerable Zambian children.
Shimwaayi moved to the UK in 2005 and it seemed natural, given the UK’s historical links to Zambia, to set up ZOA-UK with other people who had lived in Zambia.
Zambia’s children and education
Zambia is a land-locked country in Southern Africa. One of the poorest countries in the world, 54% of its population are living below the poverty line. It is also one of the most AIDS-affected, and most of the 21,000 Zambians who have AIDS-related deaths each year are parents and breadwinners. Subsequently around half its 17 million population are under 18, and an overwhelming 1.2 million are single or double orphans.
Many orphaned Zambian children live with impoverished grandparents or siblings, for whom the cost of uniforms, stationery and school fees are prohibitive so have to drop out of school after parents die. There is also a desperate lack of state school places in Zambia and class sizes can exceed 100 children in schools.
Children without access to a quality education, are trapped in a terrible cycle of poverty and orphaned or other vulnerable children are highly vulnerable to child labour, abuse and forced early marriage.
Uneducated, orphaned girls are three times more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than those in school and under parental supervision.
As well as orphans we also support vulnerable children and youths, whose parents may be alive, but are not in a position to provide adequate emotional and financial support. Many vulnerable children in Zambia are not in school and are living in great hardship.
Zambia’s potential for development
Unlike its neighbours, Zambia has a fairly stable, democratic government. It is also fertile and rich in natural resources but with the current global fall in commodity prices, it is experiencing a challenging economy. According to the GINI index, Zambia is one of the most unequal countries, so children who are born into poverty will find life extremely tough. Education, particularly to tertiary level, can bridge this gap and create a better future for these children, their extended families and Zambia. There are still job opportunities for those with qualifications and the country has a desperate shortage of teachers, health professionals and civil servants; professions key to any country’s development.
ZOA-Zambia and ZOA-US
We are able to locate, support and monitor well-run grassroots community groups and schools because our sister charity, ZOA Zambia (ZOA-Z), was a dedicated team on the ground in Zambia. ZOA-Zambia (ZOA-Z) is responsible for the initial assessment of projects and recommendations for funding, capacity building of our partners, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. The close relationship between ZOA-UK and ZOA-Z not only allows for good governance, but is crucial to enable the disbursement of funds in the most effective way possible.
ZOA is also active in the United States, with our sister charity (ZOA-US) raising funds to support a different portfolio of partner projects and working in a similar way to ZOA-UK.
Our team in the UK
ZOA-UK Trustees are highly committed and share a wide range of experience gained in Zambia including: volunteer community school maths teacher, lecturers at the University of Zambia, government economists, World Bank employees and infrastructure development consultant. Trustees personally cover all the UK fundraising costs and are heavily involved in ZOA-UK’s day to day running. They make regular monitoring visits to projects at their own expense.
Lord Turnbull Chair
After reading economics at Cambridge, Andrew was appointed an Overseas Development Institute Fellow in 1968 and posted to work as an economist in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Foreign Trade in Lusaka. He has visited the country regularly ever since. Andrew joined HM Treasury in 1970, becoming its Permanent Secretary in 1998-2002. He became Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service in 2002. On retirement from the civil service in 2005, he entered the House of Lords as a Crossbench Life Peer.
Dr. Shimwaayi Muntemba Vice Chair
Shimwaayi Muntemba, Vice Chairperson and a Zambian national, co-founded Zambia Orphans Aid and served as its founding chairperson. She remains on the Board of ZOA-US, and works with the Board in Zambia whenever she visits her home country.
Jim Potter MBE Treasurer
After graduating from Cambridge, Jim worked as an economist in the Zambian Ministry of Finance from 1967-1970 – coincidentally where his grandparents had been missionaries and his mother born. He also, with his wife, owned and ran a small chicken farm on a smallholding south of Lusaka. Now retired from his commercial career in the UK, Jim has revitalised his links with Zambia and has been delighted with the successful launch and growth of ZOA-UK.
Geoffrey Croome Secretary
Geoffrey spent three years in Zambia in the early 1970s, working as a government economist, and he has continuing links to the country through family and friends. Until retiring, he worked in many parts of the world, including Africa. He remains a director of one of the world’s leading economic consultancies specialised in agricultural commodity markets.
Professor Hugh Macmillan
Hugh Macmillan is a historian who taught for almost 20 years at the University of Zambia. He has published two books and a number of articles on the history of Zambia, and has also done some work on contemporary issues. He has taught at universities in Swaziland and South Africa, and is currently a research associate at the African Studies Centre, Oxford University.
Tom Murdoch has a background in publishing and law. He is currently a partner with Stone King LLP, where he specialises in charity law. Tom has a particular interest in charities working in Africa.
Dr. Keith Rennie
Keith Rennie taught history at the University of Zambia in Lusaka for 10 years, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, leaving as Associate Professor. He is a resident of Zambia with a home in Livingstone, and over the last three years has undertaken development consultancy work in Lusaka for a major infrastructure development project. He was a founding member of ZOA in the US in August 2000.
Rachel has a long-standing family connection to Zambia. Her great grandfather, grandparents and mother all lived and worked in Zambia, and her grandfather supported Kenneth Kaunda in the fight for independence in the 1960s. She travelled to Zambia for the first time in 2010, and visited several of ZOA-UK’s projects and partner organisations, including Chipembi Girls School, founded by her great grandfather in the 1920s. Rachel has a background in working with disaffected young people and she currently works as a restorative justice practitioner in the youth justice system.
Adam lived in Zambia on and off (mostly on) from 1988 to 2014. He worked in a variety of sectors including project development and management, retail, hotel and tourism and distribution. His charitable work included a long association with the Mother of Mercy Hospice in Chilanga of which he remains a Trustee. Adam relocated to the UK in 2015 and maintains many close personal, family and commercial ties with Zambia.
Our team in Zambia
Elizabeth Nkhoma Executive Director
ZOA-Z’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Nkhoma (front left), has over 20 years’ experience in effective project implementation, monitoring and evaluation. She has previously worked as a consultant for CARE Zambia and Plan International Zambia and worked as Field Programs Officer for World Vision and as National HIV and AIDS Officer for United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Patricia Mbao Project Co-ordinator
Patricia has 15 years experience through Lions Club International and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, as well as project coordination monitoring and evaluating and experience in Public Administration.
Pamela Thole Chair of Trustees
ZOA-Z’s Chair (pictured front centre) has over 25 years’ experience in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating agriculture projects funded by USAID, SIDA, CIDA, Netherlands and Zambian Governments. Pamela is also currently the Director of PAMLLO Seed Company.
ZOA-Z BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The ZOA-Zambia Trustees are a group of well-connected individuals, who are committed to using their experience and knowledge to help disadvantaged children have a better life. They include Gertrude Zulu – who is a founding member of ZOA, Bernadette Mulenga, Namushi Mwananyambe Junior and Dr Robie Siamwiza.
Message from the First President
Definitions for – Orphans and Vulnerable Children
As defined by PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator) – these are universally recognised by governments and NGOS.
OVCs – Orphans and other vulnerable children
Single orphan – child who has lost one parent to HIV/AIDS
Double orphan – child who has lost both parents to HIV/AIDS
Vulnerable child – more vulnerable resulting from one or more of following HIV/AIDS related factors:
• Child is HIV+
• No adequate adult support – parents are chronically ill, child may have to drop out of school to become parents’ caregiver / household breadwinner
• Living outside family care (residential care, on the streets)
• Subjected to stigmatization, discrimination, marginalisation
nb – above factors also affect single and double orphans