About ZOA-UK

Our story

Dr. Shimwaayi Muntemba was a gender advisor on the World Bank Africa Region’s HIV/AIDS programmes. Each time she visited her home country of Zambia, 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 16.6 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 many children have to drop out of school after parents die. There is also a desperate lack of state school places in Zambia. 

Children without access to 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.  However, there are still good job opportunities for those with qualifications and Zambia has a desperate shortage of teachers, health professionals and civil servants; professions key to any country’s development.

Education, particularly to tertiary level, can bridge this gap and create a better future for these children, their extended families and Zambia.


We are able to locate, support and monitor well-run grassroots community groups and schools because our sister charity, ZOA Zambia (ZOA-Z), works on the ground in Zambia. ZOA-Zambia is responsible for the initial assessment of projects and recommendations for funding, plus ongoing reporting and evaluation.  The close relationship between ZOA-UK and ZOA-Zambia 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

HughHugh 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


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 Quine


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 Lethbridge


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.


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

Dr Kenneth Kaunda, First President of Zambia
“Already, in Zambia, ZOA is reaching needy persons where some long-established organisations do not go. I have learnt that in many parts of our country, ZOA has been helping children towards completing school. Supporting the young ones with education and skills helps build the capacity of families to meet basic needs and live life in a manageable manner. I must thank ZOA Chairperson, Lord Andrew Turnbull and his team of co-workers who are trustees, volunteers, partners in Zambia, and donors and supporters in the UK and other parts of the world. They are making a major contribution in strengthening vulnerable children, their families, and approaches to fighting HIV and AIDS.”

External Links

Build It International



Winter newsletter 2017

Annual Report and Financial Statements 2016-17

Summer newsletter 2017


10th Anniversary newsletter – winter 2016

Summer newsletter 2016

Annual Report and Financial Statements 2015-16


Activity Overview 2014/15

Report and Financial Statements 2014-15


Chibolya Memorial School – Site Plans
Report and Financial Statements 2013-2014

Winter Newsletter 2013-2014
Report and Financial Statements 2012
Summer Newsletter 2013

2012-2013 Situation Report
2012 Management Accounts

Winter 2011 Newsletter
Chairman’s Report 2011
Autumn 2011 Newsletter
Spring/Summer 2011 Newsletter

Winter 2010 Newsletter
2010 Chairman’s Report
Spring 2010 Newsletter

2009 Chairman’s Report
2009 Trustees Report
2009 Independent Audit Report
Message from ZOA Patron Dr Kenneth Kaunda

2008 Brochure (7.5MB)
2008 Independent Audit Report
2008 Trustees Report
2008 AGM Chairman’s Report
ZOAUK Chairman’s Oxford Reception Speech November 2008

Christmas 2007 Newsletter
The Launch Newsletter July 2007
2007 Trustees Report
2007 Independent Audit Report

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


• 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