About ZOA-UK

Our story

Dr. Shimwaayi Muntemba, a Zambian national, was working as a gender advisor on The World Bank’s 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, 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 given the UK’s historical links to Zambia, she established ZOA-UK with others who had close links to the country.  

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 has been badly affected by HIV/AIDS, and many 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 school fees are prohibitive, forcing them to drop out of school. There is also a desperate lack of state school places and class sizes can exceed 100 children.  

Children without access to a quality education, are trapped in a cycle of poverty, and orphaned or other vulnerable children are highly vulnerable to child labour, abuse and 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 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 work in partnership with established grassroots community groups and schools because our sister charity, ZOA Zambia (ZOA-Z), has a dedicated team on the ground in Zambia. ZOA-Z works closely with partners to build their capacity, whilst monitoring, evaluating and reporting on progress.  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, where our sister charity, ZOA-US, raises funds to support orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia. 

Our team in the UK

ZOA has a small team of home-based workers in the UK, supported by ZOA-UK’s Trustees, who are highly committed and share a wide range of experience gained in Zambia including: government economists, World Bank employees and infrastructure development consultants. 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 Zambia 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.  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. Andrew is a member of the UK Government’s influential Economic Affairs Committee. 

Dr. Shimwaayi Muntemba, Vice Chair


Dr. Shimwaayi Muntemba, Vice Chair and a Zambian national, co-founded Zambia Orphans Aid when working at The World Bank and served as its founding Chair. Shimwaayi splits her time between the UK and Zambia and works closely 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 oversees the financial management of ZOA-UK. 

Geoffrey Croome, Secretary


Geoffrey spent three years in Zambia in the early 1970s, as an Overseas Development Institute Fellow, 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. Geoffrey remains a director of one of the world’s leading economic consultancies specialised in agricultural commodity markets.

Tom Murdoch, Legal Advisor


Tom Murdoch has a background in publishing and law. Tom is a partner with Stone King LLP, where he specialises in charity law. Tom has a particular interest in charities working in Africa.

Rachel Quine, Trustee


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. 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, Trustee


Adam lived in Zambia from 1988 to 2014, working 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.

Garnet Mulomo, Trustee

Garnet is our newest trustee, having joined the board in March 2018. He brings risk and project management experience to our team, from working on major infrastructure projects in the UK and Zambia.  Garnet has close links to Zambia and visits family and friends there regularly.

Our team in Zambia

Grace Kancheya Nkhuwa, Chief Executive Officer

ZOA-Z’s CEO, Grace Kancheya Nkhuwa, joined the team in 2019 bringing with her over 25 years’ experience in inclusive development, financial inclusion, gender, environment and HIV/AIDS mainstreaming. Grace has extensive experience in empowerment and livelihood activities for women and youth, empowerment strategies, micro-financing, and agricultural and rural financing.  Grace is supported by Project Coordinator, Patricia Mbao, and Project Assistant, Given Kabota. 

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.”


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Winter newsletter 2018

Summer newsletter 2018

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

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