The Kindu Trust is Merging!

Marta Bekele, Kindu Trust’s Manager (left) with Caroline Walker (centre)
and Elsa Kebede, Director of Link Ethiopia (right).

After six years of close collaboration, the Kindu Trust has chosen to merge with our sister charity Link Ethiopia.

Historically, the Kindu Trust and Link Ethiopia have both worked to help children stay in education; the Kindu Trust working with families and Link Ethiopia working with schools. We believe that both our approaches are vital to supporting children in Ethiopia and that together we can be more effective and have a greater impact.

Our Projects

Our child sponsorship programme will continue, and will be a core part of our shared work. Our other projects to support the children and their families will also continue, and the staff involved in the programmes will remain the same. As a merged organisation, our work will expand to areas that Link Ethiopia works on: building facilities at schools, improving learning through teacher training, and providing support for girls to stay in education, which we have already been working on together.

We are both proud to be local, community organisations, our approach remains rooted in the community and we believe that working closely with the children, schools and families we want to help is the best way to make change happen.

Our Partnership

Many of you will already be aware of Link Ethiopia as we have been collaborating for over a decade.

  • In 2008 we moved into a shared office in London to enable mutual support and cost efficiency;
  • In 2016 we did the same in Gondar, sharing an office with both teams in the centre of town;
  • In 2016 our UK trustees became the same for both organisations;
  • In 2018, having led the Kindu Trust UK for three years, I also became Chief Executive of Link Ethiopia.

Since those early steps, the benefits of working together, sharing our learning, and pooling our resources has become clearer and clearer. We are very excited to be at this stage where we begin working together in all respects, saving costs through shared resources, and benefitting from each other’s knowledge and experience.

Our Future

It was important to both of us that the joining of our organisations be on equal footing. Therefore, we have decided to join under a new name. Our new name will be announced at the end of September.

Together, we really are better, and by merging we will be able to support Ethiopian children more effectively – helping more children reach their potential.

We have listed some FAQs regarding the merge which you can read below and you can contact us directly at kindu@kindutrust.org with any questions.

Why are you merging?

The missions of The Kindu Trust and Link Ethiopia have always been closely aligned: to enable children to access education so they can have a better future. The Kindu Trust worked with families to create a healthy and happy home environment that enabled children to be able to go to school. Link Ethiopia worked with directors and teachers to make sure schools provided a safe and productive learning environment. Both approaches are fundamental to improving the life chances of children in Ethiopia so working together to achieve both makes sense.

Both organisations have already been working alongside each other for many years in a variety of ways. We work within the same communities and collaborate with the same partners. By formalising our partnership through a merge we can be more efficient, saving time and money, which means we can deliver more for the families we work with.

Is the merge for financial reasons?

Link Ethiopia and the Kindu Trust have both existed for over 20 years independently and are both financially viable, as can be seen by our annual income and expenditure.

There is a financial benefit to the merge and we have already seen a cost benefit by joining London offices in 2010 and Gondar offices in 2016. We look forward to further cost savings as we will share materials and resources and benefit from time efficiency, but this was not the overriding reason for the merge.

Is the merge because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

No, the merge was planned before the coronavirus pandemic and it has not affected our plans.

How will the merge affect my sponsorship?

Both Link Ethiopia and the Kindu Trust run sponsorship programmes and, for sponsors, all sponsorships will continue as normal.

In the last year, Link Ethiopia has expanded the support it offers sponsored families which brought its sponsorship programme closer to The Kindu Trust model. Link Ethiopia beneficiaries now receive direct financial support and household medical insurance which both teams agreed was the most effective way to enable the sponsored child to go to school.

Are the staff going to change? Will anyone be made redundant?

No. Our Gondar staff and our UK staff have been collaborating since the merge was first planned. None of our programmes are scaling down or changing because of the merge and our staff are well experienced and best placed to help us achieve our mission. The Link Ethiopia Oromia office and staff will not be directly affected by the merge as the Kindu Trust only operates in the Amhara region.

Will the ethos of the organisation change? Are you a big organisation now?

The Kindu Trust and Link Ethiopia are both proud to be local, community organisations. We believe that being a small organisation is our strength and that working closely with the children, schools and families we want to help is the best way to make change happen.

Our staff team in the UK is one full-time Chief Executive, and three part-time support staff working two to three days a week on fundraising, project management, and sponsorship.

The majority of our staff are local, Ethiopian staff and we have 12 programme staff and eight supporting staff in our Amhara and Oromia offices.

Which areas of Ethiopia do you work in now?

As a merged organisation we will work in two regions of Ethiopia; Amhara and Oromia. The Kindu Trust and Link Ethiopia both worked in Amhara, with an office in Gondar and Link Ethiopia also worked in Oromia, with an office in Bishoftu, later relocated to Addis Ababa.

Why is the name changing?

It was important to both Link Ethiopia and The Kindu Trust that the joining of our organisations be on equal footing. Therefore, we chose to join under a new name rather than one organisation adopting the name of another.

We also see the merge as an opportunity refresh and re-energise with a name that represents us well and explains what we do. We are both proud of the histories and legacies tied to our charity names. And, as we merge, we do so with our histories in mind but focused on the great things we will achieve in the future.

How will the projects change?

We are not planning to make any major changes to our long-standing projects and programmes following the merge. We hope that by learning from each other we can improve the work we do in schools and their communities. Each organisation has developed its area of expertise in enabling access to education and we will build on that to make a strategic plan for the future.

Will the merge be expensive?

The cost of the merge has been minimal as our teams have been working closely for a number of years and the merge has occurred gradually and naturally, requiring little external input.

In developing the new name, logo and website, we have done as much as possible using the skills of the UK and Ethiopian teams and the time of volunteers with expertise.

In the long term, the merge will be cost saving through sharing overhead costs and reduction of duplication of admin activities such as accounting and communications.