International development charities complete merger

Two international development charities have announced plans to merge in order to consolidate their financial resources and deliver greater impact in their mission.

United Purpose will join The Gorta Group, which also includes Self Help Africa and non-profit social enterprise subsidiaries Partner Africa and TruTrade.

Increased demand for services is one reason for the merger, the charities said in a statement announcing the move.

The organisations had been in discussions about the decision to merge “for some time”, according to the statement, exploring how the move could strengthen the delivery of their missions.

Both charities focus on helping farming families in developing countries grow and earn more from small farms, while also supporting the provision of safe water, sanitation and other services.

The Gorta Group implemented a programme of cost-cutting measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with seven members of staff taking voluntary redundancy in late 2020, a spokesperson told Third Sector.

However, they added that the merger had resulted in the growth of financial resources, with plans to invest up to £45m a year in agriculture, nutrition and enterprise development.

“Both organisations believe in consolidation in the sector, and our track record demonstrates a history of mergers. Our direct experience has been that the sum of the parts working together will have a greater impact and, crucially, ensure better value for money,” the spokesperson said.

“Combining our financial resources puts us in a strong position to continue delivering on our missions to eradicate global poverty and inequality.”

Linda Edwards, interim chief executive of United Purpose, will step down from the charity, having been recruited with the specific goal of leading the organisation through a period of transition.

In a statement, she said it had been a privilege to lead the organisation for the past eight months.

“Since our founding, we have helped deliver community-led impact to over 35 million people across 13 countries in Africa, Asia and South America. I am delighted that this merger will ensure that this legacy continues for many years to come,” Edwards said.

Ray Jordan, chief executive of The Gorta Group, said that the merger would allow the organisations to support a greater number of people.

“By merging our organisations, we can achieve a great deal more on behalf of our donors, supporters and, most importantly, the communities and partners that we work with in the developing world," he said.

Three of United Purpose’s trustees will remain on the board to ensure continuity.

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