Meet Our Team
Our International Management team is committed to continuing Link's legacy throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Please find out more about our team below.
Fiona joined Link Community Development in February 2014 as Finance Director and is now acting as CEO responsible for the strategic management and operations of the group of charities, supported by a Senior Management Team based both in our Edinburgh Office and Internationally.
Fiona is a chartered accountant with international experience of working in the public, private, and third sectors. Fiona is passionate about improving the life chances of vulnerable children and young people everywhere. In her spare time Fiona enjoys reading, singing and hiking with friends.
"It is an honour to have the opportunity to work with such dedicated and talented people across the Link Community Development family. Link has demonstrated the effectiveness of working with communities and government in sub-Saharan Africa to improve the quality of education and I am delighted to be leading Link as it begins a new chapter."
Deputy CEO & Ethiopia Executive Director
Laura has been with Link Community Development since 1998 and has worked in various capacities in both the UK and our programmes offices. She started life with Link as a fundraiser, gaining experience in event, trust and corporate fundraising, as well major grant management. In 2002 she moved to Ghana to play a capacity-building role as a Programme Manager before relocating to Ethiopia in 2007 launch Link Community Development Ethiopia. Laura has been Executive Director of Link Community Development Ethiopia for over seven years and is now moving into a Deputy CEO role responsible for chairing Link’s International Management Team alongside a continuing role in Link Community Development Ethiopia strategy development and oversight.
A graduate of Cambridge University and with an MSc in Development Management, Laura has over 17 years in the sector and 13 years overseas experience. Her main areas of expertise include project design and implementation, operational planning and reporting, strategic review, M&E, organisational learning, proposal-writing, donor relations, inclusive people management, and community participation. She has worked closely with partner NGOs in the North and South, and has in-depth experience of institutional capacity building with decentralised government departments in Africa. Passionate about girls' education and poverty reduction, Laura is interested in accountability of the NGO sector and sharing models of good practice.
In her spare time Laura enjoys jogging by Hawassa Lake and exploring new places with her family.
Dr Samantha Ross
International Programme Director
Samantha originally joined Link Community Development in 2011 as Scotland's Programme Director. She's now expanding her role as our International Programme Director, responsible for strategy, implementation, and reporting on our international programmes.
Samantha has 12 years’ experience in the international development sector working with organisations such as Save the Children in Sierra Leone, and the World Food Programme and Haki Elimu in Tanzania. Samantha has a PhD in International Development from the University of East Anglia and has taught for ten years in Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan. She fell in love with Africa whilst driving trucks full of tourists from Nairobi to Cape Town and has lived in Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa. Samantha is passionate about equality and giving children the opportunity to change. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, cycling and playing with her daughter.
"Link Community Development's work is truly sustainable and it is an honour to be part of a team that can transform the lives of thousands of children by supporting the provision of better quality education through real collaboration with governments and communities."
International Programme Manager
Kate Sykes started working for Link in 2009 and moved to Malawi as International Programme Officer and then Acting Programme Director in 2013. She is now International Programme Manager based in Edinburgh with responsibility for supporting programme development and management in sub-Saharan Africa and facilitating monitoring, evaluation and learning across the group.
Kate has an MA in History and Politics and an MSc in Development Management. Before joining Link she worked for a grassroots human rights organisation in Cameroon.
“I work for Link because I believe our approach to improving education quality is effective and sustainable. We build the capacity of government to make realistic improvements and we support communities to demand their right quality to education. This makes lasting change a reality.”
Donor Development Manager
Caroline joined the Link team in September 2016 and is responsible for growing funding to support the core organisation and priority projects in Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Malawi, in addition to managing the stewardship and retention of existing donors. Hailing from the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland, Caroline has specialised in major donor fundraising in the NGO sector for over 8 years, with a focus on trusts and foundations. She’s helped to build major income for charities such as WWF-UK, RSPB and The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and has successfully funded complex projects such as the capital build of a new education centre in Edinburgh as well as international sustainability, community and education projects.
Caroline is passionate about the positive change that can be achieved for people and planet through international development, and enjoys travelling and exploring new places in the sun and the snow through trail running and racing, hiking and mountaineering.
“Link is a truly fantastic and nimble charity which is addressing real and urgent needs on the ground in Africa, and achieving tangible impacts for young people and communities. I’m excited to be on board and help them grow their funding so they can deliver even more.”
Dr Fritz Kadyoma
Malawi Programme Director
Dr Fritz Kadyoma joined Link as Malawi Programme Director in April 2015. He brings with him a wealth of expertise from over 20 years with the Malawi Institute of Education, where he was responsible for curriculum design and teacher development, and as a literacy specialist in the NGO sector. Fritz has authored several books for the national curricula at primary and secondary school levels, and trained hundreds of education professionals on many subjects including gender and education, human rights, Life Skills Education and school management.
Fritz has a Doctorate of Education from the University of Massachusetts and an MPhil in School Reform and Teacher Professional Development from Cambridge. He gained a BA in Education from the University of Malawi and spent a number of years teaching in secondary schools.
Fritz is looking forward to "working in an institution that can directly support Government of Malawi's strategy and policy on education through innovative strategies and practices that influence change at the grassroots level."
Dr Kennedy Quaigrain
Ghana Executive Director
Dr Kennedy Quaigrain is the Ghana Executive Director for Link Community Development. Kennedy joined our organisation in Ghana in April 2002. He is an education practitioner and has been involved in educational development and research for the past fifteen years in Ghana and the United Kingdom. He holds doctorate degree in Teacher Education and Education Assessment from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Before joining Link, Dr Quaigrain was a lecturer in Teacher Education, Educational Assessment and Research at both University of Cape Coast and University of Education, Ghana for over 10 years and also pioneered the establishment of Distance Education Institute (IEDE) at the University of Education in 1994 of which he was the coordinator. Dr Quaigrain has published several articles in Teacher Education, Educational Assessment and Distance learning
He has extensive experience in organisational capacity-building supporting district capacity-building events, facilitating strategic review and participatory planning, building local and district education department capacity for information-based decision making, program implementation and evaluation in decentralized systems. Dr Quaigrain has facilitated the development and expansion of a truly innovative method of monitoring and evaluation that builds accountability at decentralized levels and promotes community participation in education and encouraging stakeholders’ active commitment to improvement strategies.
Kennedy has recently supported the implementation of DFID funded Complementary Basic Education (CBE) and Comic Relief (UK) funded girls’ education project called ‘Tackling Education Needs Inclusively’ (TENI).
“My thirteen years of working with Link Community Development in Ghana has been an enriching experience. In this period, Link Community Development Ghana has been supporting change processes which occur at the district, school, and community levels. This is mainly due to the close interaction and interweaving of Link’s systemic approach at the District Education departments and the transformation that emerges as the interventions of Link are interwoven with improved management and school effectiveness ensuring that all aspects of the chain of accountability are activated at all levels of the education ladder.”
Uganda Programme Director
Mackay Ongona joined our organisation in 2006 as a Senior Education Specialist and is now the Executive Director of Link Community Development Uganda. He has over 30 years of experience in Uganda’s education sector, first as a Graduate Teacher (1983- 1997), then as an Education Planner (1997-2006) and a Principal Economist in the Education Planning Department at the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES). At MoES Mackay was responsible for establishing functional systems for planning, management, and reporting on the implementation of the decentralised Universal Primary Education (UPE) programmes under the National Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP). Mackay’s knowledge of Uganda’s education sector system and the functioning of District Local Governments (Decentralisation Policy) is exceptionally strong.
Mackay holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics (1982) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (1983) from Makerere University, Kampala. He is experienced in the delivery of Link’s School Performance Review (SPR) model and has been central in delivering Link’s consultancy work to the MoES and other partner NGOs in Uganda.
“Link Community Development has a proud history of positively influencing how the MoES measures improvement in schools and holds schools accountable through its innovative SPR process which has been adopted in a modified form for national implementation. It is not surprising that Link is recognised as one of the effective education sector NGOs in Uganda that supplements government efforts towards delivery of quality education”.
International Programme Finance Manager
Barbara is South African born and has 30 years of experience in accounting and finance in four different countries and across various industries. She’s part of our finance team in Edinburgh and supports our team in Uganda with their accounting systems and reporting to donors.
Barbara has an interest in helping to alleviate poverty in sub-Saharan Africa through education and training. In her spare time, Barbara likes to travel and spend time outdoors
“I enjoy working for Link as they improve the quality of education for children in Africa, which will help them in later life. Link also encourages their local offices based in the respective country to run independently and show initiative to source local funding and support.”
Administration & Communications Officer
Jake joined Link in 2014 after graduating from the University of Kent and being a volunteer Hitch Rep for over 2 years. Jake is the first point of contact for all enquiries to Link and helps spread the word of our work to a variety of audiences. When not in the office Jake is following West Ham United (he’s had season tickets for 11 years), meeting up with friends, and exploring.
"I'm delighted to be part of the team at Link, after spending so long volunteering for the organisation."