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 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."
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 15 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 a privilege 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.”
Kate joined the Link team in August 2019 and is responsible for growing funding to support the core organisation and priority projects in Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Malawi, in addition to managing the stewardship and retention of existing donors. Originally from North Yorkshire, Kate has spent the last 10 years living and working in London and Australia, building income for arts, medical research and international development charities (including her most recent role at Unicef UK).
New to Scotland, Kate is looking forward to exploring the highlands, finding a regular climbing wall and reigniting her love of music and singing.
“I’m delighted to have joined Link and feel passionate about the charity's sustainable approach to providing quality education in Africa. In this new phase for Link, I’m excited to build support for this incredible work, helping Link to achieve even more for children’s education and their communities.”
International Programme Finance Manager
Susan joined the Link International team in March 2017 and oversees all programme finance in the UK and Africa. Susan was born and brought up in Gauteng, South African and has been resident in the UK for 30 years. She brings to Link a wealth of practical and hands-on financial experience gained across public, private and charity sectors, and prior to working for Link she was a financial accountant with NHS Education for Scotland. Susan loves to travel and has a strong connection to Southern African countries, where most of her friends and family reside. She is passionate about playing a role in improving the lives of Africans through her work and discovering different cultures further north on the continent. Outside of work, Susan enjoys music, dancing and going to the cinema.
Knowledge and Impact Manager
Chris joined Link as Knowledge and Impact Manager in 2018 to work closely with teams across the Link family to strengthen monitoring, evaluation, and learning processes and practices.
Having studied International Relations and International Development, Chris has worked for several education focused INGOs conducting project level monitoring, impact assessments, and facilitating training sessions. He particularly enjoys working closely with staff to build their knowledge and skills in M&E.
Technical Advisor - STAGES project
Sandra joined Link in February 2018 as interim Programme Director for our STAGES programme in Ethiopia after 8 months became the STAGES Technical Advisor.
Sandra has 15 years of experience in the international education and development sector, managing education programmes for Save the Children in South Sudan and Sierra Leone, providing technical assistance as a Consultant in Ethiopia and Malawi, and latterly over 6 years to the DFID-funded Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria focusing on community engagement, voice and accountability. Prior to that she taught in Edinburgh for 12 years before deciding to volunteer with VSO Nepal, where she volunteered for 3 years as a teacher trainer. Visiting schools to support teachers in the remote hill areas of eastern Nepal was a great training ground for all that was to come, and a fabulous way of keeping fit! Sandra is passionate about and interested in improving education to include all children, and in her Master’s Degree focused on development studies, gender, inclusion and education. Walking the Scottish hills, a love of photography and all things nature are life-long themes which help to maintain and restore balance in a travel-often lifestyle.
“It’s a privilege to join an education-focused INGO and great team which focuses not only on supporting all children regardless of background to benefit from quality education, but which does so with sustainability at the heart of programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation”.
International Finance Officer
Cristina started with Link in July 2019 as International Finance Officer and works closely with Susan, the International Programme Finance Manager, while also providing support to the other Link team members and partners.
She holds an MSc in Accounting and Finance from the University of Edinburgh and is currently studying to become a Chartered Accountant. Before moving to Scotland in 2011, she has studied and lived in several countries where she gained extensive international experience in the voluntary, public, private and academic sectors.
Cristina believes in the power of sustainable social and economic development to create a fairer and more prosperous world, and is committed to providing equal opportunities to children and the most vulnerable.
In her spare time, Cristina takes martial arts, drama and dancing classes. She has a strong interest in cultures, linguistics and neuroscience and also enjoys other hobbies such as solving puzzles, travelling, exploring the beautiful Scottish outdoors, reading and writing.
Sophie joined Link in February 2020 to build capacity in the Fundraising team where she assists Kate in growing funding to support our mission to provide quality education to children in Africa.
As we work to strengthen our support, Sophie is responsible for looking after our individual supporters and community groups as well as researching new opportunities to further diversify our funding. After studying Linguistics & English Language, Sophie has worked in a range of fundraising roles for both national and international charities.
“It’s our generous donors who make our work in sub-Saharan Africa possible and it’s a privilege to help make that happen in my role. I’m looking forward to building supporter relationships that translate into lasting impact for the children and communities that Link support.”
Malawi Country Director
Harold joined Link Community Development Malawi in December 2019, as Country Director. He brings with him 12 years’ experience working in education, gender and young women empowerment/community development projects in Malawi. Prior to joining Link, he worked for Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) Malawi, where he had been for 9 years, and where among others he supported the organisation’s rapid growth in Malawi and led implementation of innovative new strategies to support young women’s education and economic empowerment. Before that he worked at Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) in the Monitoring and Evaluation department. During these years he has implemented many projects in education, young women development, gender, and child labour.
Harold holds an MA in Economics and a BA in Social Sciences obtained from the University of Malawi.
On joining Link, Harold looks forward “to providing life transforming opportunities through education to underprivileged rural young Malawians to enable them transform their lives from living in poverty into economic independence – for themselves, their families/communities and the next generation”.
Uganda Programme Director
Josephine has 16 years’ experience managing and implementing programs in the development sector in the areas of education, health, human rights, disability, advocacy and community empowerment. She previously worked for Sense International (U), Plan International (U), Actionaid Uganda, and Population Services International and as a human rights activist with the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of torture victims.
Josephine is a development professional, with a Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, a postgraduate diploma in project planning and management and is currently writing her thesis for a Master’s in Business Administration. She has practical skills in strategic leadership, project planning and management.
She has engaged with projects at a grassroots level that combine both service delivery and development work. She has a passion for programs with a quick eye to identify gaps, challenges and subsequently design potential solutions.
Ethiopia Programme Director
Taddesse joined Link Community Development as Programme Director, Ethiopia in January, 2019. Taddesse is a result oriented professional with 18 years of practical work experience in leading & managing Education, Early Childhood Care & Development (ECCD) & other public development Programs & Projects in NGOs including ChildFund Ethiopia, Christian Children Fund of Canada (CCFC) and Child Development & Transformation (CHADET), implementing partner of ChildHope. He has also served in the education system of Ethiopia as a teacher and school principal.
Taddesse has hands-on technical expertise and applied experience in managing multiple sectors such as Education & Early Childhood Care & Development (ECCD); Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) & Emergency Responses; Child Protection & Gender Based Violence (CP-GBV Prevention; Girls' Education; Girls' Education Challenge Transition (GEC-T); Gender-Social Inclusion-Safeguarding; Water Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Health & Nutrition; Sustainable Livelihood Development (SLD) & Income Generating Activities (IGA); and related development programs and projects with fund sources of ChildFund sponsorship program from all over the world and Grants from USAID of Government of USA, DFATD of Government of Canada, DFID of Government of United Kingdom, ChildFund Ireland, etc. Professionally Taddesse has Masters of Public Administration (MPA) & Bachelor of Arts in Educational Administration.
"I am proud to work with Link Community Development family who focus on improving the quality of education to kindle future generations."
Communications and Administration Officer
Lyndsey joined Link Community Development in July 2017 where she is responsible for communications and administration. She is the first point of contact for all enquiries, and provides support to the team and programmes.
After graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature, her career since has spanned a range of admin, project support, and communications roles across the third sector. In her spare time, Lyndsey enjoys running, circuit training, singing, and music.
“I am inspired by the work that Link does to change the lives of so many children and communities.”