Merger of two Africa charities to save €600k
Two of Ireland's longest running overseas development charities have completed a historic cost-saving merger.
Self Help Africa and Gorta approved the union over the weekend, which will be named Gorta-Self Help Africa.
The new charity's chief executive Ray Jordan said it made complete sense for the two organisations with a long history of working together for agricultural development in Africa to team up.
"This merger is about increasing impact, increasing efficiency, and increasing scale," he said.
"We've done the analysis, and are certain that 'Gorta-Self Help Africa' will achieve more for the rural poor of Africa than we would have been able to do by continuing to operate separately."
The newly merged organisation expects to save around €600,000 a year as a result of the union.
Mr Jordan said that farming was the key to ending hunger and poverty in some of the poorest countries in the world.
"More than 70pc of people in sub-Saharan Africa survive from what they can grow on small farms.
"Agriculture is extremely important for these developing economies and investing in agriculture will enable family farmers to become successful businesses in their own right."
The new organisation will invest close to €19m in rural development projects this year making it one of the largest agricultural international NGOs in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The charity will place particular emphasis on supporting women farmers who they said did most of the work on African farms yet received only a small fraction of the resources that were available.
Hans Zomer, director of Dochas, the umbrella body for Irish overseas aid agencies, congratulated both agencies on the merger.
He said it "illustrates how Irish NGOs are always seeking new ways to maximise their impact".
"We believe mergers can add value to the sector, as one of the many ways Irish NGOs co-ordinate to strengthen and maximise their impact," he said.
"Irish NGOs are recognised the world over for their impact, commitment and high levels of transparency."
The new organisation aims to provide around three million people with the means to lift themselves out of poverty over the next few years.