Exeter Ethiopia Link.......

has been working with the people of Nekemte, the provincial capital of Wellega, Ethiopia, for over 35 years, initially providing support for schools and the former Swedish Mission Hospital. In subsequent years large-scale funding was acquired to set up an Eye Clinic in Nekemte, to carry out a 3-year Inclusive Education Project, and to extend our School Libraries and Reading Centres Project into rural areas. In recent years we have focused on smaller-scale projects financed by donations and our own fund-raising activities.

Who We Work With in Nekemte

Exeter-Ethiopia Link’s key Ethiopian partner since its inception in 1987 has been the ‘Development & Social Service Commission’ (DASSC) of the Mekane Yesus Church (EECMY) – Central Synod. DASSC is a registered Ethiopia NGO engaged in development work which operates separately from the Mekane Yesus church organisation. 

Our Project Team in Nekemte

We'd like to introduce you to some of the people in Nekemte who make it possible for us to carry out our projects. 

▼ Scroll down for more information. ▼

Tesema Jalleta

Head of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission (EECMY DASCC) in Nekemte. DASCC are our project co ordinators in Nekemte.

Our Project Team

Temesgen Gemechu
Project Manager

Temesgen is a Former teacher and worked for thegovernment education office for 36 years before joining EEL back in 2013. He is as dedicated as ever and is serving our community tirelessly with his wealth of experience and skills.
He is unmatched when it comes to organizing documents and we have
loads and loads.

Shibiru Jaldu
Social Worker

Shibiru joined EEL seven years ago and has many years of experience working for different organisations (government & NGOs ).
If any work needs community mobilisation, he is the first person to
speak to.

Murti Uma
EEL Project Manager

Murti is a former biochemist and joined EEL two years ago as a volunteer. She loves cycling but says it's not something she is so good at.

Our Team in the UK
Trustees and Projects Committee

Exeter Ethiopia Link is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO),
UK Charity Number: 1154085.
The charity is administered by a team of Trustees assisted by officers elected from the membership.


Dawn Swettenham
General Secretary
(Ex Officio)

I am honoured to fulfil the role of secretary at EEL. I have been a supporter of EEL for many years and joined the board of trustees in 2020. I am inspired by the enormous impact we have on the communities in and around Nekemte. I am a pharmacist by profession and managing director of Swettenham Chemists since 1989. I aim to use my experience to make our charity as efficient as possible and sustainable into the future. 

George Dexter

It gives me great pleasure to be a trustee of the EEL because it makes a positive difference to people in Ethiopia. I developed my interest as a result of visiting Ethiopia including Nekemte. I was also chairman of the Anglo Ethiopian Society. I have expertise in governance, health, education and housing having been a director in a number of NHS Trusts, Colleges and a Housing Association. I am also chairman of the Alliance francaise Devon.

Liz Horsefield

I have a longstanding interest in education having worked in primary schools both in the UK and abroad. I currently work for a national charity in the refugee sector. I was a VSO education volunteer in Nekemte and now as a Trustee with EEL I am able to maintain links with the town and continue to be involved with the valuable projects EEL is supporting there.

Annie Bainbridge
Membership Secretary

I have been active within Exeter Ethiopia Link for over five years, both as Membership Secretary and with an active role in the Year of…. campaigns. I made a visit to Nekemte in 2019 to get to know the local team. I am an experienced educator specialising in English and Drama. (I have degrees in English, Creative Arts and Education.) 1994 – 1996 I was a VSO volunteer in Cambodia training teachers and teaching in a rural high school. I am involved with a local amnesty group and am Treasurer of a small charity supporting a family in Nepal.

Mark Smith
Treasurer  (Non-Trustee)

I am an educational consultant working in education and teacher training for the past 20 years in the UK and overseas with a particular focus on developing countries. My specialist areas include literacy improvement in primary schools, English as an additional language, inclusive education and international development with focus on education. I also have experience in successfully writing bids for grant funding, project management and budgeting. Within Exeter Ethiopia Link I have been particularly active in project management.

Kirsten Pullen

I have been a supporter of Exeter Ethiopia Link for a number of years and visited Nekemte to see first-hand the Link’s work with schools and young people from a range of backgrounds. I have a BSc (hons) in Applied Biology from Greenwich University, an MSc in Ecology from Bangor and a PhD in Animal Behaviour from Exeter. I am interested in dimensions of social development and the crossover between social development and environmental conservation.

Penny Pullen
Honorary Trustee

I have been a member of Exeter Ethiopia Link for 20 years. I have made many visits to Nekemte to monitor our education projects so know the area very well. I have had various roles within the Link. I was the Education Lead for many years and established links between schools in Nekemte and schools in Devon. I have a Teacher’s Certificate and a B.Ed and have taught all age groups specialising in SEN with responsibility for assessment and identification of learning difficulties.

Selam Uma

I was born and bred in Nekemte where I worked as project manager of the school for the deaf and Nekemte Disability Project with EECMY DASSC.I was also responsible for running projects funded by EEL including support for students who were deaf, the setting up of disability associations with saving associations and facilitating surgery and assistive devices for disabled students and adults. In addition, I have knowledge and experience in developing small businesses, job creation and the agriculture sector in Ethiopia.

Cynthia Palmer

I am a retired Health and Safety
Advisor, working in the education
and charity sectors. Since visiting
Ethiopia in 1999, 2011 and 2012,
I have taken a keen interest in the
country, and specifically charity
partnerships supporting Ethiopia.
Following my last visit in 2012,
I worked with George Dexter to
gather school books and computer
equipment for Future Generation
Hope Schools In Addis Abeba.
I was Vice-chair of the Lutheran
Women's Guild of Great Britain,
supporting overseas missions and
Chair of the church Buildings and
Maintenance committee. I currently
volunteer in Exeter with the Salvation Army. 

Kenechukwu Osanakpo (Ken)

I am a qualified legal practitioner,
recognised by the Nigerian Bar.
I have a degree in International
Relations and Law from the
University of Exeter and was called
to the Bar in Nigeria in 2015.
I am currently enrolled on a PhD
programme in Security and
Intelligence Studies which I am
due to complete in December 2023.
Coming from a Nigerian background,
I believe my knowledge of neighbouring
countries and their cultures, as well
as my awareness of the challenges
faced by different communities across
the continent, makes me well positioned
to help provide insights and recommend
solutions to challenges and issues.

Project Committee

George Dexter (Chair)
Liz Horsefield
Aynsley Jones
Joann Keenahan
Sue Parks
Penny Pullen
Mark Smith
Murti Uma
Marc Zuiderveen


Social Media: Lee Davies
Website: David Scarbrough


Our activities are funded by members' subscriptions, fundraising events, donations and grants from a range of awarding bodies.

Our accounts are inspected by an external examiner and submitted annually to the Charity Commission. The accounts can be viewed on the Charity Commission website or by viewing them in the annual reports.

Annual Reports for the last four years can be downloaded by clicking the links below.

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