International aid charities Merlin and Save the Children have today announced that they are merging, to secure a “sustainable future” for Merlin’s work and to create a “world-class humanitarian health force”.
Pharmaceutical giant Reckitt Benckiser has donated £1m to support the move.
As of today Merlin’s board has stepped down, and Merlin is now part of Save the Children and has a new board of trustees.
The expectation is that there will be a phased transition of Merlin’s overseas programme operations and head office teams to Save the Children, which will be completed within 18 months. During the transition phase Merlin still remains a separate legal entity.
A spokeswoman could not confirm whether there will be any redundancies.
Both charities are large in terms of income for the sector and members of the Charity 100 Index. But Save the Children is almost four times the size of Merlin, with an income of £332.9m in the year to 31 December 2011 and is currently seventh in the Charity 100 Index. Merlin has an income of £68.9m for the same period and sits at no. 75 in the Charity 100 Index.
Commenting on the merger, Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said: “By joining Merlin’s operations to ours we will massively extend our operational reach working together to create a larger and stronger network of health workers around the world.”
Carolyn Miller CBE, chief executive of Merlin, added: “For the last 20 years Merlin has been providing medical expertise in some of the toughest places across the globe. By joining Save the Children, this is a chance to realise our ambitious plans to reach and provide healthcare to more of the world’s most vulnerable people and secure a sustainable future for Merlin’s life-saving work.”
The two charities will start working together from today. The pharma company Reckitt Benckiser, which already has a longstanding partnership with Save the Children, has contributed £1m to support Merlin joining Save the Children.
A spokeswoman said: “As a consumer health and hygiene-focused company Reckitt Benckiser knows how crucial it is to get immediate health support when difficulties hit a community. It believes that joining Merlin’s capabilities with Save the Children will make a strong combination.”