About us

Our history

The Maitri Trust facilitates the philanthropic giving of Stewart Investors (part of First State Investments) from whom it receives an annual donation. The Trust was established by Stewart Investors team members in their personal capacity in 2006.


The trustees are all members of Stewart Investors staff. They meet approximately every two months to discuss grant applications, the strategic direction of the Trust, and administrative and governance issues. In between meetings, they are all actively involved in providing ad hoc guidance where required to the Trust’s management team.

Stewart Investors Staff

Each Maitri partner is sponsored by a staff member of Stewart Investors. Staff work closely with the Maitri team and share the responsibility of carrying out the initial due diligence on partner organisations, building a good working relationship with them, and monitoring progress. They bring a broader perspective to our partnerships and share in the learning that comes from them.

Maitri Team

Jo Davies

Jo began working with Maitri in 2009 and was the Trust’s first employee. It was not intended to be a long-term post. However, she was soon bitten by the development bug and by the Board’s values. Like the Trust, Jo’s role has evolved and she now heads up a team of five. She continues to manage Trust partnerships while working with the Board to help set strategy and ensure Maitri adheres to its core principles. Previously, Jo spent twelve years in the investment management industry, previously working with some of the Stewart Investors team. She holds a BA (Hons) in Modern Languages and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

Michael Deane

Mike joined the Trust in 2012. He manages a portfolio of the Trust’s partnerships, building good working relationships and identifying opportunities with our partners to tailor our support to the best effect. Mike previously spent several years supporting operations in the investment management industry, formerly working with Maitri’s donor. Earlier in his career, he worked in the social work and residential care sector.

Luke Aspinall

Luke joined the Maitri team in 2014. He manages a portfolio of the Trust’s partnerships, along with co-ordinating a number of in-house projects. Luke is particularly interested in the crossover between the private and third sector. He has formerly worked for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the National Health Service in the UK and a health policy organisation. Luke holds an MA (Hons) in Modern Languages and an MA in European Union Studies.

Kirsty Norris

Kirsty joined the Maitri team in 2018. Kirsty manages a portfolio of the Trust’s partnerships and has a keen interest in how monitoring and evaluation can inform learning and development for organisations and funders. Previously, she worked with the Corra Foundation, as well as working for a number of years for a Scottish NGO, which included an extended period working in their country office in Malawi. Kirsty has a BA (Hons) in Peace Studies and International Development, and an MSc in Human Rights and Politics.

Natalie Thornber

Natalie joined Maitri in 2016. She works closely with the rest of the team to ensure the smooth running of day-to-day operations. She handles the Trust’s grant administration and book-keeping, and maintains our information management systems. Natalie holds a BA (Hons) in International Relations and Politics.