Our History

  Over thirty years on and we’re going strong

How it all started

Ian MacDonald

Ian MacDonald 

Ian MacDonald Associates

Ian MacDonald founded our company over thirty years ago in 1983. His wife Paddy tells us 'it all began with discussions round our kitchen table', which you could say is a common way for the birth of many organisations.  At that time it was called Ian MacDonald and Associates.

Ian was a rural development and natural resources consultant and had worked in The Gambia, Kenya and Thailand.

Offering training and consultancy services for the development community, in the early days we worked in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan and the Middle East. Typical projects were:

  • rural development management
  • community development and
  • radio communication

We were among the first to recognise the importance of gender in development and in 1987 we ran a pioneering women in development course.

Ian retired in 1989 and remained a much valued supporter of IMA until he died in 2006.


Early expansion

David Hearle

David Hearle

IMA Globe

In 1989, David Hearle took over as Managing Director and we also worked in Malawi and Indonesia, whilst continuing to support the agriculture and fisheries sector in Bangladesh.

From the early nineties, our courses included managing projects and programmes and we began to offer training courses in Thailand. We also offered technical training in agriculture, aquaculture and seed technology.

In 1995 Ian MacDonald Associates became IMA International, and over the next two years, we were accredited by the International Standards Organisation and Investors in People.


The roll-out of scheduled training

Chris Grose

Chris Grose

David Hearle moved to Australia in 2001, handing over to Chris Grose, our current managing director. 

Building on our success in Thailand, we added regular training venues in South Africa and Australia, where we offered mostly 2-week courses in Project Management and Monitoring & Evaluation.

Ian MacDonald stayed in touch with us through the years, often joining the groups on social events. He was delighted  his organisation grew into a leading training and consultancy provider in the development world. In September 2006, Ian passed away and many of our alumni sent their condolences to us and his family.


People skills and relief work

In 2007, IMA started to work with relief agencies to build capacity in disaster areas. This included supporting UN agencies after the tsunami in Indonesia and the earthquake in Pakistan.

We also launched new open and tailor-made people skills courses in People Management and Organisational Leadership and introduced a professional coaching services for people in the development community.

IMA now

IMA Flower

We still have the same values which Ian MacDonald founded our organisation on over 30 years ago. Empowering development practitioners worldwide for positive social change.

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