In today's fast-paced world, where many professionals are drawn to the adrenaline-inducing pace of urban life, it can be easy to forget the serenity and unique advantages rural living offers. For most of our teams living and working in rural farming communities, they wouldn’t have it any other way.
In this piece, Kevin Alando, an Inventory Data and Operations Associate, and Hellen Anyango, a Customer Experience Professional, who work at our Kenyan headquarters in Kakamega, share perspectives on why rural life is working for them.
Career goals and social impact
While their roles differ, Kevin and Hellen share similar career aspirations centered on community development and creating positive social impact. They believe working in a rural setting offers unique advantages that support their work aspirations. "By being close to my work, I can actively contribute to meaningful projects that address the specific concerns of rural communities,” Hellen says.
One of the standout benefits of rural work for Kevin is the ability to connect closely with farmers. “Working in close proximity to rural communities allows for direct engagement through field visits,” Kevin says. “This hands-on approach helps me better understand the challenges and opportunities within the community, enabling me to work more effectively with my team and other departments. Rural life fosters a deep connection to the work and the people One Acre Fund serves.”
Connecting with nature for mental wellness
Working in a rural area also offers several benefits for mental health and productivity. Hellen immensely enjoys the unique connection to nature that rural life offers.
"Kakamega's abundant natural beauty creates opportunities for engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking, discovering waterfalls, and spotting wildlife,” Hellen says. “These experiences provide a distinct and relaxing sensation often absent in urban environments. Such activities allow me to unwind and are a good break from work, contributing significantly to my mental well-being and overall productivity.”
For Kevin, the pace of life in rural areas alleviates some of the pressures he used to feel in Nairobi.
"There is a very relaxed and peaceful atmosphere compared to the city, where everything is fast-paced,” Kevin offers. “Since I moved here, I have more time to accomplish things. Rural areas typically have fewer distractions than busy urban centers, allowing for better focus and deeper, more concentrated thinking. Here, I have 34 hours in a day!”
Strengthening team cohesion
For Kevin, working in a rural setting also strengthens teamwork and fosters stronger connections within his department and various organizational units. This translates into seamless collaboration with colleagues from different departments, benefiting the farmers One Acre Fund serves.
"Rural life often allows us to see the impact we create, which helps cultivate a shared sense of purpose and a genuine willingness to support one another. I joined the organization in October of 2022. Working from One Acre Fund's rural headquarters has enabled me to grasp the context more swiftly and remain well-informed about ongoing developments.”
New cultural experiences
In most rural areas, communities take the time to engage in a number of traditional activities to celebrate their cultural heritage and safeguard its significance for generations to come. Living in rural communities allows our team to see and experience these local traditions and celebrations.
Hellen's account of a unique experience involving the entire community gave her a window into the cultural richness and social cohesion that define rural life.
“In Kakamega, the rite of passage from a boy to a man holds great cultural significance and is a major event in the community. Family and community members come together to support and bless the young man, making it an enjoyable momentous occasion filled with joy, dance, music, and feasting,” she explains.
This cultural immersion goes beyond mere observation; it's also about the experience and the integration. Employees establish genuine connections and build trust within the communities we serve by engaging in community activities and celebrations like these.
For us at One Acre Fund, living and working from a rural location is not just about trading skyscrapers for open skies; it's about embracing a way of life that can be both enriching and fulfilling. It's an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on rural communities and to witness the positive transformations that result from our work.