My Journey into One Acre Fund – Kambo Matindi
When Kambo Matindi, a Corporate Operations Specialist, joined Tupande by One Acre Fund, he did not expect to be as involved in the nitty gritties of corporate branding as fast as he did. He hit the ground running, supporting the official launch of the organization’s Kenyan program rebrand, culminating in our expanded services under a new name – Tupande. Here, he talks about his motivation for joining the organization, how he is helping shape Tupande’s corporate culture, and why he is excited about this phase of his career.
What did you do before joining One Acre Fund?
I was a community manager in a start-up that offered business and management consulting services to entrepreneurs and professionals. My role revolved around managing the office space and ensuring we anticipated and met the needs of staff, external consultants, and entrepreneurs.
When did you join the organization, and why did you decide to apply for a job at One Acre Fund?
I joined One Acre Fund in May 2022! My primary motivation for changing jobs was career progression. I was slowly outgrowing my previous role and wanted a job that would challenge me and align with my career aspirations — to hold a job I am passionate about and one that challenges me out of my comfort zone. One Acre Fund also offers attractive compensation benefits and career growth opportunities. I had applied three times before, and this time my application was a pure case of opportunity meeting preparation — my acquired skill sets and passions perfectly fit the role’s requirements.
If you could describe your interview process in one word, what would it be – and why?
Comprehensive. One Acre Fund has an elaborate interview process, and applicants undergo a unique mix of interviews and practical exercises. It can feel like a lot of work, but once I joined and experienced the organization’s culture, I understood the importance of the first phase of the interview process, which focuses on shortlisting those who are a culture fit. Additionally, the practical work exercises done between interviews gave me an idea of the role’s day-to-day requirements and helped me understand what would be required of me.
Did anything stand out during the interview process? Is there anything you would change about it?
My assigned recruiter, Gathua Muigai, was very friendly and made my experience comfortable and informative — he made it feel like I had someone holding my hand. Gathua is an excellent communicator and always invited me to ask questions and express my concerns. It is great when an organization allows candidates to get clarification at any time during the interview process. Additionally, the friendly panel made it feel less like a question-and-answer interview and more like a conversation, giving me a first-hand experience of the organization's culture. I appreciated that the panelists allowed me to seek clarity around specific questions and gave me enough time to expound on my non-typical responses.
Tell us about the onboarding process — what is your most memorable experience?
Onboarding was about how fast I could consume and internalize information and translate that knowledge into everyday work. My most memorable experience was my manager going the extra mile to ensure I settled in well. In my initial days, she noticed that I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information and helped me to set a priority structure. We had several sessions where she broke down the different aspects of my work, the organizational structure, and the impact of our work on farming communities.
You joined One Acre Fund during a transition period. We had recently reopened the Nairobi and Kakamega offices, were launching the Tupande brand and had just opened new regional offices in Kisumu and Kapsabet. How has this experience been for you in your first few months on the job?
Two weeks into starting the job, I received a brief on supporting the Kenya program's rebrand to Tupande. Soon after, I traveled to Kakamega, where the main launch took place. The Tupande steering committee had drawn the road map of the launch, which the Corporate Operations team executed. I found it extremely exciting to have such a large project during my initial days — it was an excellent way to connect what I had gathered during my interview and onboarding to the scale of work that goes into supporting farmers.
What excites you most about the organization and your role?
I am passionate about people and am happy that my job allows me to interact with people and anticipate and resolve corporate challenges. Farming played a significant role in my upbringing. My grandparents are farmers, and I spend a lot of time on their farm; I immensely respect the amount of work that farmers put into producing food for their families and communities. I am privileged to work for an organization serving these farmers. Importantly, One Acre Fund is a good employer with a great culture and attractive benefits.
How do you see your career evolving in the next several years?
My role is relatively new within the organization, so there is room for it to morph. I would want my role to evolve with that of my team — I want us to support and challenge each other to take up more organizational/team functions. A specific area I would like to explore more is event management. I am also eager to build my capacity on business strategy and growth concepts. I hope this will increase our team’s contribution to the organization and unlock higher-level job opportunities.
One Acre Fund serves more than 1.4 million farmers in nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. What does it mean to you to know that we work at that kind of scale?
I love that we support farming communities to produce more and farm better. The number of farmers we serve is a constant reminder of our mission. To positively impact – in terms of food, money, and the environment – upwards of 1.4 million farmers, along with their families and communities, is truly inspiring. When farm families are food secure, it allows them to dream and plan, to focus on other aspects of their lives, such as economic empowerment and securing their future.
What's the best thing that has happened to you this year?
Before this year, I felt like my career had stagnated. I am happy with the strides I am making. I am back on track to attaining my personal and professional goals. Working in a place where your work is valued and appreciated is important because you get to enjoy your job and your colleagues. I am happy that I can positively impact people in all their spaces and in an organization that champions good culture, where I feel heard and appreciated.