Getinet is a Partnerships Associate leading the Government Relations Department at One Acre Fund in Ethiopia.
What does a typical day look like for you?
On a typical day, I liaise with the program and support teams, offering guidance on matters relating to government relations. I disseminate regular program reports to relevant stakeholders at the local and national levels and ensure that our operations are 100% in compliance with government regulations. I also conduct workshops, field days, and trainings depending on the season.
What about your background made you a good fit for the role?
Before joining One Acre Fund, I spent 11 years in the private and nonprofit sectors. I started my career in a privately-owned commercial farm, joining as an agronomist and later promoted to a Farm Manager. My first job provided me with the opportunity to learn practical applications and understand the business side of agriculture. It also provided me with skills to be an independent worker and a good team player, while improving my leadership skills and government relations.
In 2006, I was ready to make a career change to the development sector and landed the position of Senior Program Officer at International Development Enterprises (iDE). My work ranged from programme content creation to field execution and relationship building with farmers, government officials, and other stakeholders.
How long have you worked at One Acre Fund, and how did you come to hear about the organization and the role?
I joined One Acre Fund six years ago as a Program Officer, moved to Program & Partnerships Officer, later advanced to Senior Partnerships Specialist, and finally to my current position of Partnerships Associate and Government Relations Lead in Ethiopia.
I first heard of One Acre Fund in 2010 while in graduate school. The organization received high praise from one of my professors and several classmates, describing it as a promising, mission-driven nonprofit. In 2015, after completing my studies and while job hunting, I applied for an open role at One Acre Fund and was hired.
I hear you are working on an exciting trees-via-extension pilot and plan to expand it, the core program, and the seed multiplication work next year. What are your expansion plans, and why is Ethiopia Amhara the best place to do this?
Since 2014, One Acre Fund has worked with Ethiopia’s smallholder farmers in the Amhara region and the Amhara Regional Government. Currently, we work with tree nursery entrepreneurs and farmer cooperatives to increase the availability of economically valuable trees and improved seeds for smallholder farmers in the country’s Amhara Region. This has been possible through collaborative research, access to inputs, field support, and market facilitation in partnership with the regional government.
One Acre Fund’s leading programs in Ethiopia are:
- Community-based seed multiplication is currently in its trial stage. Here we work with farmer cooperatives in the Amhara region to help them multiply, certify and sell quality seeds.
- Tree seedling production and distribution in partnership with the Amhara National Regional State. This partnership has established a network of 214 profitable, independently owned, and operated nurseries at the local administrative level and distributed 10 million seedlings to farmers in 14 districts.
- Trees-via- Extension pilot seeks to rigorously trial a light-touch approach to decentralized nurseries by implementing the tree program with the existing government extension structure.
The Amhara Region, which constitutes one-fifth of Ethiopia’s population and land area, is one of the best places to work in. The area has immense potential: water, land, suitable agro-ecology, hardworking and motivated people, and a well-established government extension system. There have been commendable achievements in many fields but much more can be done. This makes the Amhara Region one of the best places for One Acre Fund to work in. In collaboration with the regional government, One Acre Fund’s efforts are geared towards fostering sustainable development, ensuring food security, and environmental conservation.
Farmers carry away tree seedlings from one of our delivery sites in Gonji.
What do you enjoy most about your role? Can you give an example of a regular enjoyable activity?
Helping smallholder farmers achieve additional income, improve their livelihoods, and protect the environment is what I enjoy most about my work. Our day-to-day activities in the field require collaboration and support from different governmental stakeholders and partners. My role at One Acre Fund allows me to meet many different people from diverse backgrounds, status, and nationalities. Preparing new project agreements and pitching for the expansion of projects that positively impact the lives of thousands of smallholder farmers and their environment, keeps me motivated. It is incredible to see how my work touches thousands of people and see the number increasing each year.
Can you think of two things that you've learned while working at One Acre Fund that will be most helpful to your career in the long run?
Throughout my career at One Acre Fund, I have understood and implemented the organization’s core values and interacted with great colleagues. In addition, I have gained two essential skill sets; analytical skills and proactivity in tackling challenges.
What advice would you give to someone just joining One Acre Fund?
Be open to learning new things, and don’t underestimate what you can learn from the people around you -your clients and colleagues. I encourage new staffers to continue being curious and explore things that they may know little to nothing about. Remember, there is always room for improvement.