Last year, we committed to increasing senior leadership diversity to better represent the staff, farmers, and countries we serve. This commitment is both a critical step to making progress on our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) commitments at One Acre Fund and will improve the effectiveness of our global decision-making.
Today, I am pleased to share that after six months of broad consultation, we have a new 18-person global leadership team of diverse and experienced staff members to help shape One Acre Fund’s strategic direction.
Our new Leadership Council is just one of several decision-making structures at One Acre Fund. While country teams guide our daily operations, this global group works across all nine countries to align on long-term strategy and our shared values. It’s critical that the team is representative of the farmers and communities we serve to make the strongest decisions for our work.
Elements of Diversity
One Acre Fund grew more than 2,000 percent under our old global leadership structure, and now is the right time to make adjustments that reflect our larger organization. In order to achieve the strongest strategy and decision-making, we prioritized three key areas: diversity of cultural identity, a balanced representation of key organizational functions, and individual experience. We also made sure that the final team retained a gender balance.
- Cultural fluency: As an organization operating in diverse contexts across Sub-Saharan Africa, we prioritized cultural and national representation. Half of the new Leadership Council members are nationals of African countries, and we expect this to grow over time.
- Functional representation: We are a large and complex 8,000-person organization, and we prioritized having the right functions at the table, including both representation of our varied countries and overarching functions like field operations and government relations.
- Individual experience: Previously, we had defined experience as long tenure and seniority at One Acre Fund. Now, we have deliberately added more voice from rising leaders whose roles are steeped in the execution realities of our field operation, and rising leaders who are more in touch with the lived experience of our teams.
A Consultative Process
The new group was developed with extensive input from our Ernst & Young (EY) consultants, our DEI Council, Country leaders and Steering Committees, and staff, and was approved by a DEI Council vote. Staff from both the field and headquarters participated in focus groups in every country.
While this is a foundational step in our DEI journey, I know there is a lot more we can do, and we are committed to advancing the work we have started. I will continue to provide regular updates on our progress toward these commitments.
I am excited to serve One Acre Fund together with this group of leaders. Collectively, our broader range of perspectives will form a better long-term strategy, will be more connected with our team’s reality, and will contribute to a more equitable and inclusive future for the organization.
Co-Founder and Executive Director of One Acre Fund.