Why it is important for us to be close to the farmers we serve

What would you give for a career that allows you to earn a living and make a genuine difference in people's lives? As it turns out, not much. At One Acre Fund, this is precisely what we strive for and do daily.
Life at One Acre Fund

Our close connection to the farmers we serve has been crucial in shaping our approach to creating change within rural farming communities. By living and working alongside communities in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zambia, our team has gained deep insights into their unique needs and challenges. This personal connection enables us to provide practical, tailored solutions. But it's not just about the benefits we bring; it's also about the fulfilment and purpose it brings to those who choose a career in social impact.

Purpose and drive

“Though working from a rural location felt daunting at first, I took a chance and applied for a role at One Acre Fund. I love working from a rural location. I get to see the organisation's impact and how farmers and communities are empowered to chart paths to better livelihoods,” Christine Musau, the Recruitment Lead for our Kenya program.

There's a unique satisfaction in knowing that our work aligns with our values and contributes to the greater good. Our work in rural communities is a unique opportunity to combine our skills, passion, and expertise in a way that brings about tangible social change. It allows us to make a lasting impact on the lives of farmers, helping them improve their livelihood and empowering them to build a brighter future for themselves and their communities. We witness families growing healthier, children gaining access to education, communities becoming more resilient and self-sufficient, and our team leaving a stamp of change in the communities they serve.

Understanding farmers' unique needs and challenges 

At One Acre Fund, we recognise that rural communities are incredibly diverse, with their own distinct characteristics and circumstances. By immersing ourselves in their everyday lives, we gain valuable firsthand insights that allow us to develop targeted and effective solutions.

One key aspect of our immersion into farming communities is understanding the natural and economic conditions that vary greatly across rural areas. By being present and experiencing these conditions firsthand, we gain insights into the challenges of climate, geography, market access, and infrastructure and finance limitations. 

“In many places in Africa, the story of farming is one of struggling to make ends meet. At One Acre Fund, we have more than 1.5 million farmers for whom the narrative has changed. That makes me feel good about my job. It also challenges me to work to bring more farmers into the program because I know we can reach more,” said Jean de Dieu Muhire, our Rwanda Expansion Lead.

Additionally, we have established research stations within the different localities we serve. These research stations serve as hubs of knowledge and innovation, allowing us to conduct extensive research and monitor results to further enhance our understanding of local farming practices and challenges. This knowledge enables us to develop targeted strategies to mitigate challenges and leverage the available opportunities. For example, we may focus on drought-resistant crop varieties and water management techniques in drought-prone areas. 

Provide ongoing support to the farmers we serve

For Kevin Alando, the Inventory Data and Operations Associate in our Kenya program, working from a rural location enables him to connect with the farmers through field visits and to develop good team cohesion with other teams within the organisation.

“Working from our Kenya headquarters in Kakamega helps me ensure that I am always aware of what is happening in the field and makes it easy to observe challenges and innovate solutions within the team,” Kevin says. 

With an understanding of all challenges and opportunities, we can seek ways to make a lasting impact. After providing farmers with farming inputs, and training, One Acre Fund's team closely monitors crop progress, offers timely assistance, and provides comprehensive support, earning farmer trust and enabling them to improve their yields and become more resilient and self-reliant. They gain the confidence and ability to make informed decisions about their farming practices, adapt to changing circumstances, and seize new opportunities.

Staff in Rwanda during farmer visit
Some Rwanda staff share a moment with a farmer group during a farm visit

Building community trust

Trust is a fundamental aspect of the rural development journey at One Acre Fund. Trust forms the cornerstone of any meaningful and sustainable change. That's why we go beyond simply providing services to the farmers we serve. We strive to establish genuine connections and build relationships based on understanding, empathy, and collaboration.

By immersing ourselves in the communities we work with, we dedicate our work to understanding farmers' needs and challenges. We don't approach our work as outsiders with predetermined solutions. Instead, we become part of the community, living and working alongside the farmers. This approach allows us to truly grasp the realities they face, the aspirations they hold, and the nuances of their unique circumstances.

Being close to the farmers we serve is not just a strategic choice; it shapes our entire approach to creating impact. It goes beyond statistics and spreadsheets – it reminds us of the critical importance of rural development. We don't simply offer temporary fixes; we are committed to long-term solutions that empower individuals and communities. 

Every day we get  to see firsthand the transformative power of our work and the positive impact it has on the lives of others. It is an opportunity to use expertise for a purpose greater than ourselves. By working together, we create a synergy that leads to shared victories – farmers' livelihoods are uplifted, communities thrive, and our team members earn an income while contributing to a meaningful cause.



Staff profile