Opening letter from our CEO
Greetings from One Acre Fund,
In 2021-2022, we laid out our vision for change and made important progress on equity in pay and benefits structures. In 2023, we built from that foundation and focused on consistent and objective performance management. We also invested in areas where we had made less progress since 2021, such as gender representation and farmer-facing team inclusion.
One Acre Fund has always cared deeply about developing staff careers. Our performance management work is grounded in the belief that every member of our team deserves the support and feedback to build their careers and do their best work for farmers. Through the efforts of multiple dedicated team members, we have improved staff clarity around job expectations, ensured regular and on-time performance reviews, and increased equity through calibrating performance reviews. I am grateful for, and humbled by, the commitment shown by everyone who is working hard to build a culture that consistently identifies, encourages, and rewards high performance—thank you!
In 2023, we also expanded our focus to include gender representation and continued to improve African national representation in senior roles, specifically in the job level 9-14 cohort, where roles are open to staff of all nationalities. Since 2018, the proportion of African nationals at job levels 9-10 has grown from 37% to 92%, 12% to 59% for job levels 11-12, and 5% to 35% for staff at job levels 13-14.
Even as we celebrate progress, we are committed to continuous growth and improvement in our People and DEI work—both for equity reasons, and to constantly improve organization performance. Given the complexity of this work, we are taking the time needed to learn how to do better, including identifying which levers to pull. We have identified some key areas to prioritize for continued improvement in 2024:
- Diversity. We will continue to prioritize achieving more balanced gender representation in leadership groups, and in particular, by increasing outreach to female candidates at job levels where we see fewer female applicants (women make stronger progression than men through interviews once hired, but we see fewer applicants overall). We will continue to invest in recruitment pushes focused on women to increase women applicants and hires, in addition to work on retention and targeted growth plans. Further, we will continue to develop African leadership at all levels, particularly at job levels 13-14 and among Country Directors and their deputies where we have the lowest levels of representation – through targeted development and succession plans.
- Equity. Building on foundational performance management improvements in 2023, we will focus on improving manager quality through improved training. We will also invest in performance management improvements for farmer-facing teams by first investigating where inequities or inconsistencies exist.
- Inclusion. Finally, we will invest in improvements in farmer-facing team inclusion by clarifying the organizational decision-making structures and processes at all levels and what input in these decisions practically looks like. For example, each country has an inclusive decision-making framework in place that details how and when farmer-facing staff are engaged in relevant decisions. We will account for nuances across locations to land at the right solutions.
We look forward to sharing more updates in future reports. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
Andrew Youn, CEO