Andrew Youn, One Acre Fund
With the simple big idea that more than half of the world’s poorest are farmers, Andrew Youn created One Acre Fund to help smallholder farmers become more prosperous. Traveling in rural Kenya in 2006, he had been struck by the conundrum that so many farmers could not produce enough food to feed their families when it was possible to accelerate harvest yields with simple life-changing tools and services. Fast forward a little over ten years, Andrew and One Acre Fund have given more than 500,000 farmers the opportunity to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
One Acre Fund’s motto “Farmers First” not only keeps the organization laser-focused on serving farmers as customers, but also serves as a reminder of the values that ground them. Humble service, hard work, continual growth, dreaming big, integrity, and a family of leaders – these are the pillars upon which Andrew built his organization’s heart culture. His values-led leadership, along with exceptional performance, are the reasons the Chandler Foundation has backed One Acre Fund with increasingly substantial support.
Acceleration in East Africa
One Acre Fund’s outcomes demonstrate acceleration in action. Its market-based approach involves acquiring seeds and fertilizer in bulk, and providing credit to farmers so they can afford to buy a portion of these inputs. Farmers generate a 50% increase in profits, ending chronic hunger for their families in just one season, and accelerating their path out of poverty. This represents a big first step towards self-sustenance and prosperity.
The results achieved from our first grant to One Acre Fund convinced us to reinvest in this winner in a significant way. The Chandler Foundation committed an additional US$ 3m of growth capital to scale-up and accelerate One Acre Fund’s ability to transform African agriculture. Expanding from its Kenya base, One Acre Fund swiftly scaled its program in Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, and launched in Malawi and Uganda. Over the course of our partnership, One Acre Fund has tripled the number of farm families it reaches, impacting the lives of more than two million people across East Africa.
“ Partners like the Chandler Foundation challenge us to think bigger and more boldly. Increasingly, One Acre Fund is making realistic plans to understand our role in fighting the continent-wide problem of hunger and extreme poverty in Africa. We hope that over time, we can take an increasing leadership role in helping to eradicate poverty globally. With generous and ambitious support from partners, we feel that the fight against global poverty is winnable in our lifetime. ”
Founder and Executive Director,
One Acre Fund