Andrew Youn of One Acre Fund on Transforming Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa
In May 2015, a group of ambitious philanthropic collaborators, including the Skoll Foundation, pledged to make a measurable dent in Africa’s hunger crisis through a catalytic $100 million investment to dramatically scale the work of One Acre Fund. A Skoll Awardee in 2010, One Acre Fund boosts the productivity of smallholder farmers with financing and training they need to grow themselves out of poverty. One Acre Fund now serves more than 750,000 farmer families in Africa directly and more than a million additional families through government partnerships. With the $100 million Audacious Project investment, One Acre Fund set a bold target for 2020: 1.25 million farming families reached through the core program, and another 3 million reached through government partnerships and private sector agrodealers. To unlock the Audacious funding, they’ll need to reach these goals, One Acre Fund must raise $200 million—a 1:2 matching mechanism. Their big picture systems-level vision of change is to fully transform agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the last ten years One Acre Fund has grown in leaps, with more than 6,000 staff now in sub-Saharan Africa. James Nardella recently sat down with Andrew Youn, Founder and CEO of One Acre Fund, for a conversation about what drives him in his work, some of his early setbacks, and what he loves about the complexity of massive warehouses.