One Acre Fund is a nonprofit organization that supplies smallholder farmers in East Africa with asset-based financing and agriculture training services to reduce hunger and poverty. Headquartered in Bungoma, Kenya, the organization works with farmers in rural villages throughout Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and recently Malawi.
- One Acre Fund is growing quickly, and we plan to at least quadruple our farmer impact in the next five years. Program Associates play a major role in driving that growth and ensuring that this growth is stable and systematic – while also adding major innovations and improvements to our program quality. This offers Program Associates a strong career opportunity: the ability to learn from a successful field operation, contribute to aggressive growth, and also make improvements to our program.
- We are currently seeking Program Associates for a variety of teams within One Acre Fund, including:
- Operations: Our country operation teams face a classic leadership and management challenge: how to keep a large country operation growing at 40-75% per year while also making significant improvements to our operating model. Program Associates first learn from our organization’s deep knowledge on scaling rural field programs; then, they are challenged to find new ways to stretch, grow faster, and increase our quality of service.
- Field operations staff focus on farmer-facing services. They start as generalists, with overall responsibility for executing our program in a region. Over time, they can continue to rise as a general leader, possibly growing to manage an entire country’s field operation. Or they may specialize, for example, in the creation and roll-out of staff development training for hundreds or even 1,000+ team members.
- Support operations staff build the infrastructure required for growth. These teams proactively eliminate barriers to scale in a diverse range of areas – processing millions of farmer payments, communicating to farmers via tens of millions of SMS, hiring hundreds of new staff per year, and physically moving 20,000+ tons of farm inputs to thousands of drop sites. Program Associates also make steady improvements to accelerate growth – for example, setting up mobile money integration for a country.
- Innovations: Our Innovations teams discover new ideas for our programs and conduct dozens of trials to test these ideas. As an organization, we constantly seek to learn and improve, and our Innovations teams lead the way.
- Product Innovations staff improve our core agricultural products or run new experiments in energy and health products. The ideas they discover may eventually scale to hundreds of thousands of households. Product Innovations staff design trials, execute trials together with thousands of farmers, synthesize trial data, and make constant revisions to the product offering. For example, our Product Innovations team is currently testing delivery of live chickens and preparing the product for full-scale rollout. One Acre Fund is also increasingly delving into energy and health, and we are currently one of the largest sellers of solar lights in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Scale Innovations staff seek to improve our core operating model. By running trials with tens of thousands of farmers, they analyze targeted questions such as: does moving from a group liability loan to an individual liability loan improve repayment and customer satisfaction? Or they might investigate more radical ideas, such as setting up physical One Acre Fund shops to see if there are more efficient ways to deliver high-quality service to farmers. They try variations on our program with the goal of improving our scalability, impact, and financial sustainability.
- On a day-to-day basis, nearly all roles involve a mix of activities:
- Understanding and solving problems: observing field operations, meeting with leaders of our field staff , running surveys, conducting desk research, analyzing KPIs, etc. Then creating simple and lasting solutions to complex problems.
- Planning and executing large projects: identifying clear goals, creating project calendars, designing workflows, creating field tools and talking points, designing incentive systems and understanding stakeholders, following up and monitoring project execution in the field, etc.
- Building teams: hiring staff using One Acre Fund’s unique “experiential hiring” system, mentoring key deputies, and steadily handing off responsibility to your team as you build it.
- Communicating with other teams: working in coordination with One Acre Fund’s other teams on the ground to execute a smooth customer experience in the simplest way possible.
- One Acre Fund has deep operational experience running rural field programs at a scale of 1,000+ full-time staff per country. Program Associates benefit from this past experience, quickly building their skill-set through immersion in our operating environment. At the same time, the main role of Program Associates is to accelerate growth and to constantly stretch and improve our operations. This presents an excellent career opportunity to both learn from One Acre Fund’s accumulated experience and constantly improve and enable 40%+ program growth per year.
- We are seeking exceptional professionals with 2 to 5+ years of work experience, and a demonstrated long-term passion for international development. Candidates who fit the following criteria are strongly encouraged to apply:
- Strong work experiences. Examples include a demanding professional work experience, or successful entrepreneurial experience, e.g. starting a field program in a developing country, leading a conference, starting a business, solid Volunteer Service Organization accomplishments (VSO, Peace Corps, JICA, etc).
- Leadership experience at work, or outside of work.
- Top-performing undergraduate background (include final grade/marks/GPA).
- Humility. We are looking for passionate professionals who combine strong leadership skills with good humor, patience, and a humble approach to service to join our growing family of leaders.
- A willingness to commit to living in rural areas of East Africa for at least two years – this is a long-term, career-track role. The ideal candidate will have at least one year demonstrated experience working in the developing world, although this is not a strict requirement.
- Language: English required in all locations. French required for Burundi placement. Other notable and useful languages are Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Chichewa, Amharic.
- Ability to cook/laugh – desirable.
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