News and analysis
January 05, 2016

Andrew Youn: Farm Aid With an M.B.A.

Hailey Tucker/One Acre Fund

Andrew Youn, 37
Co-Founder and Executive Director
One Acre Fund

When Andrew Youn started One Acre Fund to help farmers in East Africa improve their productivity, he set rapid expansion as a top priority. The result: After just a decade, the nonprofit serves 300,000 farmers directly and another 500,000 through its government partnerships.

Mr. Youn, who earned an M.B.A. at Northwestern, drew on his schooling and his experience as a management consultant to fuel the group’s growth.

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He and his staff developed standard procedures to hire front-line employees in batches of 20 or more and recruit farmers in groups of 1,000 or more. To date, One Acre Fund has programs in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania. The organization also has a robust innovation program to test new ideas.

Scale is critical because so many farmers could improve their families’ lives with just a little help, says Mr. Youn.

"Most of the world’s poor share only one profession — farming," he says. "Making farmers more productive is the most powerful lever in the fight against global poverty."


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