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Posts Tagged ‘One Acre Fund’

The MasterCard Foundation and One Acre Fund Launch $10 Million Partnership

October 25, 2013 by

Today we’re sharing some One Acre Fund News about a project that will enable 181,000 additional farm households to gain access to farm finance and training.

Part of the press release:

The MasterCard Foundation and One Acre Fund announced a $10 million partnership that will expand access to financial services and training for smallholder farmers in Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi. The project will enable 181,000 additional poor farm households to improve their farming techniques, and ultimately double their farm profits on every planted acre. The partnership will result in increased capacity and strengthened systems to serve a greater number of rural smallholder farmers, and employ over 770 additional people as One Acre Fund field staff. The partnership will also help pioneer a new sector of microfinance, increasing the interest and commitment among microfinance institutions to expand successfully into rural areas.

According to One Acre Fund’s founder and CEO Andrew Youn, the need for farm microfinance is vast. “We believe there are as many as 50 million extremely poor African households in high-density, agricultural areas across Sub-Saharan Africa that could benefit from finance,” Youn explains, “yet less than 10% of these farmers have ready access to this powerful development tool. One Acre Fund is honored to be partnering with the MasterCard Foundation, a world leader in financial inclusion for the extreme poor, to help shape the emerging rural, agricultural finance movement on a global scale.”

Read a great op-ed from The MasterCard Foundation and One Acre Fund:


How One Acre Fund Helped Kenyan Farmers Face Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease

July 11, 2013 by

The Skoll Foundation gave One Acre Fund a grant to help them respond to an outbreak of a devastating maize disease in Kenya. Part of One Acre Fund’s strategy was to provide farmers with sweet potatoes instead of maize.

Details from their blog:

“In 2012, maize in some parts of Kenya began showing signs of Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND), which left many farmers with cultivated fields that produced little or no maize. Maize stalks began to yellow, and many of the plants would only produce cobs with sparse kernels or no cobs at all before they wilted and died.

Maize is Kenya’s most important staple food crop, and One Acre Fund saw the risk the disease posed to farmers in Kenya for the upcoming 2013 season. In response, we began working on alternative crops to offer our farmers to help mitigate the increased food security risk.

Orange-fleshed sweet potato was one of the crops One Acre Fund decided to offer . The sweet potatoes were nutritious and could grow well in Kenya’s climates.

However, there was limited high-quality sweet potato planting material available in Kenya. When we couldn’t source enough planting material from existing producers, we decided to produce our own vines. In May, One Acre Fund provided each of our 60,000 farmers in Kenya with more than 400 sweet potato vines to plant, grow, and harvest.”


Sally Osberg in Forbes: How Social Entrepreneurs Deliver New Solutions to Global Problems

April 16, 2013 by

CEO Sally Osberg mentions eight Skoll awardees as examples of how social entrepreneurs are delivering new solutions to global problems in her latest op-ed. An excerpt:

“Imagine that you are a mother living in a village in rural Gambia. At least one of your eight children will probably die before reaching the age of five. It doesn’t matter that there are vaccines or treatments for the disease that will take your child—measles, hepatitis, diarrhea, or perhaps HIV. What you know is that it’s a ten-kilometer walk to the health clinic. When you arrive, you’re likely to find a sign saying the nurse couldn’t get there that day.

Andrea and Barry Coleman, stars in the world of motorcycle racing, saw the problem when they went to Africa to support the work of children’s charities. It wasn’t lack of medicine or healthcare workers. Rather, what was missing were the parts, mechanics, and maintenance for vehicles taking workers and supplies to villages and clinics. The couple wept over wasted vehicles rusting behind health-ministry offices, then returned home and mortgaged their house to found Riders for Health, a reliable, scalable vehicle-maintenance system for healthcare delivery.

The story of Riders for Health is a story of social entrepreneurship.”

Read the rest:


One Acre Fund on Balancing Philanthropic Capital with Earned Income

February 15, 2013 by

Today, we’re sharing a One Acre Fund Harvard Business Review blog about balancing philanthropic capital with earned income, and pressures from the impact investing community.  The article shows the power of the One Acre Fund model, while making a strong point about the importance of both philanthropic money and earned income when serving the poorest clients.

An excerpt:  “The recent explosion of interest in impact investing has generated much talk about breaking the shackles of the traditional philanthropic model. The concept seems appealing — incremental investment enters the ‘social impact’ market in the form of below-market loans or equity, incentivizing mission-driven organizations to become self-sustaining. But is that realistic when you’re serving the poorest of the poor?

One Acre Fund (a nonprofit where Matthew is on the board and Stephanie on the staff) serves 135,000 of the poorest smallholder farmers in East Africa, on average doubling the profits they generate from farming. We care deeply about the bottom line, and earned income from our farmers is our primary funding source. At the same time, grant support enables us to innovate, grow faster, and stay focused on the bottom of the pyramid. Both are critical.

Why do we care so deeply about the bottom line? Simply put — because it is part of our mission.'”

Read more:


Sally Osberg’s Op-Ed in the Financial Times’ “This is Africa” Magazine

December 26, 2012 by

“Social entrepreneurs see possibility where others see problems. They are unapologetically ambitious, setting their sights not just on incremental improvements but on systems-level transformation. And to achieve their audacious ends, social entrepreneurs enroll those most vested in that transformation — people oppressed, marginalised, or constrained by an existing reality.”

Those are Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg’s words in This is Africa, a new publication from the Financial Times that “seeks to examine African business and politics in a global context and to make sense of the relationships that Africa is building with the rest of the world.” read more


One Acre Fund Featured on New Philanthropy Site

September 21, 2012 by

We’re happy that Skoll awardee One Acre Fund, which helps farmers in east Africa, is featured on the new site Focusing Philanthropy. One Acre Fund is one of 14 non-profits chosen from a beginning list of over 300 and was vetted in a 1.5-year process.

Focusing Philanthropy, a non-profit organization itself, was created to help individual philanthropists looking for great opportunities to give. “We created this resource for personal philanthropy in reaction to our own experience as donors,” said Larry Gilson, Chairman and one of the founders. “We are all exposed to non-profits tackling worthy causes but which of them have substantial impact? Which are institutionally credible? Which have shown the capacity to use additional donations effectively? And how can one learn about opportunities that are off the radar but with extraordinary promise?

“Answering these kinds of questions turned out to be surprisingly difficult. We were inspired to create Focusing Philanthropy because we knew that other busy people wanted their significant donations to have maximum impact but lacked the time or background to search for or vet a large number of organizations.”

Learn more:


One Acre Fund on PBS Newshour

April 3, 2012 by

PBS NewsHour Correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro visited Skoll Awardee One Acre Fund in East Africa recently, and the 8-minute segment airs today! The piece is part of a Center for Investigative Reporting series on the challenge of feeding the world at a time of social and environmental change.

Watch at 7 pm in New York (Channel 13), 6 pm in Chicago (Channel 11), and 6 pm in San Francisco (KQED). For a full list visit

Read more:


One-Third of Skoll Awardees named to Top 100 NGO list

January 26, 2012 by

The Global Journal,  a new publication aimed at opinion leaders and policy makers in the development sector, has just put out its Top 100 Best NGOs in the World, and 31 of them are Skoll Awardees. They started with a list of 1,000, then narrowed it down to 400, then these. Read about their criteria and metrics. Congratulations to all:

Partners in Health, Barefoot College, Water for People, Pratham, APOPO, Ceres, Digital Divide Data, Teach for America, Landesa, Root Capital, Saude Crianca, Population and Community Development Association, Gaias Amizonas, Tostan, Escuela Nueva, Aflatoun, Gram Vikas, Search for Common Ground, Center for Digital Inclusion, One Acre Fund, Kickstart, One World Health (founder Victoria Hale, is a 2005 Skoll social entrepreneur), Room to Read, Free the Children, IDE-India, Friends International, ICTJ, Witness, International Bridges to Justice, Injaz Al-Arab, and Global Footprint Network.


Andrew Youn Featured in Star Tribune

December 28, 2011 by

Skoll Awardee Andrew Youn of One Acre Fund visited his parents in Minnesota for the holidays this week, and the local newspaper wrote a piece about his work in Africa. An excerpt:

“Through One Acre Fund, Youn groups farmers together and provides low-interest loans so they can buy modern commercial seeds in bulk. The organization also provides agriculture education and crop insurance. Participating farmers have had larger and healthier yields of maize, bush beans and sweet potatoes. They keep what they need, sell the rest, pay off their loans and keep any profits.

Last year, the prestigious Skoll Foundation gave One Acre Fund a $765,000 grant. It lauded the nonprofit for helping participating farmers double their profits in a single planting season, and for halving the mortality rate for children age 2 and younger.”

Read the rest:


One-third of Forbes Top Social Entrepreneurs are Skoll Awardees

November 30, 2011 by

Forbes just released its list of Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs, and a third are Skoll Awardees or grantees. Congratulations to Martin Fisher and Nick Moon of KickStart, William Foote of Root Capital, Jordan Kassalow of VisionSpring, Wendy Kopp of Teach for America, Jacqueline Novogratz of Acumen Fund, Rebecca Onie of Health Leads, J.B. Schramm of College Summit, John Wood of Room to Read, and Andrew Youn of One Acre Fund.

This new list, the first of its kind in Forbes’ 94-year history, is called the Impact 30: the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. Read all about the winners in this piece by Helen Coster, and get inspired. We know we are.


Help Kenyan Farmers on Kiva

November 18, 2011 by

Want to help a small farmer in Kenya? Here’s a new, easy way to do it — on If you’ve never used Kiva, the Skoll awardee has traditionally been a microfinance funder focusing on microfinance insitutions. But now, it’s expanded to non-traditional partnerships, and the latest is with One Acre Fund in Kenya (also a Skoll Awardee).  OAF works with — you guessed it — farmers that own about an acre of land. It helps them make that land more suitable for planting so that they can not only feed their families, but sell the surplus.

Read their stories:

When you log on to Kiva, you’ll see the One Acre Fund farmers in groups: Kiva will fund ones who have enrolled in OAF’s program, and OAF delivers a “market bundle” package to these groups that includes seed, fertilizer, and crop insurance. You’ll know you’re working with an organization with a track record: OAF already has confirmed a 102 percent average gain in profitability on each acre, and serves 73,000 families in Kenya and Rwanda. It’s expanding at a rate of around 100 percent per year.


New Skoll Awards Announced

April 1, 2010 by

The Skoll Foundation has just announced five new recipients of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.  Forest Trends, Imazon, and Telapak work on protecting forests and natural ecosystems in the Amazon, Indonesia and beyond.   One Acre Fund tackles subsistence farming in Africa through an integrated value-chain approach – inputs, training, and marketing – while Tostan uses human rights as a hook for driving community-based social change, including the abandonment of female genital cutting.  You can read more about these great organizations in our press release.  These five, along with Civic Ventures and Peace Dividend Trust, two award winners announced earlier, will all receive their awards (which include a $765,000 grant) at a ceremony at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford on April 15, 2010.


Skoll Foundation Announces New Investments in Leading Global Innovators

March 31, 2010 by

PALO ALTO, Calif.—March 31, 2010—The Skoll Foundation announced today its most recent investments in social entrepreneurs driving large scale change on critical issues around the globe. Recipients of the 2010 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship include three organizations – Forest Trends, Imazon and Telapak – working to tackle climate change through innovative efforts to preserve tropical forests in the Amazon, Indonesia and beyond.  Also receiving the Skoll Award are One Acre Fund, which provides an integrated approach to empowering rural farmers in Africa, and Tostan, which has developed an innovative method to leverage human rights as a framework for community development. read more


© 2015 Skoll Foundation.