While studying for an MBA, Andrew Youn spent time with African farmers, listening to their life stories. Most relied on ancient techniques, barely growing enough to feed their families. Additional financial investments, and new seeds and fertilizers, might have increased their yields, but they had neither knowledge of nor access to these resources.
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This inspired Andrew to create One Acre Fund—combining training services with inputs including seeds and fertilizer, and helping farmers sell their products. Starting with just a few families in 2006, 1AF now serves 280,000 families in Africa, and expects to change the lives of more than 1.5 million farm families by 2025.
Powered by a transformative idea—that a comprehensive approach addressing multiple barriers, could change the life of one farm family by making their sole assets of land and time more valuable and productive—One Acre Fund has made this journey, accompanied by a remarkable community of partners and supporters.
At the time of its Skoll Award in 2010, 1AF was serving 23,000 families and growing rapidly. By open-sourcing the analyses and rigorous documentation of outcomes and impact generated during the Award process, and engaging as a key voice and learning case through the Skoll World Forum, the Skoll community helped 1AF secure larger commitments from existing donors, and significant new support from many others.
Skoll colleagues and partners engaged 1AF in strategy discussions during the 2012 crisis presented by a maize virus that causes near-total crop loss, and provided support for a new book. The Last Hunger Season is Roger Thurow’s powerful call to see the world through the eyes of smallholder farmers and put an end to the need to keep people alive through food aid.