One Acre Fund looks long-term to solve food shortages


One Acre FundBy Cathleen O’Grady

One Acre Fund, Foundation Beyond Belief’s current Poverty and Health beneficiary, works toward solving the food crisis in a number of African countries—but not through one-off handouts. OAF’s methodologies center on empowering small, rural farmers to build their knowledge and agricultural output through education and mentorship.

The program provides loans, storage, and insurance for crop failure to help farmers to find their feet and develop their businesses. With a particular focus on the power of enabling women to support their families, OAF serves more than 137,000 families in Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi, maintaining a permanent presence in communities with OAF programs.

Their long-term approach has had incredible successes at lifting families out of poverty. By enabling mothers to pay for their children to be educated, the cycle of poverty is weakened.

One Acre Fund farmersMedeatrice, a Rwandan farmer and entrepreneur, has lived with her family on an average income of 50 cents per day for years. Her farming yields were low, she had difficulty accessing markets, and she struggled to make her farming profitable.

After joining One Acre Fund with her husband Bonaventure in 2009, she made more than $225 (US dollars) in her first harvest, which she used to open a shop. This shop now brings in a profit of $40 every month, and the couple plans to use their spare income to educate their son, Prince. Bonaventure did not complete any secondary schooling, while Medeatrice completed only three years—but they are determined to see Prince attend university.

Ruth, a mother of eight, used to make $5 a week selling french fries in a nearby village, until joining One Acre Fund in 2009. In her first harvest, she produced enough maize to feed her family for a year, plus enough surplus to pay the school fees for her eldest son, Patrick, to attend high school. Patrick, who is top of his class and the first person in his family to move beyond grade school, plans on attending university and medical school.

Educating her children to enable them to fulfill their dreams is Ruth’s primary focus. “They have given me a challenge,” she says. “They want to learn.”

To learn more about One Acre Fund, take a look at their website or FBB’s beneficiary page. Keep up with them on Twitter and Facebook.