It all started with one slogan “Farmers first”. In February, 2006 a new social enterprise, One Acre Fund decides to launch in Bungoma, Kenya. Starting with 36 farmers, 4 staffs, and a budget of $28,000; the organization today serves more than 305 thousand families, with more than 3000 staffs, and a budget of about $50 million. With this achievement, One Acre Fund is recognized by the World Finance as Africa largest network of small farmers and among the fastest growing social enterprise of the 21st century.
In this research, I will begin with a brief organizational overview of One Acre Fund during their first step while highlighting the different factors that empower their individual strategies thus contributing to the position they occupy today in East Africa. I will follow with One Acre Fund social and financial analysis from 2006 to 2015. With the goal to fully understand the strategic direction of the organization, I will compare and evaluate the different metrics used during its operating activities. This in depth evaluation will give an extended visualization of the organization strategic alignment as well as the holes that might not be directly visible.
The next part of the research will focus on the organizational structure of Farm Africa, One Acre Fund competitor. This approach will serve as a way to underline the different advantages of Farm Africa’s organizational strategy and how One Acre Fund can remodel their strategic alignment using that approach.
Lastly, I will offer a critical perspective of One Acre Fund strategic direction. I believe the organization should consider a new approach if it truly wants to impact small farmer in East Africa in the long term despite its successful beginning. This means that several changes are needed; changes that are inspired by the competition strategic alignment as well as something unique that truly capture the future direction of social enterprise in a region like Eastern Africa. In order to maintain such position in East Africa and expand across Africa and Less Economically Developed Nations in general, I believe One Acre Fund will need to pay a close attention to the different set of cultural factors driving the type of information circulating within communities as well as the whys small farmers value a given decision over another. That is why understanding small farmers and each community at a personal level could well be the gateway to unleash the full potential of One Acre Fund. On this note, looking into the concept of social network analysis will be a huge step forward for the organization. Understanding the social network of a given small farmer and a given community brings many answers to the table when talking about long term strategic alignment .
I believe that looking into both the organizational structure and the concept of social network analysis can help the organization to innovate, stay relevant, and be productive while maximizing the ability of the farmers, families and communities they serve to be as well innovative and productive in the future.