Appetite for change
Kellogg student recognized for plan to feed Kenya's hungry By Aubrey Henretty
5/24/2006 - Kenya's chronic hunger problem has proved insurmountable for generations of its people and for international aid workers alike.
Andrew Youn '06 thinks he can solve it one acre at a time.
Awards committees at the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, the Business Association of Stanford Engineering Students, SC Johnson and Echoing Green agree.
The One Acre Fund began as a business plan project for a Kellogg School New Ventures class. The idea advanced by Youn and his team was that Kenya's poorest residents — many of them farmers with families to support on an acre or less of land — could lift themselves permanently out of poverty if only they had the right tools. A small loan of professional-grade seed and fertilizer and basic land-management training, they argued, could increase a farmer's annual crop yield by 400 percent, meaning lifetimes of meals and better living conditions for children.
The pilot phase of the program, which began in January, has been a huge success.
In recent weeks, the One Acre Fund — now perhaps too mighty to be called a “project” — has racked up accolades and precious dollars faster than you can say “micro-loan.” It was awarded $10,000 in the Yale Entrepreneurial Society's annual business plan competition in April and $18,000 from the Business Association of Stanford Engineering Students earlier this month. The fund has also been honored with the 2006 SC Johnson Award for Socially Responsible Business.
Thanks in part to a two-year fellowship from social investment company Echoing Green, Youn will work full time to expand the One Acre Fund upon graduation from Kellogg in June.
The Kellogg student is thrilled at the opportunity to help end the suffering of so many hungry families. “I couldn't dream of working on anything else,” he says.