Spencer Campbell (above, second from right) is a recruitment manager based in Kigali responsible for coordinating One Acre Fund’s new internship program in Africa. We sat down with Spencer to talk about what he looks for in applicants and the type of work interns do.
Why is One Acre Fund offering internships?
In my work as a recruiter, I’ve traveled across Africa speaking about One Acre Fund. I’ve met hundreds of young African graduates who were bright and capable, but still struggled to find meaningful work opportunities. Many of these new graduates weren’t quite ready yet for an associate position at One Acre Fund, but I knew they could still add a ton of value to the organization. We started the internship program to help build a place for young people to get work experience and training—but there’s also a lot of potential for career advancement within One Acre Fund. We hope to hire as many as half of our interns placed this June on as full-time staff when the program is over. So it’s a great long-term recruiting initiative for us too.
What do you look for in an intern?
Our internships are for African students and recent graduates in the countries where we work. The application process is competitive, and the standards are very high. In our last cohort in Rwanda, we placed one graduate of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Before working with us, he spent 2016 taking leadership courses in the U.S. – and he even met President Obama!
Of course, that’s just one example, and we’re looking for interns with many different types of experience. Any university student or graduate who speaks English fluently is eligible to apply, and we don’t have any previous job requirements. Primarily, I'm looking for someone who is able to learn quickly and take feedback well. The ideal intern also wants to work for One Acre Fund for the long-term and lives the organization’s values. To read more about what we’re looking for, you should check out our recent blog post on application tips.
What type of work do interns do?
Well they don't make tea and run errands, that’s for sure! Currently, our interns are working on a lot of different high-impact projects. We have interns coordinating early stage research on our innovations team, looking at things like soil health, livestock, and drought resilience. On our partnerships team, one intern is evaluating ways that we can better educate our government partners on the difference One Acre Fund is making in communities. At our finance office in Kigali, interns are working on projects that will help us reduce waste and inefficiency.
What are the other benefits of being an intern at One Acre Fund?
From the start, I wanted to make sure that the internship experience was great for both interns and managers. We pay all our interns living, housing, and communication stipends. All interns go through a one-week on-boarding program at our field headquarters, which involves meeting farmers and field staff, and really getting to know what our organization is all about. Every intern has a buddy who helps them integrate quickly into their team, and a manager whom they speak with one-on-one on a weekly basis. We also try to arrange a few "Leadership Lunches" with senior staff. Our first Rwanda cohort this year was able to meet One Acre Fund’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Andrew Youn, and several other members of our leadership staff.
What advice do you have on the application process?
The application process is rigorous and includes tests, written exercises, interviews and essays. One of my favorite essays from last year talked about how One Acre Fund had affected the candidate personally. The candidate talked about how he learned about One Acre Fund when we provided his family with a solar light. He studied for exams under the light of the lamp, and when he got to university, he decided to major in electrical engineering so he could learn how to bring light to every community in Rwanda. So here’s my biggest piece of advice: Don't be afraid to tell your story.
How do you apply?
If you’re ready to apply, you can click here to fill out our internship application form. Applications need to be completed by April 15. On the form you need to include your work history, educational background, and job skills. You can also list up to three departments you'd like to intern with—later in the process, finalists will be offered more information about their specific projects and teams. Good luck!
David Renaud Umugabe (left), Patrick Semana (middle), and Thierry Kamugisha (right) are three of our current Rwanda interns.
One Acre Fund’s internship program is now accepting applications for a number of positions across eastern and southern Africa. To find out what it’s like to be a One Acre Fund intern and how to make the most of the program, we spoke with three of our most recent interns in Rwanda.
How did you find out about the internship program, and why did you decide to apply?
Patrick Semana, Procurement Team: I first found out about this internship on Facebook. When I opened the link to read about One Acre Fund, I quickly fell in love with the organization. I grew up in a village in Rwanda that was struck by famine in the early 2000s. Many people fled in search of a new life in other areas, especially out of the country. I grew up with a bitter hatred against hunger, so when I learned that One Acre Fund’s ultimate vision is to eradicate hunger, I did not think twice about applying. I saw it not only as an opportunity to enhance my skills, but also to use them in the fight against hunger and poverty.
David Renaud Umugabe, Product Innovations Team: One of my former classmates told me there was an ad on the Internet for an internship at One Acre Fund. I started to read about the organization on its website, blog, and social media, and I realized that its values and approach were something that I wanted to be a part of. Even throughout the recruitment and interview process, One Acre Fund’s team reflected the values of hard work, humble service, and continual growth.
What sort of work do you do as a One Acre Fund intern?
Thierry Kamugisha, Product Innovations Team: My first project has been about advancing soil health. One Acre Fund has conducted a large amount of research in this area, and my task has been to review all of those research papers and trials, to try to understand the soil health status across Rwanda. Hopefully we will be able to identify new initiatives that can improve soil health and impact on the lives of our clients.
Patrick Semana: I am working on two projects related to tendering and storage, which ultimately may help the organization benefit from decreased prices and reinforce relationships with suppliers. I am so far on track to complete my projects, thanks to the help of my entire team. Working at One Acre Fund requires concentration and focus, but everyone is kind and willing to help. This makes learning as an intern very easy. I do weekly check-in meetings with my manager, which provide me with guidance and the kind of help I need to execute tasks. It is also a pleasant time to talk to my manager and listen to their feedback about my work.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your internship?
David Renaud Umugabe: Being here has provided me with an amazing opportunity to learn from people from different cultures, experiences, and expertise. I’ve had the chance to meet people of who are passionate about serving and putting farmers first in their daily work. This internship has opened my eyes and my mind to what types of career development opportunities are out there, and what my work can achieve.
Thierry Kamugisha: I have always wanted to work in an organization that focuses on agricultural research and technology, so I have enjoyed every moment I’ve spent at One Acre Fund. I have the hope that we can make this country of a thousand hills an East African paradise. Rwanda has a lot of potential—a good climate and favorable temperatures that are suitable for agriculture. We just have to change a very few details about how we farm, and we can achieve a lot. Interning with One Acre Fund has given me the confidence that there are people out there supporting farmers and providing them with new agriculture techniques and access to inputs. I feel lucky to be here, and I hope to remain as long as possible.
One Acre Fund is hiring in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia for its June-August 2017 intern class. Our internships are paid, and any university student or recent graduate with work permission in those countries is eligible. Click here to apply.
A group of One Acre Fund's interns from Rwanda
An internship with One Acre Fund is a great way to launch your career, and we’re now looking for the best and brightest young Africans to join our team. Applications for our June-August 2017 intern class are now open for students and recent graduates in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia.
Our internship hiring process is competitive—you’ll have to fill out an online application, write essays, and complete written tests, interviews, and work exercises. Here are some tips to make your application shine:
Understand the mission. We’re looking for interns who really get what One Acre Fund does. You can learn more about us by checking out our blog and reading the articles in our Insights library. You can also take a look at some of our past annual reports. Candidates who deeply understand One Acre Fund's work tend to do better in the application process.
Showcase your key job skills. No matter where you intern with One Acre Fund, you'll be working on important projects with the potential to create a big impact. If you’ve got relevant job experience for our teams, anything from field to finance, let us know! Make sure you tell us about any leadership experience you’ve gained through other internships or volunteering. Skills in research and proficiency in office software like Microsoft Excel are also a plus.
Write great essays. We ask interns to submit a short work history as well as two essays as part of their applications. Your essays help us understand why you want to work at One Acre Fund and what you could bring to the team. The spelling and grammar don’t have to be perfect, but take your time writing these. We expect your essays to be original works that only you write—we’re eager to know about your experience and insights.
Live One Acre Fund's values. Read our core values before you apply. Our values guide our work, and we consider the values-fit of every candidate. We’re looking for interns who are ready to serve with humility, learn a lot, dream big, and make a big impact. Does this sound like you?
Want to find out more about One Acre Fund’s internship program? You can read about the experiences of some of our interns in Rwanda here.
If you’re ready to apply, here’s our online application form. Good luck!