In early 2016, One Acre Fund co-founder and Executive Director Andrew Youn delivered a talk at the TED2016: Dream conference in Vancouver, Canada. In his talk, titled "3 Reasons Why We Can Win The Fight Against Poverty," Youn presented practical strategies to end extreme poverty– and made the case for putting farmers first in this fight.
The presentation began with Youn describing his own experiences living and working in rural East Africa for the past decade.
“When I first moved to rural East Africa, I stayed overnight with a farm family. They were wonderful people. They invited me into their home. We sang songs together and ate a simple dinner. They gave me a blanket to sleep on the floor. In the morning, however, there was nothing to eat. And then at lunchtime, I watched with an increasingly sick feeling as the eldest girl in the family cooked porridge as a substitute for lunch. For that meal, every child drank one cup to survive. And I cannot tell you how ashamed I felt when they handed one of those cups to me, and I knew I had to accept their hospitality.”
Youn went on to explain that while extreme poverty may seem like an insurmountable problem, it is actually a problem we can solve in our lifetimes. “Humanity is armed to the teeth with simple, effective solutions to poverty. We just need to deliver them,” he said.
One Acre Fund’s model was used to illustrate the idea that when farmers are able to access quality seed and fertilizer, credit, and agriculture trainings, it can mean the difference between hunger and plenty for entire communities. In addition, Youn highlighted the exciting potential to scale solutions like One Acre Fund’s model. Because most of the world’s poor are actually farmers, when they become more productive it means that “more than half the world's poor earn more money and climb out of poverty.” Youn said.
Watch the full video above to hear Andrew Youn describe the three levers we can pull to help smallholder farmers feed their families, and what he believes is the key ingredient in bringing a permanent end to global poverty.