Growing Careers and Families: How One Acre Fund Supports Parents

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Jun 23, 2017 Category: Staff Profile Tags: careers kenya

One of One Acre Fund’s core values is to create a family of leaders—we want our staff to build long-term careers with us, and our team members care for each other like family. We think it’s important that staff members are able to grow personally, as well as professionally, so we’ve worked hard at creating a culture that is inclusive of working parents and their children.

To find out more about how One Acre Fund supports families, associate recruiter Kali Bell had a chat with three members of staff who are currently balancing their career development while parenting in rural western Kenya. Dyana Mageto, who works as a people analyst, recently moved to our headquarters in Kakamega from Nairobi with her 1-year-old son Darren. Lauren Nixon, who’s on our training team, moved with her partner and 8-year-old daughter Amanita from Oregon. Grace Odongo, who works in human resources, lives with her family, including 6-year-old daughter Rachel, in the nearby city of Kisumu. Grace commutes to work in Kakamega on One Acre Fund’s employee shuttle bus.

Kali: How has it been so far, working in rural Kenya? What has been your biggest support system?

Dyana Mageto with her 1-year-old son Darren

Dyana: I think for any parent, work-life balance can be difficult sometimes. However, One Acre Fund encourages all staffers to set aside “big picture time” every week, so that we have some space to reflect, think, plan, and problem-solve our work. Creating this regular habit of “big picture time” has helped me to increase my efficiency at work, so I get to spend more time with my son at home.

Lauren: You know the proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”?  It really does, and I feel like I have an incredibly supportive village here at One Acre Fund. We get together for play dates, baby showers, birthdays, weekend potlucks—there’s always something going on, and the whole family is invited. It’s a wonderful experience to feel so welcomed and supported by our neighbors and colleagues.

Grace: Since I work an hour away from where my family lives, the One Acre Fund shuttle from Kakamega to Kisumu lets me to dash home to my daughter easily. I don’t have to worry about scheduling a taxi or public transportation, which is convenient. Also, we have flexible workdays on Mondays or Fridays, which allows me to get the most out of my time on the weekends.

Grace boards the One Acre Fund shuttle that takes her from her home in Kisumu to our headquarters in Kakamega. By using the shuttle service, Grace is able to avoid waiting for taxis and public transport, ensuring she can quickly get home to her daughter. 

Kali: What has been your favorite memory created with your family since moving to Western Kenya?

Grace: My favorite memories would be the simplicity of the weekends—trying out all the pools in Kisumu and watching my daughter splash around with her friends. We have a weekend ritual consisting of going to church, eating out, and swimming. It’s nice to be in a town with all the amenities and a lower cost of living, but still have a close-knit community to connect with.

Lauren Nixon Trick Or Treating

Lauren's daughter Amanita (far right) celebrates Halloween with her friends. 

Lauren: One of my favorite moments was going trick-or-treating with my daughter and her school friends. Kenyans don’t celebrate Halloween, so it was a new experience we were able to share with her friends. We made their costumes, then walked around to the One Acre Fund compounds where staffers live, and people gave out candy. It’s now a new tradition we look forward to celebrating each year.

Kali: What advice would you would pass on to families who are joining the One Acre Fund team?

Grace: Take the time to get to know other families throughout One Acre Fund, interact with them, and share the challenges you could be facing. Networking and talking through both the good and the bad are incredible support systems that I’m glad I have.

Dyana: Expect an inclusive community. From day one, my family was invited to dinners, birthdays, and other social events. I was wowed when people invited not just me, but my son as well.

Interested in starting a new career at One Acre Fund? We’re hiring for more than 50 open positions worldwide. One Acre Fund is spending the month of June explaining why it’s great to work in rural areas. Follow #WhyRural on social media to find out more.