Why employees of One Acre Fund are not sitting pretty over racial bias claims, call for Cofek rescue

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Dear Sir: “I Came across a certain article in the papers last week about the Immigration staff grilling a certain Director from EABL on allegations that he has been harassing his junior staff. Sir, i take this opportunity to let you know that we are facing similar scenario where we are working.

I have a pressing issue that’s really disturbing me and my workmates. I am an employee of One Acre Fund. One acre Fund basically is an organization that buys farms inputs and sell them in terms of loans them to small-scale farmers, a loan which they are charging the farmers at a very high interest rate.

One Acre Fund operates in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. In Kenya One Acre Fund is basically operating in western Kenya and parts of nyanza. They do have their headquarters in Bungoma, though they plan to relocate to Kakamega and Build a permanent Headquarters. They also have offices in Kisii and Nairobi. One Acre Fund has about 2000 to 3000 staff, 80% of them are field staff who are semi-literate and who don’t know their working rights.

We have around 500 office staff that are based in Bungoma, very few have gone past form four, we have like approximately like 20 university graduates in this organization. Among this 500 we have around 100 to 150 white men or women working with us.

The reason behind writing this letter is so that you can give us help by airing our grievances through any channel. In this organization we have a lot of inequalities, i mean of the highest order.

Around three quarter of our managers don’t have university degrees leading. Why should we be taking orders from someone who does not know how to speak English or even write statements in English? The whites tell us that they don’t believe in formal education. But in reality we know as long as you can be a sycophant to them you will make a manager.

These white men coming from abroad, they come in the name of being Expatriates but in real sense they know nothing because when they come we have to teach them every little thing that we do from nothing to everything, i mean it.

I thought expatriates are people full of knowledge in their respective fields? These so called expatriates make promotion mostly with people who go drink with them, they have created an unethical and unprofessional environment at the work, and they even go to an extent of sleeping with you casuals and unqualified workers so as to retain them.

To add salt to injury after teaching them all this work we end up reporting to these guys again, they become our seniors with ability to fire and hire at will. I thought the NGO Board of Kenya passed a law whereby any kind of work that can be done by Kenyan then there would be no need for the so called expatriates to take that position, please whatever this guys are doing here even a class 8 student can do it better, am serious.

These guys get approximately between Ksh 700,000 to Ksh 1.5M minus allowance a month. They get a weekly entertainment allowance of Ksh 20,000. While a Field Officer receives a meager Basic salary of Ksh 7,000 house allowance of 1,000.and remember it’s the work of the field officer to collect money owed by farmers and to remit it to the organization through Mpesa.

This Field officers collect money up to a tune of ksh 1m and their have never been cases of them stealing any of that money. These Field Officers don’t even have job security at all, by just making a small mistake they can be fired. This has been going on for long, but what prompted to take this action is that now they are employing more whites and sacking us. They call this cost cutting.

Cost cutting at time when the organization is making huge profit and receiving huge amount donor fund from abroad in the name of helping Africans? Last year we were given a project do, whereby we managed to get all the transactions made via Mpesa from Field officers and we managed to find that year 2014 this organization made a total of Ksh 2.5 Billion.

Right now they want to sack us in mass, sir why should they be sacking us when they are employing more whites with huge salary? This beats logic; they want some permanent staff to go back to contract basis and temporary positions without compensating them at all, why? Are they doing this because they know majority of the staff are people who don’t know their rights and are illiterate? 

Please sir how could you be of help to us? Please below are the contacts of  three among the whites who are making work so hard for us. 

Philip Tuson Finance Operations Manager One Acre Fund | Bungoma Kenya | +254 705 042 883 

Nick Handler Kenya Country Director One Acre Fund | Kenya Kenya | +254.716.525.435 Uganda | +256.794.841.161 | Skype: nickhandler 

Kiette Tucker Deputy Country Director One Acre Fund | Kenya +254 705 269 201 | Skype: kiettem.tucker 

 

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