How young professionals — with kids — can build a career in international development

By Hilda Poulson 14 June 2016

Jake and Jennie Calhoun with their two children, Cassie and Noah. Photo by: The Calhouns

Jake and Jennie Calhoun met in the summer of 2009, when they were both interning for a small NGO in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Just one year later, the development neophytes moved to Bungoma, Kenya to work for One Acre Fund, a small but growing agriculture development NGO, where they spent three and half years before relocating to New York City.

Now, seven years after that summer in Cambodia, Jake, 32, and Jennie, 34, have joined the ranks of One Acre Fund’s senior leadership. They’ve also become parents to daughter Cassie, 2, and son Noah, 6 months. Their professional advancement and the growth of their family has coincided with a period of explosive growth for One Acre Fund, which has grown from 23,000 farmers served in 2010 to over 400,000 farmers served in 2016.

With so much change at work and at home, many people would be content to just stay the course. But not this couple, who recently made the decision to move their young family to Rwanda. Here, Jake and Jennie share how they got to where they are today (CFO and director of global recruitment respectively), and why mid-career professionals with kids at home can still build long and happy careers in international development.

Jake, you started with One Acre Fund in 2010, and Jennie in 2011. Can you tell us how you came to work for the same organization?

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About the author

Hilda poulson profile
Hilda Poulson

Hilda Poulson is a senior analyst with One Acre Fund, an agriculture NGO that provides smallholder farmers in East Africa with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty.


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