OneVillage Partners is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to holistic rural development in Sierra Leone.
OneVillage Partners works for improved quality of life through increased income in 3 rural villages in Sierra Leone, West Africa. OneVillage utilizes a business approach to solve extreme poverty and is interested in developing a model for comprehensive development that can create middle income self-sufficiency in rural Sierra Leone.
OneVillage Partners’ activities occur in 5 distinct yet mutually-reinforcing areas:
Water & Sanitation
Improving basic sanitation practices by providing needed tools and education
Decreasing mortality and morbidity experienced from basic infections, dental issues, and common problems such as maternal health, malaria, and intestinal parasites
Improving educational attainment for all people with an emphasis on the quality of primary school, and access to secondary, tertiary, and adult informal education
Increasing crop yields through use of research-based yet traditional-inputs farming while diversifying to include cash crops
Providing villagers with access to appropriate credit opportunities and relevant technology while fostering entrepreneurs
With progress in these 5 areas, OneVillage Partners hope to both directly and indirectly increase the income of the villagers from an average of 53 cents per day to $2.50. Increasing income to $2.50 per day would allow the hardworking villagers to continue their farming heritage while earning enough money to access health services, send their children to school, eat nutritious meals with locally grown food with a surplus to sell in the markets, and diversify the economy.
The villages are “off the grid” and currently do not have running water or electricity. With slow growth in income, the villagers will increasingly be consumers, laying the foundation for a prosperous local economy.
OneVillage coordinates and supports programs associated with these areas. Our programs are implemented by a growing number of staff in Sierra Leone and American volunteers and interns.
Sierra Leone is located on the Western African coast. Our programs operate in 3 villages in the Eastern Region, Kailahun District.
What do we hope to be?
OneVillage Partners will maintain its headquarters in Minneapolis, MN, USA. The main purposes of headquarter operations are: (1) fund raising (2) strategic research to inform programming and (3) program and organization management. The majority of administrative work will take place in Sierra Leone by OneVillage Partners staff.
OneVillage Partners will leave villages self-sufficient with minimal support. We will emphasize quality over quantity, recognizing the urgency to improve the livelihood of those living in extreme poverty while forming effective partnerships. We will remain as organic and sustainable as possible, making sure to use inputs appropriately and as needed to decrease the dependency of the villages on foreign inputs. For example, we will emphasize technology such as a rice husker over the annual purchase of fertilizer.
The length of the model is expected to be around 10 years. Researchers in the US will review and summarize current technology. This data will be synthesized into a useable toolkit. It will be freely available via the website. It will be specific and with guidelines, with recommendations and a how-to for customizing. In this manner, the toolkit will be flexible. It is hoped that the toolkit will be used by young development workers while in the field.
Our spring trip will be for service learning, emphasizing the positive and resilient side of Africa. Interns will be provided with an alternate view of development.