Sierra Leone, located in West Africa, is one of the poorest nations in the world. While mineral, agricultural and fishery resources are abundant, its physical and social infrastructure have not fully recovered from the civil war that ended in 2002, and social disorder has hindered economic development. Coolibar’s friends at OneVillage Partners, a Minneapolis, MN based non-profit, have been working with people in Eastern Sierra Leone since 2006 to provide assistance to rural villages and stimulate growth within these deprived communities.
From Paul Vliem at OneVillage Partners:
OneVillage Partner’s goal is to identify a model of rural development that, simply put, works. In order to be successful, OneVillage works in partnership alongside villagers to transform problems into solutions. We provide access to information and technology not easily available in Sierra Leone, while the villagers drive their own development by identifying their own needs and possible solutions. Our partners live on less than a dollar a day with limited food, so we find an appropriate balance between relieving the immediate need and suffering while delivering programs that focus on longer term growth and empowerment. We pride ourselves on collaboration rather than management or oversight and seek to develop the organizational management capacity of our Sierra Leonean staff to work in full partnership.
Many development organizations operate short-term with specific and actionable projects, which although important, are rarely able to create long-term, improved quality of life for their beneficiaries due to their piecemeal nature. For this reason, OVP strives to be holistic and comprehensive by investing simultaneously across areas which greatly affect village life. We operate in the five distinct yet mutually-reinforcing areas of water and sanitation, health, education, agriculture, and income generation. Growth in one area undoubtedly affects success in another area. For example, with greater crop yields households are better able to practice nutrition, which results in healthier children who are better able to concentrate in school.
We invest in the essential building blocks of an economy – micro business loans, agricultural improvements, secondary education, and global connections – that allow villagers to increase their income. Throughout our work, we strategically implement and rigorously evaluate our investments to achieve measurable results. Through this approach, OVP is working with villages to create tangible, positive impact that sets the groundwork for continued, sustained development in each of these communities.
Learn more about OneVillage Partnership’s work and opportunities at http://www.onevillagepartners.org/.
OVP and Coolibar continually work together to protect the volunteers helping the rural village of Sierra Leone by providing sun protective clothing to protect skin from Africa’s intense sun.
About OneVillage Partners Video