How It All Started
OneVillage Partners is a young and growing organization yet its roots begin in 1987.
In 1987, Jeff Hall served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the villages of Jokibu, Foindu and Pujehun in eastern Sierra Leone. Living for two years amongst the villagers, Jeff made life-long friends and through the years, he stayed in touch with three of his closest friends.
Beginning in 1991, Sierra Leone experienced a brutal civil war. The villagers were forced to flee from their homes and farms. The war officially ended in 2002, and Jeff returned to Sierra Leone to locate his friends in 2004. Jeff was happy to find that his three closest friends has survived the war and were living, with most of the residents from the villages, in a refugee camp. In conversations with the villagers, it became clear that people wanted to return to their homes but were uncertain they could successfully resume subsistence farming or the state of their homes.
In hearing this, Jeff decided to raise money in Minneapolis to help the villagers return to their homes and resume their lives. Jeff worked closely with his local church, Plymouth Congregational Church and then in 2006, Sierra Leone Plymouth Partnership was born. The Partnership was an ideal fit: it enabled a social justice-oriented church a hands-on, grassroots opportunity and provided Jeff with the additional support and camaraderie needed to further develop the possibilities of long term development for Sierra Leone into a professional organization.
In 2010, Sierra Leone Plymouth Partnership began operations under a new name, OneVillage Partners. This name change signals the growth of the organization to an independent nonprofit with increasing programs, activities, and responsibilities. OneVillage Partners earned its Articles of Incorporation in 2010.
Today OneVillage Partners is a thriving NGO with a unique approach to engage villagers in Sierra Leone to meet their needs and build skills for self-reliance.