At OneVillage Partners, we empower community volunteers in Eastern Sierra Leone to be champions for change in their communities. We work at the village level, one village at a time, coaching communities to achieve their visions for prosperous and sustainable livelihoods. Through this collaboration, our partner communities have successfully implemented 35 projects, which are improving sanitation and public health, increasing access to education, boosting agricultural productivity and food security, and nurturing economic development.
As 2019 comes to a close, we are incredibly proud of the accomplishments we have achieved together with our partner communities. We brought on one new village partner, where twelve Community Action volunteers were trained on community mobilization, project planning, and implementation. Over 200 Community Action volunteers actively participated in the development of their communities. Across ten communities this year, we saw the construction of 99 latrines, six water wells, and one skills training center, and the purchase of three rice milling machines to boost food production. And because the Community Action volunteers displayed such incredible leadership overseeing these projects, over 50% of them gained formal leadership positions within their communities and local government in 2019 alone.
Furthermore, three of our partner communities graduated from the Community Action program and participated in OneVillage Partners’ Lead pilot program. Volunteers in these communities were trained on proposal writing and gained further leadership skills that will contribute to the sustainable development of their communities for years to come.
In 2019, 112 women graduated from the ambitious Nurturing Opportunities for Women (NOW) program. These women, some of whom had never held a pencil before, can now complete annual budgets for themselves. These women are now growing their businesses, increasing their profits, and providing for their families. 111 women participated in NOW Phase II: Business Skills. These women acquired technical skills and knowledge to be able to start their own businesses or expand their existing businesses.
We understand some challenges are bigger than just one village, and therefore cannot be addressed at the village level. That’s why in 2020, OneVillage Partners is scaling regionally. We are creating platforms for communities to come together, exchange ideas, and create solutions to address development on a regional level. We envision the possibilities of hundreds more women with limited formal education tapping into regional markets and developing new businesses.
We share with our partner communities a vision of thriving communities where incomes grow and families become prosperous; where children can be born in a safe environment and grow up healthy; where everyone works together to make this happen.
In the year ahead, we will be holding ourselves accountable to this vision. We invite you to join us to meet this challenge and impact more lives together.