Village Partnership, Sierra Leone
Highlights from our Trip in April 2022
The Village we will be partnering with is in the Northern Region of Sierra Leone. The Village is comprised of 56 houses with a population of approximately 572 people (71 households).
The residents are engaged in subsistence farming, including rice, peanuts, cassava and sweet potatoes and the rearing of animals such as goats and sheep. However due to economic challenges the village struggles with food security. The village only has one well that serves many surrounding communities. There is a need for another well, and also new latrines.
The children from the village must walk more than a mile to be able to attend school. Due to the walk, and unsafe conditions many children do not finish school.
The Need - A Lack of Opportunity within Extreme Poverty
Even though the country is over a decade removed from the civil war, widespread poverty affects most of the population and the needs of the country are great.
Two thirds of those living in poverty in Sierra Leone live in extreme poverty, which means that they cannot afford necessities such as food, water, shelter and medical care.
Cornerstone is choosing to work with World Hope International because of their ability to come along side of people and to help give them the opportunities to step out of poverty.
World Hope International believes that God grants every human the desire to work—to cast off the shackles of poverty and generate his or her own income, improve economic stability and sustain a better quality of life. They base what they do on long-term results. They offer more than charity; they provide resources and knowledge to the poor, empowering them to become agents of change within their own communities. Village Partnerships seek to improve individual circumstances and allow villagers the opportunity to gain dignity through shared effort and energy and secure hope for their future.
World Hope International proposes a three-year village partnership, with a possible extension up to 5 years, between Cornerstone and the people of a specific village in Sierra Leone.
Village Partnerships provide holistic, sustainable programming that address the physical and spiritual needs of the community. The community-based initiatives listed below are developed with the community which empowers them in the process.
The long-term success of the village development depends on the solid formation and progress of the Village Development Committee (VDC). The VDC training during the first year focuses on 1) Dependency – the causes and consequences versus sustainable development and empowerment; 2) Community mobilization and participation, and 3) Time management. In the following years, VDC training focuses on the specific needs of that village.
Improving Livelihoods, Nutrition and Income Generation among Men and Women
The decade long civil war seriously disrupted agriculture activities and in 2003, production was only about 50% of pre-civil war amounts. Villages in the Bombali district were among the most severely hurt during the war. Rebels killed livestock and destroyed fields. VDCs desire to increase yields and livestock supplies. Quality seed and animals are distributed to village farmers as a loan. Since the quality of the seed helps increase the yield, farmers can “pay back” the seed loan and still have a good harvest. When the animals produce offspring, farmers “pay back” the animal loan and can keep the original number of animals and the future offspring. The farmers pay back their loans to the VDC who are then able to distribute additional loans to farmers in the village. In addition, WHI works with farmers to teach best practices in farming, water harvesting techniques, and crop diversification.
Education and Child Sponsorship
Access to education is crucial to alleviating poverty. Child sponsorship through World Hope International utilizes multiple program areas to complement one another and act as a comprehensive response to poverty with a specific emphasis on the child. Through the love and encouragement of their sponsor, sponsorship affirms that every child has been created in the image of God, has been named, and has a story worthy of being heard!
Our partnership will provide the resources to address the specific educational needs the village leadership and WHI field staff have identified for the children. The VDC is challenged to choose interventions that are the highest priority and can be sustainable in the long term.
Safe Water, Health, Hygiene & Sanitation
Without access to safe water and sanitation facilities, major diseases like cholera and malaria are rampant in rural Sierra Leone. Many of these diseases are not only easily treatable but, more importantly, they are preventable. As a result of cholera, malaria, and other preventable diseases, Sierra Leone has one of the highest child and maternal mortality rates in the world.
WHI works with the VDC to construct or rehabilitate wells, latrine slabs and teach proper hygiene to ensure the safe water stays clean during use and the sanitation facilities are used properly. In addition, treated mosquito nets may be distributed to pregnant and nursing women as well as children under the age of five.
Our Philosophy on Evangelism
As Christians, we desire to show others the love of Jesus Christ through both word and deed. To simply address the physical needs of a community and not the spiritual needs, means not sharing the hope, love, and grace we embrace as necessary to navigate an often-difficult life on earth. However, we understand that when we share the gospel, not everyone will embrace its message. We choose to love and accept these community members in the village development process.
WHI opens all village development programs to people regardless of faith or whether they choose to follow the Christian faith. In some villages, there are Christian churches and/or those interested in learning more about the Christian faith. In these villages, funds are often requested to help in church building and leadership development as well as evangelism.
However, there are other villages we operate within where the Christian message is not accepted. The funds requested for evangelism are limited. We accept that we have done our part in sharing the hope of the gospel and pray that God will continue to work in their lives and draw them to Him.
Opportunity for Further Engagement
Short Term Mission Trips
We invite you to not only partner with the this community by providing the necessary resources but to also come visit and see for yourselves the changes taking place! You will also be able to visit Sierra Leone to see how the people continue to work together.
It’s easy to overlook the vital aspect of prayer at times. However, the success and effectiveness of our work cannot happen without the commitment of prayer.