At OneVillage Partners, they believe true development is most effective and sustainable when conceived, designed, implemented, and evaluated by the people themselves. They use a process for community action that helps villagers come together to identify, plan, and act to meet their own basic needs, all while learning the skills and practices necessary to continue long into the future.
Basic needs that villagers choose to address usually involve improved health, better sanitation, increased income, more productive agriculture, increased education, more accountable and reinvigorated leadership, empowerment for women or youth, or some combination of these.
Village partnership requires significant effort from both villagers and OVP staff. It is critical that villagers drive the work by embracing their commitment, desire for change, insight, resources, and willingness to work.
OVP’s role is to serve as a catalyst for community development by:
Putting tools for sustainable community development into the hands of community members.
Providing guidance and group facilitation to increase community engagement.
Providing locally relevant ideas, appropriate technology and investment.
Connecting villagers with outside resources and critical stakeholders.
Deepening villagers’ understanding of their ability to act as change agents.
Providing training to address skills and knowledge gaps.
In the villages where they work, they describe themselves and their role in community development as that of a “sharpening stone” that sharpens villagers’ machetes. Community members do the work, while OVP helps make their work more effective.