Mokpangumba

Upper Banta, Sierra Leone

An hour-long walk through swamp, farmland, and jungle followed by a brief ride in a dug-out canoe takes you from our Banta Ministry Center to the beautiful riverside village of Mokpangumba. Located in the Upper Banta Chiefdom, Moyamba District in southern Sierra Leone, Mokpangumba is about two hundred kilometers (an eight-hour drive) from the capital city of Freetown.

Mokpangumba has a population of approximately 300 families. Seventy-five percent of the population is women and children. The majority of people in Mokpangumba are from a Muslim background but there is still a strong Christian presence because of a United Brethren in Christ mission that actively worked in the village from the mid-1950s until the ‘80s. Traditional African spiritual practices (including witchcraft, secret society rituals, cultic activities, etc.) are in a high prevalence. Polygamy is practiced as well, resulting in large families with many children. Families are supported solely through subsistence farming, supplementing what they produce on their small farms with what they are able to catch in the river.

When Children of the Nations’ Mallory Jansen Memorial School (Banta) (at our Banta Ministry Center) began to enroll children, many were coming from Mokpangumba. The daily trek these children were embarking on from their far-flung village and back home again soon became a concern, particularly because of the two river crossings that the trek entailed. It is often children who paddle the canoe, and during the rainy season the water level gets very high and the current gets rapid, making the trip somewhat treacherous. It was decided that it would be safer to open a feeder school in Mokpangumba for the younger children. This school was opened in time for the academic year beginning in 2007.

 

Mokpangumba Village Partnership Program Details
Our Village Partnership Program in Mokpangumba is a community-based ministry that provides a coming-alongside sort of partnership with the village leaders to provide training, education, spiritual encouragement, and resources empowering them to raise their children and reach their goal of self-sustainability. Working through the local village leadership of Mokpangumba, Children of the Nations continually assesses the unique needs of this village, updating programs and strategizing to best meets these needs.

Initial Assessed Needs:

  • Very poor sanitation. The river is used for drinking water, for washing, for laundry, and as a toilet (the bush is also used for the latter).
  • High illiteracy rate
  • Malnutrition
  • High rate of infant mortality and maternal mortality
  • No access to medical care
  • High rate of early marriage by the girl child
  • Female genital mutilation
  • Cultic practices
  • Very limited access to school (too far away)
  • Education not a priority; parents forgo school for their children to have them work the farm or engage in domestic responsibilities
  • No electricity or clean source of water

Date Village Partnership Program launched:

2007

Number of children currently enrolled in program:

79

Programs/Services currently provided:

 

Improvements to the community since the Village Partnership Program
Through the establishment of a satellite school program in Mokpangumba, Children of the Nations has been able to provide safe and quality education for the younger children of Mokpangumba. The older children (grades 7 and up) continue to attend the school at Mallory Jansen Memorial School (Banta) in our Banta Ministry Center.

Through the local church, Children of the Nations is able to disciple and strengthen an established fellowship of believers and reach out to others in that community.

The medical clinic staff at our Banta Ministry Center through our Health Animators program has also been to the village and held health education meetings and offered advice regarding the sanitation problems.

 

Future plans for the Mokpangumba Village Partnership (as funding allows):

  1. Construction of a new, permanent school building. 
  2. Construction of a small clinic to provide for the basic medical needs of the community
  3. Homework clubs to encourage the village children to study together to improve their grades