Ngolala

Upper Banta, Sierra Leone

The rural African village of Ngolala (pronounced GWOL-uh) is just a short, ten-minute walk through the jungle from our Banta Ministry Center

Ngolala has a population of approximately 660. About 75 percent of the population is women and children. The majority of people in Ngolala are from a Muslim background. Traditional African spiritual practices (including witchcraft, secret society rituals, and cultic activities) are highly prevalent. Polygamy is practiced as well, resulting in large families with many children. Families support themselves primarily through subsistence farming.

When Children of the Nations–Sierra Leone decided to relocate from their former ministry center in Marjay Town (on the outskirts of Freetown) and look for a more spacious, rural setting in which to raise the children in its care, five different areas were considered. The Paramount Chief of Upper Banta, P.C. Tommy Jombla, had been a member of the congregation led by COTN’s Sierra Leone Country Director, Rev. Angie Myles when she had actively worked with the United Methodist Church. This relationship, combined with his desire to see an organization such as Children of the Nations present in his area, led P.C. Jombla to offer Children of the Nations a free gift of land on which to center our activities. One of the villages closest to this gifted parcel of land is the village of Ngolala. It was in this village that Children of the Nations staff stayed while the ministry site was being constructed. When Children of the Nations opened its first school at their Banta Ministry Center in 2004, a large number of the children came from this nearby village, which eventually became our first Village Partnership Program in Sierra Leone.

 

Ngolala Village Partnership Program Details
Our Village Partnership Program in Ngolala 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 Ngolala, Children of the Nations continually assesses the unique needs of this village, updating programs and strategizing to best meet these needs.

Initial Assessed Needs:

  • 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
  • Very limited access to school (too far away)
  • Education not a priority; parents forego school for their children to have them work the farm or engage in domestic responsibilities
  • No electricity or water (must travel distances to collect water)

Date Village Partnership Program launched:

2006

Number of children currently enrolled in program:

304

Programs/Services currently provided:

 

Improvements to the community since the Village Partnership Program
Access to education has improved greatly through our schools and the Village Partnership Program. The Sierra Leone Ministry of Education deemed our Mallory Jansen Memorial School in Banta as “the best school in the entire chiefdom.” An understanding of the importance of education is also gradually being built up in the surrounding communities, particularly for the girl child.

The Sierra Leone Ministry of Health has officially classified our clinic a Government Health Center, acknowledging that it is the best staffed and resourced clinic in this chiefdom. The Ngolala Village Partnership Program provides free health treatment for the children enrolled in the program. All the students who attend our schools benefit from various preventative measures, for example eye testing, and dental care.

 

 

Future plans for the Ngolala Village Partnership (as funding allows): 
 
  1. Construction of a senior secondary school building at our nearby Banta Ministry Center, to provide our children with better educational opportunities
  2. Improved medical facilities to allow for basic blood testing and diagnoses of common diseases like malaria
  3. Work/study program to provide secondary school students with the opportunity to earn money while continuing their studies
  4. Homework clubs to encourage the village children to study together to improve their grades