The NOW Program has reached a milestone! 98 participants across three rural villages have now completed half of the program’s 28 sessions that aim to help women reach a personal financial goal by learning how to plan, budget, and save money. We have already seen some truly revolutionary changes because of our participant-focused approach.
Mamie Foday is a NOW participant in the village of Mamboma, one of OVP’s 9 operational villages. Mamie was one of only a few women who were not part of an existing village savings and loan group so she initially kept to herself and rarely spoke or interacted with others in her NOW group. I saw a transformation in Mamie as the program progressed. She was improving rapidly – beginning to interact with other group members and using her voice to contribute in each session. Soon enough, Mamie was one of the most outspoken women in her NOW cohort. During a home visit with me, Mamie noted that she now even has the confidence to speak at public gatherings in her community!
Early on in the NOW curriculum, we hold a family session where husbands are invited to join the NOW participants for activities that start a dialogue about traditional gender roles in Sierra Leonean communities and homes. The Family Session motivated Mamie’s husband Foday to take over some domestic work in the mornings, like preparing the children for school. That way, Mamie has less to do in the morning and she can attend the NOW sessions on time. This is very non-traditional in Sierra Leone where women are usually confined to doing housework and caring for the family.
The transformation of Mamie and her family during just a few sessions of the NOW Program is extraordinary. Her husband taking over some of the duties generally reserved only for women is indicative of the types of changes that OVP is seeing with regard to traditional gender norms. Without explicitly telling families how to properly allocate household duties, we are seeing husbands and wives discussing and problem solving amongst themselves to reach their goals, together.
Introducing OVP NOW Project Coordinator: Adriene Jinah Saidu
Adriene Jinah Saidu is a NOW Program Coordinator from Bo, Sierra Leone. Adriene’s favorite part about being a Coordinator is that she is able to help participants reach realistic financial goals, which in turn helps women to find a sustainable future where they can continually develop themselves and their community.
Something you might not know about Sierra Leone? Adriene shares that many people don’t realize the abundance of resources that Sierra Leone has and the beauty of the environment here.