Author: Nurturing Opportunities for Women (NOW) Team
OneVillage Partners’ Nurturing Opportunities for Women (NOW) program goal is to teach women financial literacy. Through the eight-month curriculum, participants learn how to plan, save, budget, make good financial decisions, and use their voices in community settings. In each community, the NOW program created a strong group of resilient women who support one another. In Lalehun, Madiana Baion said; “We are becoming stronger in managing our own resources, solving conflict at home, and very strong in times of challenges and difficulties.” NOW has not only taught financial skills, but also helped the women gain more confidence in themselves.Since the program began in 2016, a total of 332 participants have graduated from 13 communities.
But what happens after graduation?
At the end of the program, coordinators help the women decide how they would like to continue their group without the facilitation of OneVillage Partners. By using the bond that was created during the NOW program, these groups have remained strong in the communities. In Grima, the 2016 graduates created an ongoing support plan, which helped meet most of their goals and created a support group amongst themselves. They decided to organize a revolving loan plan amongst the group which has raised a significant amount of money. One active member Fatmata Kefala said, “I have been able to set up my own business and am now very helpful in the home. This made me to have respect and admiration from my husband.” Similarly, the women in Yandohun were very active in organizing a group farming project after their graduation in 2017. The project focused more on women mobilization, group work, women involvement in agricultural business, and community participation. This had generated vast agricultural inputs and continued unity among the women of Yandohun.
This year Makka participants organized a group farming project halfway through the program. Their innovation and dedication to create a strong independent group outside of their NOW sessions was truly amazing. They decided to create a small scale agriculture business by selling groundnut (peanut) seeds. Participant Adama Mohamed said, “I have never come across a strong and hardworking women’s group that has such strong compassion and love for each other as my NOW group.” The money from their sales will be used to start a business for the group as a whole. They will also be using the money among themselves as a loan where they can pay back with a lower amount of interest. It will serve as a resource for each one of them to solve their family problems and even help new developments in their home.
Every community has created some kind of group to continue the bond that was started by the NOW program. The women guide each other to meet their individual goals and work as a group to overcome unimaginable financial challenges in their lives. In Bandajuma, Zainab Musa said; “It is helpful to manage our own agricultural project as women and be meeting every month to discuss possible challenges and their solutions in our everyday lives.” These groups have done more than help the women continue in their financial goals; it has become a sustainable support network for women to help one another in every aspect of their lives. When asked about the new groups being formed by participants, NOW Coordinator Bernadette expressed, “I was so happy because I saw the willingness, oneness, love, passion and caring for each other was among them.”