Author: Foday Sesay, Nurturing Opportunities for Women Supervisor
Gbessay Moriba is a petty trader who owns a small retail shop and sells basic food supplies in Pejewa. She participated in the Nurturing Opportunities for Women (NOW) Program in 2017. Before joining the program, she realized that the community had never had any basic training or learning for the large number of illiterate women in her community. She blamed this lack of basic training to cause a high rate of illiterate women, stating they felt farther behind when compared to other community women in her chiefdom.
“The illiteracy level of women is high in our community and this has made the women contribute less in terms of community development. Our homes had been mismanaged by the women themselves, because they have no knowledge of better home management. This was causing serious problems in the home among between husbands and wives.”
Gbessay was selected as a NOW participant, and during the seven months training she learned many important lessons. The session where she learned how to compare and plan her income and expenses was a crucial turning point not just for Gbessay, but for the entirety of the group.
“We started knowing what we spent and received out of our farm work. We all decided to share the NOW message to other women who are not part of the NOW program.” There was great interest among the other community women to participate in their training. “At the end of the NOW program, we conducted special training for the other women in the community,” she stated. Pejewa now has many women who, despite not participating in the NOW program, are familiar with almost all of the training. They have also been able to put this learning into practice, which is changing lives of so many women in the community. Gbessay stated, “Even now, we are still holding our usual training with the non-NOW participant women so that we can keep reminding ourselves and make the NOW program sustainable for all the women.”