After one year of participating in the Community Action Program, we implement the Nurturing Opportunities for Women (NOW) Program.
NOW is an innovative women’s financial literacy and empowerment program that helps women plan, budget, save, and achieve their personal financial goal, while also helping women develop skills in public speaking and household decision making.
HOW IT WORKS
Sierra Leone has a very low level of literacy and numeracy, especially among women. In the Kaliahun District of Sierra Leone where we work, 61% of women have no formal education and 29% of women are considered literate.
Too often, traditional financial programs assume too high a level of literacy and numeracy among participants. As a result, the very women who could benefit most from such trainings fail to receive this much-needed education. To address this issue, OneVillage Partners developed a picture-based curriculum to teach participants —literate or not— about basic financial principals and provides tools to assess income and expenses, track savings, and balance a budget. Meeting their financial goal measurably improves participants’ lives and the lives of their families.
Crucially, the NOW Program also encourages households to build gender equity by inviting husbands and family members to attend sessions with the participants. These sessions include discussions of women’s empowerment and gender norms around decision making. By giving women voice in a household, and at a community level, the NOW program increases participants’ social and economic standing. Women share their goals and learnings with the larger community. As a result, women have increased confidence, respect, and the ability to use their voice. They lead by example, share their knowledge with other women, and continue to create and achieve goals to better their community.
Hear from three NOW participants how the program has impacted their lives in our short film.