Author: Foday Sesay, Nurturing Opportunities for Women Supervisor
Brima Momoh (pictured right) is a father of four children and has lived and raised his children in Maloma for ten years. Hawa Brima his wife, participated in the Nurturing Opportunities for Women Program in 2017. Brima became a regular attendee of the family sessions and he began to listen to his wife when sharing lessons from the workbook, learning much from the sessions.
Brima became conscious that he lacked the enthusiasm, care, and attention to raise his children in the best manner. He always referred to how his own father had raised him and his siblings to farm and become strong men, this too was the dream he had for his own children. Brima believed that girls should get married as soon as they matured, and that boys should be able to farm successfully and marry suitable girls in the community. He stated that, “This was the archaic system we grew up in and we have become so accustomed to that it is very difficult to change.” Children’s education was not a priority so they never discussed it in their family meetings. His family never discussed savings for the future, they only saved to sue fellow community members in court for minor disputes, a common practice in rural Sierra Leone. They were very satisfied with their way of living and believed that to be the best life.
“When my wife told me of the NOW program, I was little bit skeptical of the whole program. I tried as much as possible to discourage her from joining the program but she insisted and I allowed her.” He stated that she began to share good communication practices in the home from the sessions. She started discussing with her husband her goals, budgeting, planning, savings, good decision making, and the involvement of children in basic decision making. She began to see how the children could contribute meaningfully in the family. He was not happy with much of this until he decided to join the family session one day, a session from the NOW program designed to include husbands in the learning of their wives. At this session Brima gained an understanding of the importance of the learning that Hawa had been discussing at home.
“I learnt that to build up a good family unity, you need the contribution and effort of all members of the family.”
Together they started bringing their children to top family meetings and listening to their small but valid points. Together they have been able to build a stronger and more united family. The children are now in school pursuing their dreams, and the family as a whole is looking at the broader aspects of life. Not just how they will get food every day, but how they may save to build the future of their children. “Our children feel so proud of being pivotal in the household decision making and we are strong united family in Maloma.”