Mustapha Momoh is the son of a Nurturing Opportunities for Women (NOW) participant, Satta Gibrilla. Satta is a widow with four children and the family lives in the town of Lalehun. Lalehun is a beautiful community, blessed with rich crops and trees that offer a natural environment and agricultural opportunities.
Before joining the NOW program, the Momoh family struggled to meet basic needs; there often was not enough food in the house and not all of the children were regularly attending school because of lack of tuition funds. Mustapha Momoh said, “It was difficult for my sister to go back to school because our mother was unable to pay.” Satta tried her best to support her family as a farmer, but her lack of budgeting knowledge meant that the family always just scraped by. It was challenging for Satta to support her family on her own, she also struggled to be actively involved in all of her children’s lives. Although Satta realized the situation was not ideal, she did not see any other way to live.
Satta’s encounter with the NOW Program was a turning point in her life as it taught her financial management skills. During one session the participants defined their financial goals and plotted the components of those goals to a timeline. This motivated Satta to take steps to reach her goal of paying for her children’s education. After the training, she continued to brainstorm the steps she would need to take to reach her goal and started thinking how she could put the learning into practice. Mustapha was greatly pleased to see his mother in such a good mood after the NOW session. Since then, Mustapha encouraged his mother to regularly attend the session and he also attended the family session with her. Satta felt honored by this outpouring of support from her son and embraced the learning.
Mustapha noticed his mother start putting the learning into practice. She starting saving money each month, planning her spending, and using a budget. Soon, she was able to provide more food for her children and she also took a more active role in parenting them. She counseled Mustapha to stop his habit of drinking alcohol excessively. Satta explained that Mustapha should stop his drinking because it was expensive; she had learned to reduce spending on “wants” in order to prioritize spending on “needs.” She taught him the reduction in unnecessary spending allowed the family to have more money for necessities like food and education. Mustapha took his mother’s advice, remembering the family session he attended where staying within your budget was discussed. Mustapha said,” the change in my mother’s behavior convinced me stop drinking alcohol.”
At first, Satta found it difficult to save money, cut down on expenses, put her goals into a timeline and counsel her son on his drinking. She persisted and with practice got used to the habits that seemed so foreign to her at first. Also, seeing the benefits of the extra money the family now had was a major motivator to continue applying what she learned in the NOW program.
Today, the Mustapha family has realized the benefits of the changes they made together, led by Satta. The family is united, all children are back to school and there is enough food for the family. They are now happy to work together to improve the wellbeing of the family. Satta is now seen as a role model to other widows in the community, a mother that is capable to provide for and work together with her family.