Murbege Gilman, a female beneficiary of PROACT project

The Making of Women Leaders in Rural Communities – Story of Murgebe

“..because of my role as a community mobilizer/agent, everyone in the community now knows and respects me. When I go to the palace of the traditional ruler, I see that I get different type of treatment that I don’t get before”.

Murbege Gilman is married with 3 kids and lives in Banjiram, Guyuk local government of Adamawa State. Before she got involved in the PROACT project supported by Oxfam and EU, she never imagined she could stand in front of people to talk to them. Now, Murbege is mobilizing women and training women in her community on savings.

“I am able to talk to more people on the benefits of joining VSLA groups such as stronger community bond, friendship and savings so they can join. My confidence has really been built because of this. People use to have the impression that loans are given to group members by force and will be arrested if they are unable to pay back. But I have been able to correct this by constantly talking to them.”

At first, it was very difficult for her to reach people in her community because they all go the farm (including herself), so she had to go their houses at night around 8pm. For some people, she visits them up to three times before they are convinced. With determination, Murbege has now set up 3 groups comprising of 75 people in total.

She finished secondary school in 2006 and was not doing anything with her knowledge, but because of this she now writes regularly and do simple maths.

In the past, she used to farm only okro. She collected a loan of twenty thousand naira (N20, 000) for her group and was able to rent a land and cultivated sesame seed, sorghum and okro. From profit she made, she has now bought 8 more bags of sesame seed that she hopes to sell in the future when the cost is very high.

In Banjiram, women do not own land due to inheritance culture. A woman can only access land through her husband giving her a piece of his or they rent – about 7 – 10 thousand naira per hectare.