Shuaibu households learns to maximize their resources

Story by Rita Abiodun, Oxfam in Nigeria's Media and Communications Officer

For many years, I have nursed a vision of raising a happy family where my wives co-exist in harmony and support each other as sisters. I also had a vision of owning a grocery shop to increase our household income, but those were mere wishes until my older wife and I participated in Oxfam’s GALS program," said Mallam Shuaibu a father of seven children from Zigau community in Shira local government area of Bauchi state.

"I have once benefitted from Oxfam's intervention when they supported me with a value chain of Sorghum and fertilizers to increase my agricultural yield in 2017. In January 2021, my husband and I were invited to participate in Gender Action Learning System (GALS) methodology training. The lessons we learned from that training have indeed changed our family for good," said Kandia Shuaibu, the older wife of Mallam Shuaibu.

Gender Action Learning Systems (GALS) is a community-led empowerment methodology that uses the principle of inclusion to improve the livelihood, nutrition, income, and ultimately the security of vulnerable people in a gender-equitable way. Through support from Global Affairs Canada, GALS is being implemented by Oxfam through partners in six local government areas in Bauchi state since 2016.

"During the GALS training, we were enlightened on the importance of having a family vision, how to maximize our strength as a family to scale our business, and how balancing roles in the home can help us build a happier and healthier family. It was such an eye-opener for my husband, myself, and co-wife," said Kandia Shuaibu.

"After hearing about creating a vision road map for the family, my perspective on business completely changed. "Now I know how to maximize the strength around me, remove weaknesses, and maneuver threats. I have taken advantage of opportunities in my environment to expand my business beyond selling Sorghum and rice to now selling sugar and starting to rear livestock as well.

Relationships with my husband and co-wife have improved drastically. My husband no longer sees household chores as a woman's affair alone. When decisions that concern our children are to be made, we all talk through it and take a collective decision, "Kandia Shuaibu added."

"It was a shocking realization for my household when we saw how much potentials we were not maximizing due to a lack of family vision and gender stereotyped roles that were inhibiting our progress,” Mallam Shuaibu said.  

As a rice farmer, I went from harvesting 10 - 15 bags of rice in a harvesting cycle to harvesting 50 bags. When necessary, I borrow from my wives to expand our family business and pay back. My long-desired grocery shop has hit the ground running. We hardly waste our precious time on unnecessary bickering" said Mallam Shuaibu.

We are better off as a family since we went through GALS training, Kandia Shuaibu said.