Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Moving up the value chain - Sistas Savve takes the reins of jewellery business

Ellen and Margareth from Mbkonavera 4 are taking over the reins with the Sistas Savve jewellery business, and they are learning fast. 

Here they are at the Lime Lounge, doing everything from stocking the shelves with beautiful Sistas Savve jewellery to calculating how much money all the graduates are owed for their sales.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Razzle dazzling Samoan business leaders

With paper bead necklaces more in demand than ever, the Sistas Savve women were visited last week by Adimaimalaga Tafuna'i from Women in Business Development Inc. 

Adi is here visiting to discuss how we can improve opportunities for women in the Solomon Islands to create small businesses. She made sure to take back a sample of our wares to Samoa!

Adi admiring the Sistas Savve paper bead necklaces

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sistas Savve Briefing at the Ministry of Women

In October 2012, SIPPA, YWCA and FPI conducted a briefing at the Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs. The focus was on sharing the Sistas Savve curriculum and initial findings, one year into the project. About 15 key staffers from various divisions within the Ministry took part, including the Deputy Permanent Secretary and two directors.

SIPPA Executive Director Michael Salini and YWCA General Secretary Jenta Tau briefed the staff on how integrating SRHR education with financial literacy training has been an effective way of empowering the young women. The Ministry of Women has recently been awarded a grant to the Sistas Savve graduates for supplies that will enable the women to scale up their small businesses.     

YWCA General Secretary Jenta Tau and SIPPA Executive Director Michael Salini briefing the staff

Sistas Savve Programme Coordinator Doris Dakei and Sistas Savve graduate Drusheilla Pongi 

Edward Anistitolo, Director of the the MoW's Youth Division and Evans Tuhagenga, Deputy Permanent Secretary 

Ministry of Women staffers at the briefing

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pretty Postcards

Sistas Savve is pleased to announce the arrival of our lovely postcards, just in time for you to write all those Christmas letters back home! Each of the four images showcases the craft of a different Sistas Savve graduate, and all proceeds directly support the women with their small businesses selling these products. We think you’ll have trouble deciding which ones to buy, so they are also available in packaged sets for just $40! We have a limited supply, so come down to the Lime Lounge or the YWCA office to purchase some soon.
Clockwise from top left: SS graduates Margareth, Kerolyn, Sarah and Weena showcasing their products on these beautiful postcards.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Update from Drusheilla

A few weeks ago, we congratulated White River Sistas Savve graduate Drusheilla Pongi for being selected to attend the  2012 Pacific Leadership Program Symposium. We are pleased to report that the conference was a success, and she made it back to the Solomon Islands safely. 

She arrived in Brisbane to attend week-long conference along with 40 other participants, most of whom were MPs, CEOs, Chairpeople and public servants from around the Pacific. Even the Princess of Tonga attended! 

During the week, Drusheilla and her colleagues worked on designing effective interventions for issues in their home countries. Sistas Savve got some great publicity, as Drusheilla made sure she got the opportunity to talk about the work that we do to educate young mothers in Honiara.  She discussed the issues caused by teenage pregnancy in the Solomon Islands, and everyone agreed that there was a need for more programs based on the Sistas Savve model. The entire group then worked together to identify possible solutions and methods for achieving her goal of opening more vocational schools. 

Being able to put forward her experiences and have them recognised by leaders from around the Pacific was a highlight for Drusheilla, who is passionate about engaging young people and helping them to become more productive. She also made lots of new friends in high places, and enjoyed dancing and eating with them every night after the hard day's work. 

Congratulations again to Drusheilla for earning the opportunity to attend the PLP Symposium. It's great to see Sistas Savve graduates doing such amazing things and we can't wait to see more! 

Drusheilla (back row, 6th from right) with the other PLP Symposium participants 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Picture Perfect

Sorry for our silence this week, we have been busy working on a new business venture- postcards! Here's a 'sneak peek' of the photo shoot, where our fantastic photographer Kerrie is snapping Margareth from Mbokonavera 4 dying her lava lavas. 
A huge thanks to Kerry and Mandy at CYP for offering their photography skills for the shoot!
Kerrie taking photos of Margareth, who is demonstrating how to dye lava lavas

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sistas Savve Stepping out from the Shadows

The Sistas Savve women have a strong presence at the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Shadow Report Workshop being held this week. Several staff members, volunteers and two Sistas Savve graduates are halfway through a four day workshop, in which several women-focused NGOs are working together to write the CEDAW Shadow Report.

The Shadow Report is written by Solomon Islands NGOs to complement and critique the report written by the SI government. Both reports evaluate the country’s progress towards achieving the goals of CEDAW, which encompass all the ways in which women are denied equality with men. Goals include achieving the right to vote and be involved in politics, the right to live free of harmful gender stereotypes and violence, and the right to equal access to health-care, education, and employment.

As in all countries, there are several barriers stopping females from enjoying their full rights and achieving equality with males in the Solomon Islands. Although the Solomon Islands government signed the CEDAW treaty in 2002, it is yet to submit a report to the CEDAW Committee. Writing the Shadow Report is a great opportunity for Sistas Savve to use their experience and stories to benefit women at a national level.

Clockwise from left: SS White River graduates, Weena and Loloma, SS Coordinator Doris, Community Liasion Officer Jenny and VSA Volunteer Hannah discuss ways to improve employment, education and health rights for women in the Solomon Islands.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sistas Savve graduate leads the way

Recent Sistas Savve graduate Drusheilla Loloma Pongi has been selected to attend the Pacific Leadership Program Leadership Symposium in Brisbane, Australia, this month. Drusheilla says her selection is a great honour, ‘I feel happy and proud to be representing Sistas Savve and the Solomon Islands.’

Drusheilla is from White River and, at 23 years, is the youngest member of the Solomon Islands delegation attending the Symposium. She’s a natural leader, having had experience in leadership roles since childhood in many areas including dancing and promotional work. A talented designer and jewellery maker, Drusheilla uses the skills she learnt in the Sistas Savve training program to make and sell products such as paper bead jewellery. She recently made an exquisite set that was presented to the Duchess of Cambridge on her recent visit to Honiara.

Sistas Savve’s Community Outreach Officer, Jenny Rachel Kaniko, said the Symposium was an important opportunity for leaders to discuss different styles of leadership and training across the Pacific and to learn from each other. She added that Drusheilla’s selection demonstrates that there are many and varied paths to leadership. While formal education is often an advantage, a person who has not reached a certain level can still be an effective and dynamic leader: ‘A positive, can-do attitude – that’s what makes the difference.’

Drusheilla is looking forward to discussions with other members of the Pacific leadership community, and will also take a selection of Sistas Savve products to display and sell. We wish her all the very best in Brisbane!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sistas Savve dazzles the Duchess

The Solomon Star featured a story on Sistas Savve's paper bead jewellery and Doris Dakei's recent meeting with the Duchess of Cambridge. The jewellery is proving very popular in Honiara selling out in the Lime Lounge in a matter of hours. We're now planning to extend our reach to other retail outlets and we also make to order. No excuse, peeps, time to be razzle dazzled by Sistas Savve!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stacka Waka

Ellen, Sarah and friend sell products at the White River graduation last week. 

The Sistas Savve staff have had a very busy week so far, and there aren't even any classes happening! Today, we interviewed  the women from Feraladoa community who will start the Sistas Savve classes next week, to find out what they already know about sexual health and family violence. We also interviewed all the White River participants to find out what they learnt during the programme. 

We are looking forward to our fourth class starting on Monday! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Congratulations White River class!!

The White River class celebrated their achievements as they graduated from the Sistas Savve programme last Friday. The sunny afternoon ceremony was held outside at the YWCA Kindergarten, and was packed with family and friends of the twenty graduates. Several guests of honour were present, including the West Honiara Constituency Development Officer, Mr Brian Taupiri and New Zealand High Commissioner Mark Ramsden. Mr Taupiri announced that West Honiara MP Namson Tran is donating SBD$20,000 to the White River Sistas Savve group to ensure their future endeavours as a group are a success. Mr Ramsden spoke about the importance of women’s work in Honiara, and acknowledged the role of Sistas Savve in empowering women in Honiara.

Each woman received a certificate, and President Weena Brechtefeld made a speech on behalf of the group, thanking everyone for their support over the past ten weeks. After the ceremony closed, everyone enjoyed the party, which included great food cooked by the Mbkonavera 4 graduates, and lots of dancing!

Now that the women have completed their ten weeks of training, they are looking forward to sharing their knowledge with other women in their community while setting up a small business collective making products taught by Sistas Savve.

The Sistas Savve staff are preparing to welcome twenty women from Feraladoa as the fourth community to participate in the programme, and are due to start classes next week. 
Solomon Island Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA) Director Michael Salini
welcoming the guests to the Sistas Savve graduation

White River class President Weena making a speech following the certificate ceremony

The White River graduates after their ceremony

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Looking forward to the future

The White River Sistas Savve class is looking forward to their graduation next week, but they still have lots to do before then! The class will form a small business collective to make sure they continue to benefit from the craft skills and knowledge they have learned at Sistas Savve. The class met with Jenny Kaniko, the Community Liaison Officer, to discuss how the collective worked, and to vote for a committee of women to be the leaders.  

Although many great people were nominated for the four positions, the successful candidates were Weena (President), Clerah (Vice-President), Mary (Secretary) and Joyce (Treasurer).

Under the leadership of Weena, the Committee will drive the operation of the collective, and make sure it can continue long after their Sistas Savve classes have finished. They will make sure that communication between the women is good, by organising meetings and discussing issues, and they will ensure the finances are protected and accurately distributed. It is hoped that this support will enable all the women to benefit from the collective and experience improved livelihoods for them and their families. 

From left: Joyce (Treasurer), Weena (President), Mary (Secretary) and Clerah (Vice-President)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Working Sistas

It’s nice to catch up with our Sistas Savve graduates, so last week, Hannah met up with three women from the Mbkonavera class to hear about what they’ve been doing since they graduated in June. Christally (22), Andrea (25), and Veronica (29) have all received internships at the Solomon Islands Kitano Mendana hotel, through a program called “Youth at Work”, which is run by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). 

Christally has a full-time house-keeping position, which involves doing all the cleaning and laundry for guests. She says she would love to use her time at the Mendana to learn about starting a small business, which would build on what she has already learnt at Sistas Savve. Andrea works at one of the in-house restaurant as a waitress, and she has decided to pursue a career in hospitality and tourism after discovering her new skill for working with guests.  Veronica works in the store room, issuing food to the chefs and placing orders with suppliers. All three women would love to be offered a permanent position at the end of the internship program, to ensure the steady income that they need to realise their goals and better support their families.
The jobs are the first formal employment for Christally and Andrea, who stayed at home raising their children before joining Sistas Savve. They are all very proud of their achievements, and report that they’ve learned lots of new things since starting their respective jobs. They credit Sistas Savve with teaching them how to write CVs and for offering assistance with the application process. 
We are looking forward to catching up with these three girls next year to hear about how they are reaching their goals! 

From left: Veronica, Christally and Andrea at their new jobs

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Beads Everywhere

Last week’s Sistas Savve workshop was facilitated by June Maru, a women’s rights activist from Bougainville, Papua New Guinea with a passion for jewellery making. June taught the class how to make paper beads from old magazines, which are made by coiling strips of paper into different shapes and sizes. These are then varnished and made into necklaces, bracelets and earrings once they are dry. The class have since been getting very creative, with one woman using old newspaper to create black and grey striped beads, while others use paint to create brightly coloured beads. Everyone at the office is wearing our new beaded jewellery! 

June really enjoyed the workshop, writing that “it gave me so much encouragement to see their faces glow with the recognition that they could actually make money out of waste paper”. June is very involved in community projects around Honiara, and aims to give women the tools and confidence to advocate and lobby on issues that are important to them. 

Thanks June for sharing your amazing skills with us! Check out June Maru’s other jewellery here: 

Isabella from White River making beads out of newspaper, while modelling her own earrings and necklace

Hanging the beads out to dry

June Maru showing the girls how to varnish the paper beads.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Funky, recycled magazine earrings, anyone? Sistas Savve hits Mud Alley Market

The Mud Alley Market in Honiara was a successful affair on Sunday. Jefflyna from Kofiloko sold baskets and bags made out of recycled plastic and Vero from MB4 sold necklaces and earrings made from recycled magazines. See you at the Mud Alley Market in Honiara next time!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Budding Bakers

Last week was a great time to be in the office! Every afternoon, we were treated to the smell of baking wafting through the YWCA, which caused some serious rumbling stomachs. This was because the White River Sistas Savve participants were learning how to do all things baking.

Through a workshop that was facilitated by Diane Alufurai, the women learnt how to read a basic recipe and how to use specific measurements correctly. Armed with this knowledge, they proceed to bake a variety of delicious cakes and sweet things – pineapple pie, custard, chocolate cake, lemon and coconut cake and even fruit cake. To top it all off, they spent a session learning how to decorate the finished cakes like professionals.

After all this hard work, it was finally time to share the cake with everyone, including the very hungry YWCA and Sistas Savve staff– yum!  

Learning to make basic pastry for the pineapple pie. 

The pineapple pies, just before they both got quickly eaten!

Chocolate cake with great icing decoration by the White River Sistas Savve participants

Sheila showing off her cake decorating skills

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Famous in Honiara

Sistas Savve is getting even more publicity, with another article being run in today's Solomon Star. It discusses how the women learnt how to make the earrings at a Festival of Pacific Arts workshop, and are now selling them for income!

Getting Creative

We never cease to be amazed by the spirit of ‘know how’ and ‘can do’ that permeates Sistas Savve!

You may remember that, recently, some of our grads had a special workshop in weaving earrings: http://sistassavve.blogspot.com/2012/07/jewellery-making-workshop.html

One of these grads, Karen Malao, then went on to teach the coil weave technique to the current group of Sistas Savve women from White River. They had three productive workshops working with nylon string and plastic beads and they made many beautiful pairs of earrings.

That in itself would be a happy story but, wait, there’s more.

One day, White River participant, Weena Brechtefeld, was at home weaving earrings and got to thinking, ‘What other materials can I use to make these?’ She rummaged around and found some shells, dry pandanus leaves and buttons off an old shirt. Friends in her community said, ‘Why are you collecting all that rubbish?’ But Weena had had a brilliant idea – why buy materials when there’s so much to be had for free? All it takes is some initiative and creative thinking.

Take a look at Weena’s stunning earrings made from found materials in her community. And now she’s going to share her ‘know how’ with the other women in her Sistas Savve group. Thank you Weena!

Weena modelling her lovely earrings made from pandanus leaves and shells. 

Weena's earrings, made entirely from products she found around her home. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sistas Savve welcomes facilitator, Jocelyn Lai

Sistas Savve was lucky to have Jocelyn Lai facilitate two workshops last week. She taught the women from White River how to make both doormats and blouses. The mats are for scraping mud off outdoors and are made of recycled bottle tops. The blouses are in the breezy style of 'meri blouses' from the Pacific region.

Thank you, Jocelyn, for sharing your skills with humour and patience!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sistas Savve brings some bling bling to Honiara

Sistas Savve featured in the Solomon Star yesterday! Here's an article about the workshops we had with Lisa from the Pacific Women's Weaving Circle.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Teaching sexual reproductive health

Graduate, Veronica Esibaea, was back today to pass on some of the knowledge she learnt last term during Mbokanavera 4's Sistas Savve training program. Veronica facilitated the workshop on sexual reproductive health – a workshop that never fails to be greeted by peals of laughter! But of course there's a serious side to this subject matter and the White River women learnt many important facts about anatomy, health and reproduction. Thank you, Veronica!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sistas Savve at the Trade Show

Sistas Savve products were in great demand at the Trade Show in Honiara. We shared a stall with the YWCA and sold jewellery, doormats, baskets, bags, lavalavas, pillow cases and much much more. There were many visitors to the stall and the show was such a success, it was extended by two days!


Jewellery making workshop

Sistas Savve had a very special workshop recently with Lisa Hilli from the Pacific Women's Weaving Circle. Lisa visited Honiara for the Festival of Pacific Arts and, while in town, facilitated a jewellery making workshop for graduates from MB4 and Mamana Water. Those who attended learnt how to make gorgeous bracelets and earrings, which they then sold at the Trade Fair. More on that to follow!