On Friday, March 23rd, the first group of
participants graduated from the Sistas Savve programme!
The Sistas Savve participants, staff, partners and
advisory committee were very proud to welcome the Solomon Islands Minister of Health,
Charles Sigoto, and New Zealand High Commissioner, Mark Ramsden, who presented
the graduation certificates and spoke about the importance of women’s
In his speech, Minister Sigoto congratulated the New
Zealand Aid Programme and the implementers of Sistas Savve for the initiative,
saying that it was “a key priority for the Ministry of Health and Medical
Services to actively promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through
our health programmes and initiatives.”
The ceremony was covered by media outlets such as
SIBC, Solomon Star, Island Sun and One News.
Minister of Health Charles Sigoto and New Zealand
Mark Ramsden hand over the graduation certificates.
Sistas Savve Advisory Committee member Janet McBride donated
special cake from the Lime Lounge in Honiara
The Mamana Water Community women gave a traditional
Sistas Savve participant Sylvesta Sade is one of the
twenty women who for the past ten weeks have been trained in livelihood
and life skills, including education on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
At 35, Sylvesta is the mother of five children. When
asked what the most useful skill she has learned in the course of the
programme, Sylvesta has no doubt: “I’ve learned how to space my pregnancies and
how to avoid having more children,” she says, adding that, “I had never been to
a health clinic before I attended Sistas Savve.”
Since starting the Sistas Savve training, Sylvesta has
learned about the female anatomy and family planning methods, and has for the
first time visited her local SIPPA clinic (Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood
Association), where she received advice from trained health personnel. She is
now planning for her future, “I want to set up my own business dying and
selling lava lavas, and have my own stall at Central Market [the main market in
Statistics show that Solomon Islands women want fewer
children - the total fertility rate (TFR) is 4.6 children, compared to a wanted
TFR of 3.3. children per woman, which is an estimate of what the total
fertility rate would be if all unwanted births were avoided. In addition, only
27% of Solomon Islands women
use modern contraceptives compared to 75% in New Zealand.
One of the key goals of Sistas Savve is to provide women
such as Sylvesta with skills and knowledge that will improve their sexual and
reproductive health, and, as a result, give the women more agency and control
over their own lives.
name is Doris Dakei, and I am the Project Coordinator for Sistas Savve. I’ll be updating you regularly on our activities here in Honiara.
On International Women’s Day, Sistas Savve participants Irene Martha and Maria
Tuita gave public speeches about their experiences as part of Sistas Savve, the
skills they had learned during the training and how their participation was benefitting
their families and communities. As part of IWD, Sistas Savve participants also took
part in several team activities, including Tug of War and Volleyball. The women
were excited to come in first place, winning t-shirts sponsored by RAMSI!
now in the final week of training for Mamana Water Community, who will be
graduating on Friday, March 23rd. The last week has been spent learning
about saving schemes, to encourage the women to save the money they are making
by selling their products through small,
but regular, deposits. In fact, after the training session, the Mamana Water
women have now selected five women who will form the first savings club!
I look forward
to keeping you up-to-date on Sistas Savve!
Sistas Savve participants from Mamana Water Community and staff member Henrietta Mua (far right) march at International Women's Day in Honiara
Hundreds of women and girls gathered on March 8 at Rove Police Grounds in
Honiara to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), organized by the Solomon
Islands’ Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs. The theme of the event was ‘Connecting Girls,
Inspiring Futures, Involving, Participating, Empowering’.
As a project empowering
young women in Honiara, Sistas Savve had been invited to take part in the
events by setting up a Sistas Savve stall to showcase our products and raise
awareness, taking part in the IWD march, and giving two participants the
opportunity to give an awareness
raising speech about women’s empowerment and Sistas Savve.
It was a truly great day, and a great experiemce for the Sistas Savve
participants and staff!
is Henrietta Mua, and I am the Community Liaison Officer for Sistas Savve. I’m
excited to share some of the latest developments of Sistas Savve here in
of the ten-week programme, Sistas Savve participants learn to produce five
products, including baskets, dyed lava lavas and doormats, most of which use
recycled materials. The young women then choose one product to focus on and
create a business plan for.
week, the participants worked in groups to develop marketing and advertising strategies
for their products. Several of the women, who come from Mamana Water Community,
have had community members place orders for doormats and screen printed
sarongs, which is great!
between training, the Sistas Savve staff and participants are busy preparing
for International Women’s Day on March 8th, where we will set up a
stall at Rove Police Grounds in Honiara to exhibit our products and spread the
message of Sistas Savve.
different note, Sistas Savve has been specially selected by the Honiara City
Council and the Solomon Islands Environmental Health Department to exhibit their
sustainable products made with recycled materials as a part of the National Waste
Management Litter Campaign later this month – watch this space.
forward to keeping you updated on Sistas Savve going forward!
“Before I took
part in Sistas Savve, I was afraid to speak up. But now I know that I’m free to
talk to anybody.” Tina Ronson is 28 years old and the mother of two children –
Wisdom and Zedey. She was a part of the Sistas Savve pilot programme, which ran
in 2011 and worked with Kofiloko Community inHoniara,Solomon Islands.
She gave birth to her youngest child, Zedey, during the 10-week programme, but
returned to the training sessions only three days later. She even named Zedey
after a Sistas Savve staff member.
Tina has no doubt that Sistas Savve has
had a big impact on her life. Not just on herself, but on her children,
parents, and community. Following the training, Tina has found the strength to
leave an abusive relationship, and is now supporting her children and parents
with the income she makes weaving baskets and making banana chips – two skills
she learned during the course of the programme. “I sell the baskets for
SI$40-50 (NZ$7), and bags of banana chips for $SI12 (NZ$2) around my community
” Tina says. “If it weren’t for Sistas Savve, I would look only to my
prayers for comfort.”
story is a concrete example of how empowering a young women, while
creating spillover effects for her family and community, has the ability to
catalyze sustainable business opportunities in developing countries.