Monday, March 19, 2012

Sylvesta's Story: Learning How to Plan a Family

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 Honiara]” Sylvesta says.  

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.

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