Thursday, May 24, 2012

In the Media: Solomon Star features MB4 women

The Solomon Star, one of the most widely-read papers in Solomon Islands, recently feautured the second group of women to receive training from MB4 community in an article!

You can read the full article here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

“Now, Me Savve Everything": Interview with a Sistas Savve Graduate

Maria Tuita from Mamana Water Community graduated from Sistas Savve in February 2012. We caught up with Maria to talk about her life after Sistas Savve.  

“I used to sell ice blocks at Honiara Central Market, but I’m now making doormats instead because they make me much more money, at 80 Solomon Islands dollars a mat.” Maria says.

In addition to selling her crafts, Maria was especially invited by Honiara City Council to take part in an intensive three-month landscape beautification course, after which she will receive a certificate in gardening and landscaping. She hopes to use this education to get a job in Honiara’s formal economy.

Maria also has a longer term strategy and goal: “I have joined the savings club that we [the Mamana graduates] have started. My hope is to earn enough money to build my own house.” 

Maria has been sharing her newly acquired skills and knowledge with other women in Mamana Water Community: “A lot of women have approached me about the product skills, but also about getting health information, and I’ve shared my knowledge about family planning and the IEC materials I got through Sistas Savve.”

Following the training, Maria has visited the Sippa (Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association) clinic for the first time in her life, saying that, “Before, I was frightened of Sippa, and thought that it was only a place for sick people. Now I know that you can just go for check-ups.”

Maria is feeling more confident about herself and public speaking “After Sistas Savve, I am feeling braver about speaking out. For International Women’s Day, I spoke publically for the first time in my life. I also volunteered to do the opening prayer [at the beautification course], which I would never have done before. It felt really good.” She continues, “the rest of our community has been surprised because the women have been speaking out more.

Wrapping up, Maria says that “the course has been a big change for me.” and ends in Pidgin, saying with a smile, “Now, me savve everything.” 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Handmade and one-of-a-kind

With their doormats coming along beautifully the Sistas Savve participants turned their attention to wood and fabric art, under the guidance of facilitator Joan Rowena. Joan brought in her own carved boards and showed the women how to pin the fabric to keep it in place. They then learnt how to paint along the board to bring out the carved pattern on the fabric. The results? Stunning! Watch this space for videos of the women in action and a very special interview with Joan.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Visit to Mamana Water

The women from Mamana Water Community in their meeting space.

Last Thursday, Sistas Savve’s Doris (Project Coordinator), Jenny (Community Liaison Officer) and Penny (volunteer) visited the Mamana Water graduates to talk about opportunities for the future, including what type of equipment and support would be most useful for the next phase of their community’s development. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Meet Jenny, our new Community Liaison Officer

Sistas Savve's new Community Liaison Officer, Jenny, visiting the women of Mamana Water Community 

Jenny Rachel Kaniko has just joined Sistas Savve as our new Community Liaison Officer, and will be providing ongoing support for our graduates, such as looking for job opportunities, and supporting the women as they build out their businesses.

Why did you decide to join the Sistas Savve team?

Sistas Savve addresses the inequalities and challenges faced by women in the Solomon Islands by giving them an opportunity to unlock their potential. I’ve joined the Sistas Savve team because my passion is reaching out to young women who have been less fortunate than myself. I want to be part of influencing young women and single mothers who are capable, but just haven’t been given a chance. It’s a real privilege to provide a second chance to these women who have been pushed aside by the system.

- What is your background?
I am a qualified English and Social Studies teacher, and have been a teacher the last twelve years, teaching forms one to six. I decided to change my career path after completing the Olafou (Praxis) Training in Youth, Community Development and Leadership studies. After obtaining my Olafou Pasifika diploma, I wanted to put into practice what I had learnt; which I did with NGOs by collecting data, digital storytelling, liaising with communities and stakeholders and mentoring young women. I enjoy doing it and see it as a job, but as a lifestyle.

 - What appealed to you about Sistas Savve?
I would say that Sistas Savve is more effective than other development programmes in the sense that we don’t just educate the women, but also build a relationship with the Sistas Savve graduates and walk alongside them. We in a way take part in the graduates’ journeys. The Sistas Savve training is very practical, realistic, motivational and strength-based. It ensures that we bring out the best in the women, and produce concrete results post-training.

 - Why is it important to empower young women in the Solomon Islands?
Solomon Islands has a high level of adolescent pregnancy, high maternal mortality rates, low use of contraceptives, and high levels of gender based violence, so there is a great need for programmes that educate young women on these issues. I think that it is very important to empower young women, because it will help them to contribute to their families, and communities, and to support themselves. Through Sistas Savve, the women become aware of their potential, and that they can contribute positively.