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.”
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
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Sistas Savve's new Community Liaison Officer, Jenny, visiting the
women of Mamana Water Community
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 theSolomon
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
- 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.
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.
is it important to empower young women in theSolomon
hasa 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 thatit 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