Tawi-Tawi's population is rapidly expanding, posting an annual growth rate of 5.53% per year. Socio-economic variables show that poverty is prevalent in the province. The annual per capita food threshold is USD 205 (NSCB 2006), much lower than regional and national figures (USD 215 and USD 209, respectively). But the percentage of subsistence among the population in the same year was 40.6%, higher than regional and national levels (27.5% and 14.6%, respectively).
A key strategy to reduce poverty in areas where population growth has huge impacts on coastal and marine resources is to facilitate the improved delivery of basic services while promoting the sustainable use of coastal and marine resources. Access to Family Planning (FP) and Reproductive Health (RH) services are hampered by inadequate support facilities, geographic remoteness and the cost of travel. The availability of FP/ RH services is also linked to low demand, which in turn, is correlated with the lack of understanding on FP/ RH, thus the rising impacts of Tawi-Tawi's ballooning population on food security, livelihoods, and incomes.
The PHE project conducted a series of PHE classes in selected sites. The project was able to reach 146 young mothers from Sitangkai and Languyan, 106 from Barangays Likud and Dambilah in the Turtle Islands and 85 in Languyan. WWF was also able to reach out to the youth and conducted classes to educate them on FP and CRM. Sixty-five youths attended classes in Sitangkai and 35 more in Languyan. The PHE class aims to educate the youth on the importance of responsible parenthood and family planning, a major driver of impacts for coastal resources.