“The training is like cultivating a field. You look after it well and it will always be there for future generations to draw benefit from.” Anonymous
Many people who have experienced Stepping Stones, whether as individual participants, as trainers, as policy-makers or researchers, have described how they have been strongly marked by the experience in one way or another. In this section of the site, we have collected testimonies from a number of sources to give you a taste of the sort of things people have said. Do send us your own personal testimony if you like and we can add it to the site!
Click here to read some:
- Personal Testimonies
- Official Testimonies
- Testimonies from Practitioners
- Some 21st Birthday Sharings
Here are a few examples of the types of things people from all corners of the globe have said about their personal experience of going through the Stepping Stones process and the different ways in which their attitudes, behaviours and ways of seeing and thinking have been affected.
“The process was emotionally charged – we were talking about very deep issues. This wouldn’t have happened without the Stepping Stones methods. There were young women, widows, mothers with sick children, all taking part. People shared some deep experiences they had never told anyone before – it helped everyone to bond as a group.”
Rudo Chikukwa, Network of Zimbabwean Positive Women.
“The girls really love doing the games and drama. Many of them are already involved in unsafe sex; now they’re gaining not just knowledge, but the confidence and assertiveness to say no or let’s use a condom.”
Sarah Tweats, VSO teacher, Solwesi Technical Secondary School, Zambia
“I was always scared and ashamed to talk about these things with my husband. He didn’t want me to attend these meetings; he used to say that we discussed silly things and that after these meetings, women would rebel against their husbands…they would become bad women…. It has been different… I used to live in the darkness…now I am in the light”
A woman from an indigenous community participating in the workshop in Ecuador
“This manual has been of tremendous benefit and help to stakeholders, middle level managers and entire health workers in the district. It has increased the knowledge and proficiency of those health workers who were solely for homebase care and counselling unit for HIV/AIDS patients. “
Frederick Ofosu, Ministry of Health , Odumase-Krobo, Ghana.
“I learned that HIV positive women are the extreme expression of gender inequities in sexuality and health.”
Dr Ninfa Leon Jimenez, Quito, Ecuador To read the rest of Dr Leon’s testimony, please click here.
Stepping Stones is becoming increasingly recognised by a wide range of organisations:
“For every worn, rain-splattered copy of Stepping Stones that is in circulation, there are thousands of people that have benefited from it. This enduring manual has been passed around, copied, memorized and acted out in countless communities, who are hungry for its clear information and empowering, learning-centred approach to HIV and AIDS education. As a result, communities have been mobilized, lives saved and hope restored. “
Laura van Vuuren, Medical Teams International, Seattle, USA
“One of the most valuable recent additions to the quite scanty written materials available in the area of community mobilization. UNAIDS has included this resource package among the “key documents” recommended for use in innovative community mobilization programmes.”
Noerine Kaleeba. Community Mobilization Adviser, UNAIDS.
“Stepping Stones has helped ActionAid India to deepen and strengthen our work in the area of HIV and AIDS. The adapted Indian version of Stepping Stones is now available in seven Indian languages as well as English. ActionAid India has been using Stepping Stones to break the silence about sexuality and HIV among development workers, NGO staff and communities; to create more acceptance and facilitate the rights of vulnerable groups such as people living with HIV and AIDS, men who have sex with men, and injecting drug users; and to address issues of patriarchy and related issues which lead to HIV and AIDS amongst women. The changes started by Stepping Stones have created ripples across the country, and the demand for Stepping Stones is growing.”
Christy Abraham, ActionAid India, Bangalore, India
“Here in Latin America and the Caribbean, SFH materials are one of the most effective tools we have to link the African experience of the AIDS pandemic with the innovative work of local communities. Plan International, with support from UNICEF and others, has done a brilliant job of adapting the Stepping Stones package, in Spanish, enabling us to reach affected communities, especially young people, so they can tell their stories and share their insights.”
Mark Connolly, UNICEF, Panama City, Panama
Testimonies from Practitioners
Many trainers and facilitators have also spoken about the impact of Stepping Stones that they have witnessed first hand, both upon participants and upon themselves. Others have spoken of new insights and understanding gained. Some examples are provided below:
” have seen conservative, authoritarian men of the armed forces (Uganda) mellow down to pleasant smiling change agents within a period of only seven days in Stepping Stones training programmes [in ActionAid Soroti 2001] This is not solely the responsibility of the facilitators but also the dynamics within the peer group”
Baron Oron, Trainer, Uganda
“Men have realised that their wives are partners to them and not slaves”
Baron Oron, Trainer, Uganda