Stepping Stones Information Form

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Who it is for

The Stepping Stones training package has a human-rights approach, based on the understanding that we all share certain challenges in our lives, which the package aims to help us address. While the principle of non-discrimination is fundamental to Stepping Stones, the package can also be used to focus on the specific needs of particular groups, as discussed below.


Working with the whole community

From the outset,  Stepping Stones takes the standpoint that we are all affected by HIV, its causes and its consequences, and that therefore the only effective response to the virus is going to be a collective one. In adopting its human rights approach from the start, it is careful not to distinguish between those who are already living with HIV and those who may not be. Instead, it aims to break down the barriers between “us” and “them” which many HIV prevention programmes still inadvertently promote. A sizeable number of community members in many countries where Stepping Stones is used are already living with HIV or have relatives with HIV. People with HIV often feel isolated and stigmatised by such programmes, especially if they just concentrate on how not to acquire the virus. It is highly important, therefore, to cultivate and nurture this inclusive approach to this work, so that everybody feels cared for, respected and valued by their community, no matter what their status may be.

Stepping Stones workshop facilitators invite the whole community, from the age of about 15 years up, to attend. These include the men and women, old and young, who work in the separate peer groups, and then in larger plenary sessions. (See How for more on this.) This helps community members to develop a greater social capital in relation to these issues than there may have been before across the community, and also can develop young people’s own sense of connectedness, not only with their own family members but also with others in the community.


Working with specific groups of people

Stepping Stones was designed originally for use with people in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. However the process is adaptable and has been widely used now in many different contexts. You can download Reports of Stepping Stones experiences with a wide range of different groups. You can look at the long list of different contexts of its use on the Resources page. Please also view our newsletters.


So far we have heard of its use with the following groups:

  • People in urban communities (eg South Africa, the Philippines, India)
  • Primary school children (eg Tanzania) and their teachers (eg Malawi) – See also our new daughter programme – Stepping Stones with Children 
  • Secondary school children (eg Zambia, Malawi)
  • University students (eg the University of Namibia)
  • Soldiers (eg Uganda)
  • People in prison (including Zimbabwe, Morocco, India)
  • Students in teacher training colleges (eg Uganda)
  • Groups of people living with HIV (eg Zimbabwe, Zambia)
  • Christians (Catholics and Protestants), Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus (many countries)
  • People of other beliefs (many countries)
  • People recovering from disasters or emergencies, using Stepping Stones to help themselves reconstruct their communities (eg Mozambique, Burundi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone)
  • People as young as 10 years old (eg Uganda)
  • People with disabilities (eg Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe)
  • People who use drugs (various countries)
  • People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (various countries)
  • Women who do sex work (India and elsewhere)


If you have heard of other people with whom the package has been used, or would like to hear more about its use with the people described above, or would like to adapt the programme for a group listed above or another group, please contact us.