Read about how Stepping Stones supports the movement towards peace and prosperity being led by the people of Karamoja, Uganda and other key updates
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Stepping Stones adapts to meet new challenges!

Stepping Stones is always adapting! In this newsletter we bring some details about how and where some of these changes are taking place. For example, about how Stepping Stones is leading the way against the proliferation of small arms in communities in Karamoja, Uganda. By sharing these developments with you we hope to bring the Global Community of Stepping Stones users together, to create a bigger pool of knowledge and experience for us all. 

Nell Osborne, E-Communications Consultant, Stepping Stones Feedback

Stepping Stones Photo Competition: The Winner!

Many thanks to everyone that entered! The winning photo was taken by Martin Obwar Opondo from the Institute of Preventative Health in Kenya. The three runner up winners are: Yacouba Banse, Association Clairvoyance, Burkina Faso, Michael Androsov, "Bread For the World", Altai Region, Russia and Alesi Naroko, The Ministry of Health, Fiji Islands. 

To see the winning entry and all other photo entries, visit our Stepping Stones Forum.

We Love to Hear from You!

We love to know about all of the great things that you are doing with Stepping Stones around the globe, from Russia to South Africa and Fiji. Please send us updates, reports and photos with news about your organisation and projects. You can do this by emailing Nell Osborne at nell @ We look forward to hearing from you!

Are you Conducting Stepping Stones Trainings? Let us know!

We want to know if you are running - or if you are planning to run - a Stepping Stones training
with your organisation. This is to help us track where and when programmes are happening around the world. We also have free adaptation guidelines and other materials which can support you.

Stepping Stones News from Around the World

The Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COWLHA) in Malawi has received funding from the National AIDS Commission (NAC) to implement a project that will build on the research on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) that COWLHA conducted in 2012. This will include the further use of Stepping Stones methodology to address the intersection of HIV and violence against women from a gendered framework. This approach has already proved highly successful. Watch our documentary about the impact of Stepping Stones through the work of COWLHA in the community of Malingunde to find out more!  Seeking Safety: Stepping Stones in Malawi


Stepping Stones with Children.

This is an adaptation of the Stepping Stones Training Programme for use with children ages 5-14, their carers and their service providers. This project is funded by Comic Relief. It is being implemented by local organisation, PASADA and led by Salamander Associates Gill Gordon and Florence Kilonzo, who are working closely with our partner organisation, PASADA in Tanzania, and other colleagues, including Willbrord Manyama who has written for us below. Much of the Appreciative Inquiry work has been inspired by advice from family psychiatrist Dr Elspeth McAdam, to whom we are most grateful.

What is Appreciative Inquiry?
And how is it being used in the Stepping Stones with Children Adaptation in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Willbrord Manyama, one of the facilitators supporting the Stepping Stones with Children pilot workshops, tells us why he believes in the Appreciative inquiry Approach and how it is being applied to Stepping Stones to transform difficulties and troubles into purposeful and life-giving possibilities.

What is Appreciative Inquiry? And how it is being used in Stepping Stones With Children Adaptation in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania?

Willbrord Manyama, Stepping Stones Trainer, tells us...
"Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is strength based methodology. AI looks for what works and life-inspiring moments. It is a process that brings forth people’s competence and creates energy and opportunities for the future. Looking for what people are good at makes them feel competent and confident. Living this way creates so much more energy, fun and love for life - not only amongst children but also within the family and in the community.
With AI we ask lots of questions; not just any sort of question, but questions that inquire into what children are proud of, what has created energy, joy and life and then asking what skills and abilities have been used in achieving this. By having this sort of conversation, using appreciative language, we can generate trusting, hope-full and energized relationships, which create possibilities and opportunities for joint shared futures.  Through AI; we look at a human being, adult or a child, as an individual with experiences, skills, potentials and abilities that can be harnessed and developed further to reach their full potential.
Appreciative Inquiry in the Stepping Stones with Children Adaptation will therefore feature greatly in the following:
1) Appreciative language
2) Abilities, skills and values
3) Dreaming
4) Asking questions
1) Appreciative language
Words have the gift of creating positive visual images. We therefore have a moral responsibility to support people in appreciative, growth-giving ways. Using appreciative language and asking questions about what children and their caregivers are good at or proud of, based on what they have done, means that we value the best in people. This gives them genuine dignity and respect. Looking for what children are good at makes them feel competent and confident. An example: Appreciative language helps caregivers to treat children with dignity and respect. When children are treated with respect, they likewise treat adults and their peers with respect. This implies creation of better relationships and harmony among children and caregivers; and children among peers. Children grow through appreciative language; they smile and feel valued. Appreciative language is generative and opens more opportunities for growth and dialogue. 
2). Abilities, skills and values
By spotting attributes in others you can help people to appreciate themselves, giving them a fuller sense of their identity.
In many cultures, children’s abilities often go unnoticed as children are always expected to behave well - their good behaviour is taken for granted and rarely brought forth in language by commenting on it.  The AI approach allows children and their caregivers to spot and develop abilities, skills and values. These then become resources that they can use in improving their lives from a younger age and as they grow into adulthood. When abilities and skills are identified or spotted, they become resources and develop in future interactions. They open up more possibilities and become part of our identities
3). Dreaming
Dreaming creates energy and motivation that encourages people to go forward towards that direction. Through dreaming people are more likely to be successful in their lives. It is important to help children to dream so that they do things in the present that will help them to create the future that they want for themselves. An example: when children study hard at the present moment, they are more likely to have a better life in the future.
4). Asking questions 
Questions allow us to discover the world as others see it, so making it a richer and more interesting place. They allow us to be curious about others and everything we see. We get to know others and understand them more truly. Questions such as who?, when?, what?, where?, how come?, are tools that we use in AI approaches. Caregivers of children get the chance to learn and practice this approach in order for them to support and care for their children."

Many thanks to Willbrord Manyama for his contribution!
To understand more about this methodology or the Stepping Stones With Children Adaptation, you can contact us at nell @


Stepping Stones and Creating Futures

Stepping Stones and Creating Futures, led by HEARD, Gender and Health Unit (MRC) and Project Empower, has built on the work of the Stepping Stones training manual by combining it with a livelihoods programme. This pilot intervention was designed to build gender equality and economic power for young people living in informal settlements in South Africa. We would like to share this news with you because we think it's an exciting development which helps to consolidate the long term changes, which Stepping Stones seeks in communities. Primary Investigators for this intervention were Andy Gibbs of HEARD and Rachel Jewkes of the S African MRC This project was funded by Joint Gender Fund, SIDA and MRC. A brief that presents the results from a comprehensive evaluation into the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures Project can be seen here.

Mandla's Story of Change

Mandla is just one of the participants from the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures intervention.
At the start of the Stepping Stones workshops Mandla only had temporary work at a restaurant at a shopping centre. He openly admitted to being violent towards his girlfriend as well as to drinking a lot – leading, he said, to fighting with other men, and sex with other women.

Three months after the intervention finished, Andy Gibbs went back as part of the project team and discussed how his life had changed.

Mandla continued to work at the restaurant and still struggled with the low pay that the job offered. However, he had started to think about how he would spend the money he received from his job – this included changing banks – from ABSA to Capitec because of the lower fees charged by the bank. This, alongside more strategic thinking about his spending, had led him to change his money habits, with a greater focus on saving money and future planning:

Interviewer: what did you learn from this programme around making money or surviving?
Mandla: Savings, yes
Interviewer: what did you do with that knowledge?
Mandla: that helped me a lot because like with the transport money, like when I would receive some money I would drink it, or send all of it to the baby mother, or buy food and end up suffering and end up asking or borrowing money from people, but now I can be able to budget that this one is for transport, for food, and the baby...before I used to do things recklessly, drink alcohol and come back home around 12am or 1am while I would be going to work that morning, and I would go to work and get warnings, but Project Empower showed me how to do things

Mandla also outlined how the intervention had changed his relationship with his girlfriend for the better. Specifically he noted that the intervention had led him to become more focused on building his relationship with his main girlfriend:

Mandla: this program has helped me a lot like workwise I’m holding on to it, and the person I am dating I have committed myself to her and other things are progressive and my child is growing well

Mandla's girlfriend also noticed the changes in him and their relationship improved as a result. It included the fact that he had stopped cheating on her. While Mandla is certainly still not perfect – he recognised that he still drank and stayed out late - but he feels that overall things have improved in his life after attending the intervention. Both his friends and family have noticed this change:

Interviewer: how does your partner, family, and friends respond to you change?
Mandla: I would say my family is happy because they can see I am behaving the way they were hoping I would
Interviewer how do your friends respond to your change?
Mandla: they are shocked that I have just changed out of nowhere, because this other one said thank you Mandla I never thought you would change so easily.

By combining Stepping Stones and a livelihoods project, Creating Futures, appears to have made a profound positive impact on Mandla’s life and in turn his girlfriend.
 (Names changed for reasons of privacy). Thank you to Andy Gibbs of HEARD for sharing this powerful story and photos with us!


Stepping Stones to peace and prosperity through reducing violence and conflict in Karamoja sub region

Stepping Stones for peace and prosperity in Karamoja with Baron Oron of NESSA and his colleagues, who are also the implementers, working with the World Bank funded LOGICA Project and the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University. Co-authors of the new adaptation are Germina Sebuwufu, Baron Oron and Alice Welbourn.

How is Stepping Stones supporting the movement to peace and prosperity in Karamoja, Uganda?

Here we present some feedback from project participants from each of the four Stepping Stones peer groups (younger men, younger women, older men, older women) about the ways that Stepping Stones is supporting them towards peace and prosperity. 


The Stepping Stones programme worked with four peer groups in the communities in the Karamoja sub region, following the "fission and fusion" method shown in the diagram below. This allowed the programme to address the diverse issues faced by all the different members of the community.

Testimonies from different Nadukae Community Member Peer Groups

Older Men

An older man (a Chairman) said that one of the participants from the older men’s group brought an Ox-plough to his garden to help him to cultivate his garden, but on asking how much he needed for the work, the participant said that the knowledge he has got from Stepping Stones led him to realize that there is need to help one another as a sign of love for each other, so, he refused the money and said he was just helping the Chairman.

Younger Men

One of the younger men testified that his fighting character has completely been humbled by Stepping Stones Trainings since he has learnt that even if somebody confronts or manipulates him to fight, he does not fight since Stepping Stones has taught him the benefits of taking a peaceful approach in such situations that involve conflicts. 

Older Women
On the older women’s group, the participants said that they are happy that Stepping Stones came to their community since it has opened their brains by teaching them how to save and plan for their future since they have learnt these from the branches of the ‘Tree of Life’ that talks about their dreams yet they never knew that creating a dream helps a person foresee the life they would like to lead in times to come.

Younger Women

Younger female participants said that this organization (Stepping Stones) has helped them a lot because their men used to quarrel with them whenever they came home, but nowadays, they talk to them in a friendly way and also help children to tie the goats so there is shared responsibility in their homes right now.

The trainings proved very successful with large numbers of people attending and completing all of the sessions. Preliminary results show highly positive outcomes including reduced violence and better communications between both families and communities. A comprehensive project evaluation will be released in the coming months but it is hoped that this adaptation could be used with other communities throughout East and Central Africa. For more information about the adaptation, contact Baron Oron from NESSA at baron1968ug @ (written like this to avoid spam).

Stepping Stones Film Projects

April of this year saw film maker and independent training consultant, Dominique Chadwick, and Salamander consultant, Nell Osborne, go to Malawi to collaborate with COWLHA on a film project. You can see both the outcomes of this trip including a documentary about the impact of Stepping Stones and videos from a participatory filming training workshop. Both these films are available on DVD with an accompanying booklet. To request a copy, write to nell @

Click here to see the Stepping Stones webpage dedicated to the participatory videos (and the questions designed to accompany them) for more information about the process and how you can use them in your work.

Seeking Safety: Stepping Stones in Malawi

“I used to abuse my wife when she went to the hospital to collect her ARV treatment because she came back late and I didn’t like it. I stopped the abuse after COWLHA members came to my house to counsel me that what I was doing was violence" 

This short film documents the impact of Stepping Stones on reducing gender based violence through the work of Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COWLHA) in the community of Malingunde, Malawi. The film highlights the importance of developing good gender relationships through negotiations around money, medication and condom use in the context of HIV, gender based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

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