Stepping Stones and Creating Futures

Project Title

Stepping Stones and Creating Futures

The Organisation

Project Empower and the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD) of the University of KwaZulu-Natal

Geographic Location

Informal settlements across the eThekwini (greater Durban) area, South Africa.

Summary of Intervention / Research

Stepping Stones and Creating Futures aims to decrease the rate of intimate partner violence in urban informal settlements in South Africa. Three hour sessions are held twice a week over a two and a half month period with participants aged 18 – 24 years. The sessions are peer-led, interactive and participatory, and participants reflect on gender norms, conflict in relationships and developing livelihoods strategies.

Promising results from a formative pilot with 232 young people in 2012, which reported that after one year participants had higher earnings, more gender equitable attitudes and women reported less experience of intimate partner violence, have led to this randomised control trial (RCT) to be conducted by HEARD, enrolling 1,360 participants.

Alongside a quantitative evaluation the RCT includes an integrated cost effectiveness analysis of the intervention and a qualitative process evaluation to explore processes of change and barriers to change.

Major Timeframes

The project will run over 3 years and end-line results are expected in the last quarter of 2018

Project Curriculum

  • Stepping Stones Stepping Stones

    Stepping Stones is a workshop series designed as a tool to help promote sexual health, improve psychological well-being and prevent HIV. The workshops address questions of gender, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, gender violence, communication and relationship skills. In doing so they recognise that our sexual lives are embedded in a broader context of our relationships with our  partners, families and the community or society in which we live.

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  • Creating Futures - Facilitator Manual Creating Futures - Facilitator Manual

    Creating Futures is a programme designed to enhance the ability of young people to think more critically in appraising opportunities and challenges related to their lives and livelihoods. It was developed for implementation among young people (18-24 years) living in urban informal settlements in South Africa. Creating Futures is designed to be facilitated by trained peer facilitators in a participatory style, encouraging participants to seek and develop relevant livelihoods for themselves through their own learning.

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Key contacts

Laura Washington, Director, Project Empower




Dr. Andrew Gibbs, Principal Investigator, SAMRC/HEARD