Stepping Stones Feedback Newsletter, September 2016
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Stepping Stones Feedback Newsletter, September 2016
Announcing the Launch of Stepping Stones With Children And Revised And Updated Parent Manual Stepping Stones And Stepping Stones Plus
Welcome to the September 2016 newsletter. We have news of our two new publications to share with you. These are published by our new publisher, Practical Action Publishing.
Stepping Stones & Stepping Stones Plus
The wholly revised and updated manual brings all the contents up to date with the most recent scientific research, whilst also ensuring that the environment of care, love, respect and support needed for us all to thrive – and not just survive – is enhanced.
Alice Welbourn, author of the original Stepping Stones manual, has created a fully revised and updated version of the original Stepping Stones programme and its supplement, Stepping Stones Plus. This wholly revised and updated new edition is designed with and for adolescents and adults.
 
As you know, people with HIV can now live long, healthy and productive lives as long as they have timely access to medication when they need it, combined with care, love, respect and support. Yet these last four elements are needed more than ever in order to support people with HIV to stay healthy, safe and well. The original Stepping Stones and subsequently Stepping Stones Plus were manuals that grew out of a need to counter the prejudice and fear surrounding HIV, and to foster strong and mutually respectful positive relationships, free from violence and without sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or unplanned pregnancies.
Recent research has shown clearly that violence against women not only increases women’s vulnerability to HIV by a factor of 1.5. Gender-based violence (GBV) also increases hugely for many women living with HIV after diagnosis.  
Stepping Stones is recognized by WHO, UNAIDS, USAID and many others as one of the few global interventions to reduce intimate partner violence, now recognized as a key cause and consequence of HIV for women globally. The wholly revised and updated manual brings all the contents up to date with the most recent scientific research, whilst also ensuring that the environment of care, love, respect and support needed for us all to thrive – and not just survive – is enhanced.

Recent research has shown clearly that violence against women not only increases women’s vulnerability to HIV by a factor of 1.5[i]. Gender-based violence (GBV) also increases hugely for many women living with HIV after diagnosis. Whilst some women may experience intimate partner violence (IPV) for the first time upon diagnosis, those women who have experienced it already may find that it increases. Many women also experience GBV from wider family members, neighbours, the workplace, or faith groups and from health care settings, often for the first time, after diagnosis[ii]. What is more, for many women who are diagnosed with HIV, mental health issues are also huge as a result of the shock of their diagnosis[iii].
 
Now combined into a single manual and wholly revised and updated, Stepping Stones & Stepping Stones Plus, appearing together in one volume address many of these challenges. The training package is designed, as before to help trainers and community members organize a workshop, with 5 extra sessions, bringing it to 23 sessions in total. The training is still with young and older women and men – adolescents and adults - separately and together, to explore their social, sexual and psychological needs, to overcome their communication blocks, and to practise ways of enriching their relationships. The new sessions focus on issues like the female condom, male medical circumcision for infant boys and adult men, peri-natal care for young and older women, relationships with wider family members, with faith communities, what they should expect from supportive health staff and more. As before, the workshop sessions help individuals, peers (both young people and adults) and their communities move step by step to work together to build healthy relationships.
 
[i] Violence Against Women: Global Picture Health Response. (2013). 1st ed. [ebook] WHO. Available at: http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/violence/VAW_infographic.pdf?ua=1 [Accessed 7 May 2015].
 
[ii] Orza, L., Bewley, S., Chung, C., Crone, E., Nagadya, H., Vazquez, M. and Welbourn, A. (2015). ‘‘Violence. Enough already’’: findings from a global participatory survey among women living with HIV. Journal of the International AIDS Society, [online] 18(Suppl 5). Available at: http://www.jiasociety.org/index.php/jias/article/view/20285 [Accessed 1 Dec. 2015].
 
[iii] Orza, L., Bewley, S., Logie, C., Crone, E., Moroz, S., Strachan, S., Vazquez, M. and Welbourn, A. (2015). How does living with HIV impact on women’s mental health? Voices from a global survey. Journal of the International AIDS Society, [online] 18(Suppl 5). Available at: http://www.jiasociety.org/index.php/jias/article/view/20289 [Accessed 1 Dec. 2015].
Stepping Stones with Children
Lead author and associate of the Salamander Trust Gill Gordon, in collaboration with partners from PASADA, Tanzania have created a manual for use with children and their caregivers, funded by Comic Relief.
The three peer groups sometimes work together, or come together to share what they have learned and to negotiate new ways of relating to one another.
Stepping Stones with Children equips organizations and individuals with materials with which they can engage children affected by HIV and their caregivers, using powerful exercises to convey information, explore norms, discover their abilities, and individually and jointly create stronger ways of being. The training sessions cover a wide range of topics with a gendered, child-rights and positive focused framework including psycho-social wellbeing and resilience, assertiveness, bereavement, HIV testing, living well with HIV, preventing sexual abuse, and supporting survivors of abuse. They cover issues facing all young people growing up as sexual beings, which might be particularly challenging for those affected by HIV.  Most activities are carried out with the participants working in their three separate peer groups of younger children (5-8 year olds), older children (9-14 year olds) and caregivers. The three peer groups sometimes work together, or come together to share what they have learned and to negotiate new ways of relating to one another. They are encouraged to talk about and practise what they learnt between sessions. Stepping Stones with Children follows on from Stepping Stones & Stepping Stones Plus, which are training materials widely used in workshops with older youth and adults affected by HIV. Available in English and Swahili.

More information about Stepping Stones with Children and Stepping Stones & Stepping Stones Plus can be found here.
 
What happens during a Training Of Trainers Workshop?
By Glory Mlaki and Laura Pulteney

 

The inaugural East African training of trainers workshop took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Angelina Namiba.

The first training of trainers workshop for Stepping Stones with Children took place from 7th – 18th March, hosted in the beautiful grounds of the Consolata Mission Centre in Dar es Salaam, coordinated for us all by PASADA. Thirty participants from ACORD Tanzania, ACORD Uganda and ACORD Kenya, Kenyan Institute of Preventive Health and the Salamander Trust were invited to learn how to facilitate using the new manual. Six trainers from PASADA, Kimara Peer Counseling Dar-es-Salaam and the Salamander Trust co-ordinated the training. 
The workshop sessions (27 out of 29 of them) were conducted with three peer groups, simulating how these workshops would take place in a real community setting.
Participants began by getting to know each other and choosing a ‘Stepping Stones name’; an adjective describing one of their strengths or abilities, put in front of their first name. They were then organised into three groups, either ‘Happy’, ‘Healthy’ or ‘Safe’, before being put into facilitator pairs, with whom they were to work with closely throughout the two weeks. The workshop sessions (27 out of 29 of them) were conducted with three peer groups, simulating how these workshops would take place in a real community setting. These peer groups consisted of young children (5-8 years old), older children (9-14 years old) and their Caregivers. When participants weren’t facilitating, they took on the role of a 5-8 or 9-14 year old or a Caregiver, depending on which trainers they were working with.
 
The six trainers worked in pairs. Pfiraeli Kiwia of Kimara Peer Counselling along with Gill Gordon, lead author of Stepping Stones with Children and associate of the Salamander Trust, and Elisius Mkolokoti of the Pasada Counselling Department, worked with the 5-8 group. Willbrord Manyama of Kimara Peer Counselling and Florence Kilonzo of the Salamander Trust worked with the 9-14 group. Nelson Chiziza of PASADA and Alice Welbourn of the Salamander Trust worked with the Caregivers. The trainers were very supportive, providing encouragement, positive approaches to guidance and innovative comments to aid participants throughout the training. We had a fantastic set of trainers: if you want to hear more about them, please contact us by email.
Participants worked hard to prepare and deliver multiple exercises on three different topics each day.
The sessions covered a wide range of topics with a gendered and child rights focused framework. This included psycho-social well-being and resilience, assertiveness, bereavement, HIV testing, living well with HIV, puberty and sexuality, and preventing sexual abuse and supporting survivors of abuse. Participants worked hard to prepare and deliver multiple exercises on three different topics each day. These had to be delivered clearly in order to guide participants to use active methods for exploring issues and discovering ways to use their strengths, to highlight the key message and allow for understanding. The exercises had to be tailored to suit each age-group. Participants demonstrated innovation, love, charming high integrity, creating a cooperative environment, encouraging the participation of the ‘children’ and ‘caregivers’.
 
They also did extremely well in facilitating certain topics which inevitably aroused strong emotions, such as bereavement and identifying sexual abuse in children. Nevertheless, they found the strength to continue leading the exercises, and from the first few days there was a palpable sense of strength, unity and admiration amongst the group as a whole. Many new friendships were formed…Furthermore they were very cooperative and enhanced team work and friendship even outside the class hours.
 
On one evening there was a film screening of films made by child and adult participants in the original Stepping Stones with Children pilot project. These portrayed the great role play and film-making skills of the children and adults involved, but the story lines were also sobering. This was a reminder that everything that had been learnt would be put into practice with real 5-14’s and their caregivers in our own communities. It also demonstrated that even young children are aware of issues which are regarded as ‘adult’ such as sex, and pornography.

During another evening, Angelina Namiba, who has written about her experience of the workshop below, gave an inspiring presentation outlining ways in which parents can disclose their HIV status to their children, based on her own personal experience.
 
Despite the time constraints, there was just enough time to quickly celebrate four birthdays, share four celebratory cakes, visit the Kariakoo market, and travel to the beach. On the last evening, a celebration was organised to conclude the two week training session. At one point all thirty six participants and trainers joined hands to sing and dance the Hokey Cokey[1]. The energy, atmosphere of elation, and positivity felt in that room will hopefully expand and be felt in the communities where Stepping Stones with Children is now to be implemented.
 
Read on to hear about participants’ experiences of the workshop!
 

[1] The Hokey Cokey is a British folk dance.
“At a personal level I must say that the workshop has transformed my life, my attitude towards HIV and AIDS, STIs and other related societal issues,” 
Loserian Maoi, Participant, Dar.
Glory Mlaki: My Experience
This has really opened my mind on how I should treat my own children at home and support other community members in how to protect children from harm and violence, treating children with love and care and providing sensitive but important information in a simple way.
Before undergoing the workshop, my initial thoughts were that the manual was quite big, composed of a lot of sessions, exercises and sensitive topics which might be difficult to present to our Africa communities, especially for children aged 5-14 years. However, after going through the first few sessions I began to see that it was not as complex and the exercises were very interesting due to the methodologies applied and its participatory nature, building on the support of our colleagues and trainers.
 
I have also come to realize that the manual is very relevant and important to our daily life in our family and the community at large. The manual is a very powerful tool which will be very useful in dealing with communicating issues between adults and children, particularly on what we see as sensitive issues, for example the topics of  HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and puberty. Although the training lasted two weeks, I have acquired a great knowledge and skills on being friendly, building good relationships with children as well as those living with HIV. I am better able to communicate and work with children, especially in responding to sensitive issues and providing correct information in a simple and friendly manner. I have been able to experience new skills and knowledge on how to positively discuss sexual and reproductive health together with HIV.
My sincere appreciation to Salamander Trust and PASADA for making me part of this very useful training.
Glory works with ACORD Tanzania.
Loserian Maoi: My Experience

The Stepping Stones with Children training of facilitators workshop in Dar es-salaam was one of the most interesting and result-oriented training I have ever attended. I must appreciate that the workshop was very intense and interactive. At a personal level I must say that the workshop has transformed my life, my attitude towards HIV and AIDS, STIs and other related societal issues. The Stepping Stones with Children approach is vital to all development workers who work with children on HIV and other related fields. It’s a culturally sensitive approach as it puts participants into different age groups to make it easier for them to interact and discuss issues freely. The workshop environment was conducive and the trainers were superb. I am determined to use the skills I have acquired to help my community to tackle some of the pressing problems associated with negative attitudes and behavior towards HIV and AIDS.
Loserian works with ACORD Tanzania.
Angelina Namiba: My Experience
The training was intense and we all worked really hard. However, it was an experience that I will truly value for many years. I left the workshop feeling I had benefitted greatly both personally and professionally.
As someone who is passionate about working with communities of women, men and young people living with HIV, I was very humbled, honoured and very excited to be asked to participate in the Stepping Stones with Children training in Dar es Salaam. This was also especially so as my experience has largely been around working with communities in the UK. I was therefore very much looking forward to training with my counterparts from Kenya (where I am from); Uganda and Tanzania.The training was intense and we all worked really hard. However, it was an experience that I will truly value for many years. I left the workshop feeling I had benefitted greatly both personally and professionally.

•              The workshop enhanced my skills around working with/as a team with a group of diverse individuals.
•              It made me appreciate the varied skills set among the participants, as well as how to tap into those for my own personal development. In particular but not exclusively, I learnt a lot about how to communicate and facilitate sessions with children aged 5-14. Both from going through the manual, but also from watching and learning from the other facilitators.
•              The workshop also gave me an opportunity to work with and share my experiences with participants from the African diaspora. Apart from that, learning in an in-country venue enabled me to fully appreciate some of the conditions under which the Stepping Stones programmes are implemented.
•              Finally, I also got an opportunity to speak Swahili everyday (eat nutritious meals), as well as attend mass everyday too, which was incredibly invaluable for my body, my mind and my soul!

I very much look forward to being involved as a trainer/facilitator in the rollout of Stepping Stones with Children across communities in East and Southern Africa.
Angelina is an associate of the Salamander Trust.
 
Many thanks to Glory, Loserian and Angelina for their great contributions to this newsletter!
Introducing from our Community of Practice…Ellen Bajenja!
Read on to find out more about members of our Community Of Practice. In this edition, Stepping Stones Feedback spoke to Ellen
Name: Ellen Bajenja
Organisation: The Salamander Trust
Lives: Kenya
From: Uganda

“I believe that all members of the community have inherent capacity to tackle the factors that affect their wellbeing,”
Hi Ellen! Would you mind telling us what do you do in your current role?
I am currently working as the Salamander Trust Africa Coordinating consultant, responsible for leading the formation of the Stepping Stones networks in the East African region as well as providing the foundation for the registration of Salamander Trust in Africa.
 
What do you consider to be the greatest need in your community at the moment?
The greatest need in my community is a good understanding and appreciation of the social, cultural, political and economic factors affecting different members in different contexts.  I believe that all members of the community have inherent capacity to tackle the factors that affect their wellbeing, however this needs to be ignited through proper and relevant information. Communities need not be considered as passive recipients of initiatives designed to respond to their challenges. Rather they should be empowered with knowledge and facilitated to participate in designing initiatives that are relevant to their different contextual settings.  Active community participation in design, implementation and evaluation is a corner stone for successful programming.
 
What or who inspires you?
I am inspired by millions of women in communities in Africa who despite the multi layered gender inequalities they face, courageously continue to take care of their loved ones: providing care for the sick, food for their households and the much needed emotional and psychological care for household members in communities affected by different disasters. It is these women who often make difficult choices about their own health; whether or not to seek care when they are ill.  At the higher levels, I am also inspired by women who have sacrificed their comfort and privacy and used what would be considered as painful experiences to strengthen and encourage others.  Women who continuously choose to make “lemonade out of lemons”. These are my heroes!
 
What is your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement over my professional life has been accompanying rural communities, particularly women and girls through the journey of self-reflection and getting them to a point where they realise that they are no longer victims but Victors. I always give myself a pat on my shoulder when one woman or girl is economically, socially and emotionally able to stand her ground and challenge the vices that threaten her wellbeing.
 
What positive message would you like to share with the Community of Practice?
As actors in the community of practice it is important to know that “one woman or girl is not just a statistic but a precious life”. Therefore you are a winner if you make a difference in the life of one girl or woman, for when a woman is able her family thrives.
 
Welcome, Ellen, to the Salamander Team, and many thanks for taking the time to respond to our questions!
About me: Laura Pulteney

Hi there, I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Stepping Stones Feedback Newsletter! It is the first one I have helped to put together since I began interning with the Salamander Trust in March. I was also lucky enough to attend the Stepping Stones with Children workshop in Dar es Salaam where I had the pleasure of working with participants from organisations across East Africa, including the inspiring people featured in this newsletter. If you have any comments about this content, or if you would like to take part in the next edition, please email me at laura @ steppingstonesfeedback DOT org (written like this to avoid spam). I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
Last but not least…..

We would like to say a huge THANKS to Glen and Alison Williams and their team at Strategies for Hope, the original publishers of Stepping Stones, without whom the original manual would never have existed. Over the past 20 + years they have been a tower of strength in the world of publishing booklets, DVDs and manuals about an effective community-based response to HIV and AIDS with and for grassroots organisations. We are hugely indebted to them and wish them both the very best in their richly deserved retirement.
Keep in touch!

The Salamander Trust has a brand new website! Check it out here. If you’d like to find out more about Stepping Stones, and read previous editions of the newsletter, click here.
 
Have you joined our Facebook groups? Please join our Salamander Trust group, and Stepping Stones Feedback group. We love to see how you are using Stepping Stones, so please continue to share your photos and videos, (but please ensure you have the consent of those being filmed beforehand, and respect the confidentiality of children).
 
Keep an eye out for our Twitter campaign, which will feature a taster of Stepping Stones with Children! @StStFeedback and @SalamanderTrust
 
And, if you would like to purchase your own copy of Stepping Stones with Children or Stepping Stones & Stepping Stones Plus which are available from Practical Action, click here.
Copyright © 2016 Salamander Trust, All rights reserved.


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