SFH Banner

Stepping Stones manual

What the manual and the rest of the package comprises, who it is for, and how to use it

What is it?

A 240-page manual for trainers, and an accompanying workshop video of 15 five-minute clips (though the manual can be used without the video).There is also a supplementary manual Stepping Stones PLUS, and a video, Stepping Stones Revisited, on the experiences of a Ugandan village 12 years after holding a Stepping Stones workshop.

The original manual contains full, closely-guided instructions on how to run around 60 hours of workshop sessions, divided into 18 sessions over 10 to 12 weeks. Stepping Stones Plus builds on the original manual, with extra sessions and exercises.

Designed to enable women and men of all ages to explore their social, sexual and psychological needs, to analyse the communication blocks they face, and to practise different ways of behaving in their relationships.

The workshop aims to enable individuals, their peers and their communities to change their behaviour - individually and together - through the ‘stepping stones’ which the various sessions provide.


As from 2016, all Stepping Stones materials are available from the Salamander Trust, and not from Strategies for Hope.

The English language edition of Stepping Stones and Stepping Stones PLUS, wholly revised and updated, is now published as one volume by Practical Action Publishing.

For whom?

Designed for use in existing HIV/AIDS projects, and in general development projects which plan to introduce an on-going AIDS component. Designed for use by a team of skilled people - ideally two male, two female - who work with peer groups of community members.

Experienced trainers should be able to use the material straight away. Less experienced trainers may need a training course to help them start
to use it.

With whom?

Originally for use in communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa. However, it is also being successfully adapted for use in Asia, North and Latin America and Europe. Most sessions are designed for people in small groups of 10-20, of their own gender and age. Occasional sessions bring everyone together.


The ABC of AIDS (Abstain! Be faithful! use Condoms!) on its own does not work. Lectures on AIDS are too simplistic. Stepping Stones grew out of the need to address the vulnerability of women and young people in decision-making about sexual behaviour.

The materials enable people to explore the huge range of issues which affect our sexual health - including gender roles, money,
alcohol use, traditional practices, attitudes to sex, attitudes to death and our own personalities.


All sessions use a participatory approach of adult learning through shared discussions. The exercises are all based on people’s own experiences, and role play and drawing exercises enable everyone to take part. No literacy is needed.

Participants discuss their experiences, act them out, analyse them, consider alternative outcomes, and then rehearse these together in a safe, supportive group.

People feel safe because most sessions take place in groups of their own gender and age.

Though designed with HIV/AIDS in mind, the package covers many related topics such as gender violence and alcohol

Translations and adaptations

Strategies for Hope has produced the Stepping Stones manual in English and French and the workshop video in English, French, Swahili and Luganda. The Stepping Stones PLUS manual has been translated into French.

Many organisations have translated and adapted the Stepping Stones manual to make it relevant and useful in a wide variety of cultures in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.  In some cases the Stepping Stones workshop video has also been translated and adapted.  We have not been able to keep track of all these different adaptations and language versions of the Stepping Stones package. However, for further information please see the Salamander Trust’s website.

For more information, on Stepping Stones activities and implementation, please visit the Salamander Trust’s website.

All Stepping Stones manuals and DVDs are now available from the Salamander Trust. (They are no longer available from Strategies for Hope, although we still carry information about these materials on our website.)

Please contact the Salamander Trust with your order, as follows:

Email: Please click here

By post: Salamander Trust, c/o Positively UK, 345 City Road, London EC1V 1LR, UK.

Please also contact Practical Action Publishing for the English language editions of the manuals.


By: Alice Welbourn

Manual: 240 pages; published 1995; ISBN 978-0-9549051-7-0. DVD: total duration of clips 70 minutes; produced 1995.