How do gender transformative approaches to improve sexual health impact on violence between men and women? Interventions that seek to transform gender roles and relationships between men and women are frequently being referred to as ‘gender transformative’. Stepping Stones is a participatory learning approach with the goal of achieving this change.
The intervention aims to build knowledge, communication skills and stimulate critical reflection through role-play and drama and draws the everyday reality of participants’ lives into the sessions. It is delivered to single sex groups, which are run in parallel, and complemented by meeting of male and female peer groups and a final community meeting. This cluster randomised trial across 70 villages in eastern Cape province, South Africa was undertaken with 1360 men and 1416 women aged 15-26 years, who were mostly attending schools.
This finding suggest that it led to a reduction in violent and exploitative behaviours in men, including those associated with intimate partner violence, rape, and participation in transactional sex. This finding is supported by evaluations of Stepping Stones in other settings which have documented an impact on men’s violence. Study findings highlight that reduction at 24 months is even more visible when compared with 12 months suggesting that positive behaviour change is