Case study
1 July 2018

Social norms change at scale: Insights from Stepping Stones

Author: Ellen Bajenja, Alice Welbourn
Published by: Community for Understanding Scale Up (CUSP)
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Stepping Stones is a holistic training program on gender, HIV, communication, and relationship skills. Its lead author created the program in the 1990s with strong influences from the “participatory learning and action” and women’s rights movements, as well as her Ph.D. research on gender, age, and access to power and resources in communities and her 10 years of living and working in rural communities in the Horn of Africa. Stepping Stones promotes an inclusive, community-wide approach to address the complex issues communities face in changing social norms on violence against women (VAW), sexual and reproductive health and rights, and attitudes and practices towards people living with HIV. These include reducing intimate partner violence (IPV) and related alcohol use, and increasing condom use and gender equity in relationships (such as shared decision-making and task-sharing). 


This case study is part of a series of five published by Raising Voices. The collection is designed for funders, practitioners, and activists. It seeks to identify key elements for success, highlight challenges, and provide recommendations for adapting and scaling the methodologies of The Community for Understanding Scale Up (CUSP) members and, more broadly, social norms change interventions. The case studies draw on over 120 years of combined experience and practice-based learning among five CUSP programs.