Jewkes, R., Gibbs, A., Jama-Shai, N., et al. BMC Public Health (December 2014), E-publication ahead of print.
Stepping Stones was a participatory intervention designed to strengthen HIV prevention and relationship skills, conducted in rural Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The project's results indicated a 38 percent reduction in male self-reported violence against women, but women's reported experience of violence did not diminish. The authors of this study investigated whether combining Stepping Stones with Creating Futures, an intervention to enhance the livelihoods of young women and men without microfinance or cash transfers, could reduce gender-based violence against women. The authors recruited 232 out-of-school young people aged 18 to 34 from two urban settlements. Participants attended 10 Stepping Stones learning sessions and 11 three-hour Creating Futures learning sessions, where they discussed using existing local resources to improve their livelihoods. The findings showed improvements in reported earnings among both men and women. The authors also noted that the combined intervention led to improved attitudes toward gender among men and women, and reductions in men's controlling behaviors toward female partners. In addition, women reported experiencing less sexual and/or physical intimate partner violence. The authors concluded that combining the two interventions can strengthen livelihoods, improve gender relationships, and reduce violence against women in South Africa’s informal settlements.