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Joining hands: integrating gender and HIV/AIDS: report of an ACORD project using Stepping Stones in Angola, Tanzania and Uganda

HADJIPATERAS, Angela
et al
July 2007

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This is the report of a two-year project to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls in Africa to HIV and AIDS, using Stepping Stones - a gender-focused participatory process that involves working closely with peer groups. The project's other objectives were to: build the capacity of local structures to respond; promote community responses through effective partnerships and advocacy actions; and find out whether Stepping Stones could be used effectively in unconventional settings with a range of population groups such as the nomadic Mucubai tribe in Southern Angola, internally displaced people living in camps in Northern Uganda, and the 21st Battalion of the Angolan armed forces. Key findings include: improvements in the level of knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS and increased communication around sexual issues and between couples and within communities, across all three countries, as well as an increased sense of community responsibility for HIV and AIDS. In addition there was patchy evidence of stigma reduction and some reduction in risky cultural and sexual practices. Although increased respect for women, including self respect and a reduction in gender violence was also noted, female subordination in decision making and control over resources remains. Stepping Stones was on the whole considered to be adaptable for use in a wide range of contexts although more thought was needed to develop effective strategies to combat obstacles when using this process in some circumstances

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