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UN Women

Stepping Stones: A Training Manual for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Relationship Communication Skills and Empowerment

This training manual focuses on strengthening relationships, promoting safer sexual practices, and the prevention of HIV. It recognises that there is a strong link between economic independence and healthy sexual behaviour. Therefore, the manual emphasises financial literacy training to improve the participants’ decision making regarding their sexual and reproductive health. 

The manual provides a range of activities to improve the financial literacy of adolescent girls and young women of ages 10-24. Through interactive meetings within small group settings, the participants are encouraged to develop knowledge and practices to be financially independent through savings, informed spending, avoiding debt, and making plans about their future. 

Through healthy financial habits and economic independence, the Stepping Stones training aims to shift unequal power dynamics within relationships and avoid risky sexual behaviour. It seeks to improve communication between partners and facilitate individual and as well as collective change of behaviour within families and communities. 

The manual is designed for both in-school and out-of-school groups, and the exercises can be covered in one meeting. However, it is encouraged that the training be flexible and provide the time and space needed depending on the learning needs of the participants.  

Stepping Stones Training Manual Content

There are a range of exercises such as discussions, games, interactive exercises, role plays that are included in the manual focusing on the sexual health and financial health. It provides guidelines regarding the structuring and setting up of small groups based on diverse learning needs of different age categories, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24. It describes how the discussions and exercises can be facilitated, and as well as the training of facilitators. It also gives guidelines about creating safe spaces and referring participants to further counselling if needed.