Working to Advance Health Equity in Africa

Research project

Stepping Stones and Creating Futures – randomised control trial


Young people in informal settlements in South Africa perpetrate and experience high levels of intimate partner violence, shaped by wide-scale economic marginalisation and entrenched gender inequalities. This project conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures intervention to assess its effect on reducing the perpetration of IPV by men and the experience of IPV by women. This assessment runs alongside an integrated process and cost-effectiveness evaluation.


  • Evaluate the effectiveness of Stepping Stones and Creating Futures on reducing the perpetration and experience of IPV in informal settlements
  • Understand the contexts which support and hinder change in the intervention
  • Assess the cost-effectiveness of the intervention

Methodological approach

The study is a community randomised control trial (RCT), with 32 communities involved. There is a 24 month follow up for this study. Integrated qualitative research, including ethnography and in-depth interviews, captures participants’ experiences. An ingredients based cost-effectiveness evaluation is also completed.

Key outputs


Gibbs, A., Washington, L., Shai, N. J., Sikweyiya, Y., and Mbatha, N. 2014 Systematically excluded:Young women’s experiences of accessing the child support grant in South Africa, Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division

Journal article

Gibbs, A., Willan, S., Jama-Shai, N., Washington, L and Jewkes, R (2015) ‘Eh! I felt I was sabotaged!’: facilitators’ understandings of success in a participatory HIV and IPV prevention intervention in urban South Africa Health Education Research, 30(6), pp 985-995, doi: 10.1093/her/cyv059

Jewkes, R., Gibbs, A., Jama-Shai, N., Willan, S., Misselhorn, A., Mushinga, M., Washington, L., Mbatha, N., and Skiweyiya, Y. 2014 Stepping Stones and Creating Futures intervention: Shortened interrupted time series evaluation of a behavioural and structural health promotion and violence prevention intervention for young people in informal settlements in Durban, South Africa BMC Public Health, 14 (1325), BMC Public Health, doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1325

Policy brief

HEARD, UKZN, South African Medical Research Council, Project Empower, London School of Hygience and Tropical Medicine, What Works Creating a world free from violence: The Stepping Stones and Creating Futures Intervention trial