Category Archive: Programmes

Leadership

Leadership-puzzle-final The aim of Stepping Stones International’s “Finding the Leader Within” program is for youth to become self-sufficient leaders in their communities. The “Finding the Leader Within” program, supported in Partnership with FACET Foundation, provides youth with:

Entrepreneurship Skills
In addition to the income generation projects, some of SSI’s participants are using the skills and profits acquired from running their group businesses to start their own entrepreneurial endeavours. One youth has started his own hair cutting business with an interest-free loan from the SSI companies, which he will pay back over the first month of operations. Our out of school youth, participating in the peer education program, have also initiated their own tuck shop to sell sweets during break time at peer education workshops. Stock for the tuck shop was purchased with a loan from the SSI companies, which they paid back in the first week!

Career Awareness
SSI hosts people from various trades and professions to discuss their jobs and how they attained their trades or positions. This exposes the OVC to career opportunities, job skills training and helps them to develop their own personal and professional goals. In addition the program teaches the youth other job skills such as public speaking, interviewing, writing a CV, and note taking. SSI has started to assist youth to find internships with private sector companies, which often lead to jobs and further studies.

Income-generation activities (IGA)
SSI currently implements income generating activities that are managed by our youth. There are four companies that SSI youth have formed.

“Rocking Rhythmic City Company” (Events)
“Mochudi Art Masters” (Arts)
“Hungry Hippos Super Snacks” (Catering)
“Excellent Movies” (Movies)

Computer Training
In the Information Age, computer literacy is a necessity for youth seeking entry into the workforce. The newly built Graff Leadership Centre currently houses three computer labs, with 18 computers in total, to teach SSI youth basic typing, Word, Excel, and internet usage.

Life Skills

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Stepping Stones recognizes the life of an adolescent can be rife with challenges. We provide youth with the essential skills to cope with whatever life deals them. Our Life Skills Programming offers our youth:

Academic support
Every SSI participant receives help with homework from our specialized tutors, as well as study skills and exam preparation tips from our Education Coordinator.

HIV prevention / health
HIV is a reality for many youth in Botswana. SSI conducts regular Health Chats, providing participants with accurate information about how to protect themselves from HIV, and how to live a healthy lifestyle so they can achieve their future goals.

SSI is also host to the first Baylor Children’s Clinic satellite Teen Club site. Once a month, 35 HIV-positive teens from Kgatleng District get together to discuss Living Positive with a health professional, and the group serves as a support network for youth who often face discrimination and fear speaking openly about their status.

Communication skills
Many SSI youth are living with extended family members, including grandmothers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters. This can sometimes make it difficult to open up, and discuss teenage issues, such as academic performance, curfew, relationships, grief and mourning, or instances of abuse.

SSI provides youth with practical training and techniques for bridging gaps in intergenerational communication, and encourages them to voice their concerns with their caregivers and work on finding solutions to their challenges.

Financial management
Each SSI participant is currently participating in an income generating project. For many youth, this is the first time they are empowered to make decisions about money, whether it’s buying food for their catering company or determining ticket prices for their movie showing at the local primary school. The opportunity to make decisions and take risks in handling money is essential to their development into financially competent adults.

Peer education
SSI believes that one of the best ways to build the confidence of our youth is through teaching others. That’s why SSI uses peer education techniques to introduce a range of topics and skills, such as communication, goal setting, HIV prevention, multiple concurrent partnership, community engagement and many others.

Community Mobilization & Advocacy

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SSI believes that community ownership is essential to the sustainability of our program. Our Community Mobilization program includes:

Income-generation activities (IGA)

In addition to the youth income generation program, SSI has also facilitated the establishment of The United Ladies caregivers group. Five caregivers have worked in partnership to develop business skills to make and sell traditional dresses and beaded jewelry from recycled magazines.

Another caregivers business is currently underway, as a Methodist Church Group from the United States has raised funds to construct a bakery. The bakery will serve traditional breads as well as introduce Western treats, such as cupcakes, to local customers.

Rights of / access for OVC
SSI works with key stakeholders in the community to ensure the safety and security of OVC is protected, and to advocate for their access to essential services, such as ARVs, health care and monthly food baskets from the Social Welfare Community Development Department.

Critical issues (sexual abuse, gender equality, career fair)
SSI has led several community initiatives, including the “Stomp Out Sexual Abuse Campaign,” caregiver and youth participant workshops on gender equality, and Kgatleng’s first ever Youth Career Fair.

Community capacity building
SSI is committed to developing local capacity within the community. We have trained over 25 caregivers, though our Aunties and Uncles Project, to take on a leadership role within their community, and initiate conversations with neighbouring families to break the taboo surrounding sexual abuse. We have also trained over 30 peer educators to discuss topics with their peers, such as intergenerational sex, multiple concurrent partnerships, substances abuse and other topics affecting teens in their communities.

Recycling
Through the support of the European Union Non State Actors Capacity Building Program, SSI participants have led a successful field demonstration on effective community recycling practices for expansion into other districts.

Psychosocial Support

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SSI understands that our youth participants require support to express their inner feelings, and channel their repressed emotions into positive creative outlets and overcome adversity. Our Psychosocial Support Program offers youth:

Psychological counselling
SSI provides both individual and group counseling and mentoring for youth every day.

Coaching and goal-setting
All of SSI’s program staff work with our youth participants to identify personal, academic and career goals, and develop effective strategies to overcome potential stumbling blocks and achieve these goals.

Play and leisure
Physical activity is important to improve discipline, commitment and concentration. The participants are involved in sports once a week such as aerobics, horse back riding, football, netball, judo, ball skills and basketball. Youth are also encouraged to join the boys’ or girls’ book clubs, and read and discuss some of the many books in our library.

Expression
Twice a week the adolescents participate in expression activities through a variety of means such as poetry, dance, drama, singing, drawing, writing or another creative outlet. This time period gives the child the opportunity to express him/herself in a constructive manner about various issues he/she is currently facing.

Caregiver support
One of SSI’s social workers visits the youth participants’ families on a monthly basis to offer support, identify any issues within the home and develop and implement a family care plan in caring for the child. Additionally the social worker provides feedback on the child’s progress in the program and referrals to the appropriate existing organizations or sectors within Mochudi including the Social Welfare Community Development Department, the ARV program, and or BOFWA (Botswana Family Welfare Association).