Strengthening Prevention Services (STEPS)


Strengthening Prevention Services, known as STEPS, is an adaptation of I ACT. It is a prevention strategy to stem the spread of HIV and Tuberculosis in correctional facilities.

Since its launch in 2012, this program has tested the STEPS approach in eight South African facilities that serve 6,169 inmates.

To actively engage inmates in the educational process, STEPS has integrated Ubuntu Community Theatre (see below) into its curriculum.

In 2014, STEPS was invited to join a national effort to support capacity development within the National Department of Correctional Services.

“The STEPS program has given opportunity for the prison community to discuss issues openly. Because of the impact the program has had, the number of offenders who take the test for HIV has gone from below 5 per month to above 100.”
—Manager of the Wellness Clinic

STEPS Results: Number of screenings for HIV & TB since the program was begun = 10,379

STEPS Implementation Guide

green-quoteTruthfully speaking, I was actually very afraid to go and get tested. If it was not for STEPS, I would still be living with this fear inside of me. So I thank STEPS for opening my eyes, making me realize how important it is for me to know my status and making me realize how important it is to respect yourself and others. STEPS really changed me.”

—Inmate at Kirkwood Correctional Facility

green-quoteAt first, I took it just as a play, but what I didn’t know was how it was going to change me as a person. While I was performing the play, I was beginning to feel emotions — I was actually living the play and putting myself in the shoes of the character. It felt amazing and real, and then I realized for myself that this was really happening inside of me. I am not an actor but what I learned through STEPS was amazing.”

—Inmate at Kirkwood Correctional Facility & UCT troupe member

Ubuntu Community Theatre

Ubuntu Community Theatre (UCT) is an interactive dramatic performance by actors trained in health issues. UCT generates community discussion around health and life dilemmas in order to influence behavior change.

To build a crowd, the UCT troupe engages in mobilization and outreach before each performance. The dramatizations include “stop action” moments when the actors pause and a facilitator engages the audience in problem solving. This includes encouraging audience members to discuss their personal experiences related to the topic. Audience members suggest what the characters should do next, or come on stage and act out their suggestions themselves. Once the facilitator brings the discussion to a conclusion, the production resumes.

Ubuntu Community Theatre is based on four key principles:

  1. 1 Participation and interaction
  2. 2 Tailoring performances to specific audiences
  3. 3 Staying connected to the audience
  4. 4 Promoting positive changes in behavior

Ubuntu Community Theatre Guide


Comprehensive HIV Prevention Systems Strengthening in the Department of Correctional Services Facilities

South Africa Partners is collaborating with the Aurum Institute to support the implementation of comprehensive prevention strategies in South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services.  South Africa Partners will provide training, mentoring and support to key national partners.  Visit the Aurum Institute for more information.

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