1. What is special about the HOW curriculum?
The HOW curriculum has been developed from interviews and groups with thousands of women who had histories of sexual and physical violence and who wanted to learn how to avoid making decisions about their bodies and relationships that would lead to their being at risk for HIV, STIs or an unwanted pregnancy and/or symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress or depression. Each session has been scripted for the facilitators to become acquainted with, and for others to memorize—but not to read in groups with the participants. The facilitators have to:
- learn how to say what is printed for them in their own styles so that the discussions in the group will be natural;
- become comfortable with the material and keep the conversations moving so that the groups are within 2 hours in length; and
- be aware of their body language that communicates that they are interested in what the women have to say, and yet they can limit discussions for each person and let everyone speak, avoid pressuring anyone to speak before they are ready and cover all of the material in that session.
- Help women to discuss the information in each session but not try to be a counselor or therapist.
The HOW curriculum has been piloted with African Americans and Latinas in English and Spanish and written so that cultural and religious beliefs and values are discussed along with what women are usually told about how females should behave, sexually. Whether these beliefs are right or wrong is not as important as allowing women to voice what they have been taught or what they believe without being judged.
The best way to learn how to present the information in a session is to study the material and to practice being the facilitator, first with friends and then with other staff. Learning how to deliver the 11 weeks of material comes only with practice and the belief that being honest and real with participants is the way to bond with them as a facilitator. In some sessions there are posters that are placed on the wall or games that are played to help women learn. They are included as you proceed with each session.
2. What is special about the HOW Workbook?
The Workbook includes a summary of the material from each session to take home or leave with the facilitator if their privacy at home can’t be assured.
It is most helpful to remind women of the homework assignments or to refresh their memories about how to manage a problem when the groups have ended..
In each session, participants are asked to write about an event that traumatized them and blank sheets are included for them in the workbook. These pages are useful in order to see the progress in how women process their trauma weekly and change behavior.
Now, it is time to become acquainted with HOW…
Click on the preferred language link to access each item below
- Curriculum: Information taught to women that would assist them to decisions reducing sexual risk, symptoms of PTSD and depression, and to increase adherence to medications.
- Workbook: Provided to participants and is a summary of each of the materials of each session
- Post Group Interview
Adverse Events Report
- 3 Month Follow Up
- 6 Month Follow Up
HOW poster and HOW labels are at the end of the curriculum (pg. 113).