The STEPS Story…

In 1997 a needs assessment was conducted by educators Anne Aarhaug and Amber Darley on request from NGOs and mission works in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana for character and faith building material more relevant to their work in Africa. 

By 1998 the scope and sequence was complete, built on 2 years of research, concept development and consultation with educators in 9 African countries. Funding was secured from the Family Mission Foundation (Switzerland) for the research and development of the curriculum.

The STEPS Development Team of artists, writers, designers and education experts was selected and Kampala, Uganda, was identified as an ideal location to base from. A research and development agreement was signed with the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and partnerships were formed with schools and educators in Kampala who participated in the development and field testing of the concepts and lesson plans over the next 2 years.

In 2000 the first edition of the STEPS curriculum was copyrighted and subsequently published in partnership with Aurora Production (Switzerland). The curriculum is distributed by Big Thought Publications (South Africa).

The STEPS Team…

Anne Grete Aarhaug
Educator, Project Lead

Anne is the visionary behind the STEPS Program, providing guidance and mentoring through each research, development and creative stage. An education expert, with 35 years experience in child development and education programs in 17 countries. Anne possesses an undying belief in giving kids the best opportunities possible as well as the tools to thrive in the challenges life brings. The STEPS program is an embodiment of the faith that every child can succeed! 

Olivier Biard
Executive, Project Lead

Program manager at Family Care Association Nigeria since 1996, Olivier has successfully led strategic business, education and medical development projects throughout Europe and Africa. His influencing and communication skills were key in obtaining the investments necessary to create the program and keep stakeholders and investors engaged at each stage. Passionate in his role as a facilitator, his proactive ‘can do’ approach kept the work environment fun, apace and on track whatever the challenge. 

Amber Darley Hawron
Educator, Editor and Designer

Amber worked on STEPS with Anne from the very beginning, bringing her technical education and design expertise to the table in creating the scope and sequence and developing the format. Her enthusiasm for the project was constant through every phase, whether through the rigors of R&D, the managing of the creative phase or the detail work of the editing and finalizing.

Agnes Lemaire
Illustrator and Designer

Artist, designer and author, with an acclaimed portfolio of published works to her name, Agnes is the creator of the much loved illustrations found throughout the STEPS Program. Her detail and fun filled pictures captivate children’s attention giving them rich backdrops for the stories and lessons. 

Dawn Marie Biard
Educator, R&D and Field Testing

With a track record in teaching and education since 1990, Dawn has managed field-schools and taught in 7 countries on 3 continents. Dawn coordinated the vital field testing with education experts, school principals and teachers, providing real-world situations in which to test and then tune every lesson plan and lesson element. 

Sabine Rich
Illustrator and Colorist

A talented colorist and illustrator with 10 years of experience in digital and traditional mediums. Sabine is an amazingly versatile artist who relentlessly pursues her goal of create unforgettable images that will bring stories to life. The STEPs’ beautiful vivid and contrasting color details are testament to her talent.

Curtis Peter VanGorder

Peter is an accomplished playwright, actor, scriptwriter and animator. Currently a teacher, facilitator, creator and director with the MOVE volunteer and leadership training program. He has founded Elixir Mime which gives regular mime acting workshops internationally to disadvantaged youth and the Deaf community to develop communication and storytelling skills in a dramatic fashion. He has also founded Elixir Scripts, which is devoted to quality screenwriting of stories that inspire. Peter is a regular contributing author to the motivational magazines Activated, Green, Connect, and Motivated and is a writer of a wide range of various inspirational books and publications. He was born in Pennsylvania, USA and is presently living in India. Peter authored and adapted a majority of the stories that form such a cornerstone to the STEPS’ lesson plans.