Building youth life skills: lessons learned on how to design, implement, assess, and scale successful programming

Autor(es): Sridharan, Swetha; Ravindranath, Poonam; Pottinger, Emma; Cosentino, Clemencia

Publisher(s): Mathematica

Date: 2019

Pages: 57 p. + 3 p. + 4 p.

Since the Education for All Initiative launched in 1990, there has been growing recognition that young people need more than academic knowledge to cope effectively with day-to-day challenges and transition successfully into employment (Dupuy et al. 2018). Over and above the skills they gain through a formal education and other technical or vocational skills, they need “life skills,” a set of cognitive, personal, and interpersonal strengths that position them for success in their lives and livelihoods. Life skills can strengthen young people’s agency and resilience, and predict a range of long-term outcomes, including health, job performance, and wages (Kwauk et al. 2018, Kautz et al. 2014). To give youth access to these vital tools for success, the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) has been supporting its grantee organizations to test diverse approaches to strengthening life skills. This study analyzes the experiences of the 18 PSIPSE life skills projects, and generates actionable lessons around the design, delivery, measurement, and scale-up of life skills programming for youth in developing countries. The study draws on in-depth interviews with grantees, document review, and a scan of the literature and policy context. It is accompanied with two briefs: 'Building youth life skills: eight tips for practitioners' and 'Building youth life skills: 6 lessons for government officials'.

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