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Life skills

Implementation models

How do I implement life skills-based education?

Below are some models for creating a school-based or school-linked programme.  HIV/AIDS prevention education is used as an example for each model.  Schools provide an ideal opportunity to ensure girls' and boys' access to good quality skills-based education.  However, since schools do not reach all children, some of the models demonstrate how to broaden the reach of life skills-based education in non-formal educational settings.  Please see the summary document attached a the bottom of the page.


The Formal model is characterised by its school-based programme with a specific curriculum that is designed to be delivered as a separate subject or through a carrier subject.

The formal primary or secondary school curriculum is:

  • Facilitated by a teacher trained in the content and methods
  • Delivered in schools, with time designated in the schedule for skills-based HIV/AIDS education
  • and may or may not be assessed.

May be complemented by:

  • Guest speakers and outside resource people
  • Extra-curricular projects and activities

Examples: Life Skills and HIV/AIDS Education Programme (South Africa); AIDS Action Programme for School (Zimbabwe), School-Based Healthy Living and HIV/AIDS Prevention Educatuion (Myanmar).


The Cross-over model is characterised by its school-linked programme with extra-curricular life skills-based education activities that are affiliated with schools but not necessarily delivered in schools:

  • Participants may be reached through schools
  • School resources and facilities are often used
  • Facilitated by somebody trained in the content and methods in the content and methods, usually with teacher support (e.g. peer educators, guidance counselors, social workers)

Examples: My Future is My Choice (Namibia); Tsa Banana (Botswana); Islamic AIDS Education & Prevention (Uganda)


The Non-formal model is characterised by programmes that are delivered through community settings and organizations, such as health centers, drop-in centers, churches, street programmes, women's/young people's groups and clubs (e.g. girl guides/boy scouts)

  • Typically target out-of-school youth, but may include students as educators, counselors or learners
  • Curriculum typically developed by NGOs, rather than government agencies

Examples: Friends Tell Friends on the Street (Thailand); Peace Corps Life Skills Manual

Technology / media

Educational messages, stories and activities are delivered through local or national communication channels, including TV, radio, videos, comic books, storybooks, audiocassettes, posters, the Internet, newspapers, etc.

  • May provide educational materials that can be used in schools
  • Can supplement all of the above models

Examples: Sara, Meena, Right to Know, Straight Talk, Sexwise, SoulCity.  See Media and Social Marketing Strategies to read how all these projects are creatively reaching young people through media.

Piggy back

With the Piggy-back model, HIV/AIDS is addressed within a programme designed for another purpose (e.g. livelihood skills building)

  • Most effective when facilitators are experienced in both areas (e.g. livelihoods and HIV/AIDS, or when different experts are used)


  • UNICEF's Child Protection Programme for child workers in Bangladesh includes life skills-based education in the "work and education" component.
  • Tap and Reposition Youth (Population Council, Kenya) - a savings and micro-credit project for adolescent girls and women includes a component on HIV/AIDS.

Involuntary situations

Programmes are delivered within an institution or involuntary setting such as detention centres and transition houses.  Includes programmes that must be completed as a penalty (e.g. drunk-driving counselling courses)

  • Maybe voluntary or involuntary
  • Requires facilitators experienced in working with the participant group
  • The fact that participants may not want to be there is the greatest challenge
  • Useful to make links with programmes delivered outside the involuntary environment, including transition programmes and livelihood programmes (e.g. points or accreditation in the course count towards training that can be continued outside the detention centre)

Example: UNICEF Brazil - reaching young men in conflict with the law, in detention centres.

Emergency situations

Programmes are delivered and participants are reached in a protective environment within the emergency setting such as Child-Friendly Spaces, IDP/refugee camps, health centers, or churches.

  • Learners include children, young people, women, and men, depending on the life skills topic (e.g. landmine awareness, violence prevention, conflict resolution, peace building, HIV/AIDS prevention, health and sanitation)
  • Curriculum typically developed by international agencies, non-governmental or community-based organizations, rather than government

Example: UNICEF Southern Sudan (Operation Life Line Sudan) Life Skills-Based Education for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Health/Sanitation, Peace Education and the Environment.


Implementation Models Document

Implementation Models (french)


Implementation Models Document

Implementation Models (french)



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