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Life skills

Focus areas

© UNICEF/ HQ99-0165/ Horner
An instructor from the Children's Movement for Peace sits reading on the street with a group of school children. Colombia.

The importance of life skills learning is highlighted directly and indirectly in a number of international agreements and conventions, including in the Ottawa Charter on Health Promotion  (1986), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), the Jomtien World Conference on Education for All  (1990), the International Conference on Population and Development  (1994), the Dakar World Education Forum (2000), the UNGASS on HIV/AIDS (2001), the UNGASS on Children  (2002), the World Youth Report   (2003 & 2005), the World Program for Human Rights Education  (2004 and 2008),  Education in Emergencies, Chronic Crises and Early Reconstruction (2004),  Education for Sustainable Development  (2005), the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence Against Children (2006), the Commission on the Status of Women  (2007), and finally the World Development Report  (2007) which identified “enhancing capabilities through life skills education” as one of three policy directions recommended to assist young people to develop and contribute to society. 

Small wonder, then, that a life skills approach has been promoted to improve learning outcomes in a wide range of content areas, including HIV prevention, care and support, health promotion, violence reduction and peace building, sustainable development, human rights, gender equality and social and emotional learning.

Life skills learning also figures prominently in models for the delivery of quality education, e.g., the Child-friendly schools model and for the development of more effective school health programmes, e.g., the Focusing Resources on Effective School Health (FRESH) initiative.

  Important Documents

Skills for Health
A joint paper by UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UNFPA, UNESCO, and other FRESH partners.



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