Supporting young people to succeed in life and work

145 million adolescents live in extreme poverty. It is the poorest who lack opportunities to build the needed skills to positively develop and secure decent work.

Life Skills for Success is Save the Children’s approach to the development of a set of foundational skills, competencies, behaviours, attitudes and personal qualities that enable young people to effectively navigate their environment, build critical consciousness, work well with others, and achieve their goals.

We refer to these as ‘transferable life skills’ as they can transfer across different domains of a young person’s life. Our approach focuses on five key categories global research has found is most associated with young people’s workforce success and positive development.  Combined with other targeted programming for adolescents and youth to address barriers to their success – such as child marriage, early pregnancy, school dropout, violence and bullying, and unemployment – these transferable skills act as a foundation in SC’s holistic programming for adolescent and youth social and economic empowerment.

Our transferable life skills:

  1. Critical higher-order thinking: Ability to problem-solve, think creatively and make objective decisions in both personal and work environments and build a critical consciousness of gender inequalities
  2. Positive self-concept: Emotional, social and cognitive awareness and positive valuation of oneself and one’s gender identity
  3. Self-control: Effectively regulate and manage behaviour and emotions, control impulses, and delay gratification to achieve life and career goals
  4. Social skills: Ability to collaborate, resolve conflict, build respect and empathy for others, and behave in contextually appropriate ways
  5. Communication skills: To actively listen and effectively negotiate and express ideas and ambitions to different audiences and advocate for the change they want to see

The core pillars of our approach:


Building critical consciousness for girls’ social and economic empowerment

Life Skills for Success is part of Save the Children’s gender-responsive and gender transformative programming to address the root causes of gender equality. We have developed curricular resources and tools that build critical consciousness of girls and boys and their power within. Across our five skill categories, we work with girls and boys to build positive gender identities, empathy, and respect for others. Our programs support girls and boys to think critically about gender barriers; how to solve gender inequalities; and advocate for an equal world. We also work closely with families, communities and governments to address discriminatory norms and build supportive learning environments in schools and in alternative education models.

To learn more about our programs and evidence to build life skills visit our Youth in Action site here.