June 27, 2019
There is growing recognition that youth need more than academic knowledge and technical expertise to transition successfully into employment and adulthood (Dupuy et al. 2018). They also need "life skills," a set of cognitive, personal, and interpersonal strengths that position them for success in their lives and livelihoods. Life skills can enhance young people's agency and resilience, improve their psychosocial well-being, and predict a range of long-term outcomes, including health, job performance, and wages (Kwauk et al. 2018; OECD 2018; Kautz et al. 2014). The Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), a donor collaborative, has invested in 18 projects that focus on developing life skills among youth (see left). Mathematica, the PSIPSE's learning partner, recently conducted an in-depth study of these projects. The study used interviews with implementing organizations, an extensive review of project documents and evaluation reports, and high-level literature and landscape scans to examine project experiences, set them in context, and draw out lessons for a range of stakeholders. This brief summarizes the lessons for government officials—on how to successfully devise, roll out, scale, and strengthen life skills policies for youth in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs).