WHO Skills for Health

The Word Health Organization (WHO)'s Skills for Health outline life skills important for skills-based health and life skills education. The WHO is a United Nations agency specializing in international public health, and the Skills for Health focus on the knowledge, attitudes, and skills that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life, including psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills. The Skills for Health are part of the Focusing Resources on Effective School Health (FRESH) initiative, a collaboration between WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the World Bank designed to promote effective school health programming.

View All Term Definitions

WHO Skills for Healthcommunication and…decision-making and…coping and self-management…interpersonal…negotiation/refusal skillsempathy buildingcooperation and teamworkadvocacy skillsdecision-making /…critical thinking skillsskills for increasing…skills for managing…skills for managing stress

Breakdown by Domain

Domain Key


Key Features

Context & Culture

  • Advocates for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to life skills education that aligns policies, services, family and community partnerships, media, and more
  • Describes the influence of cultural and contextual factors on life skills development and provides specific recommendations for navigating individual learning styles; social, cultural, and family values and beliefs; the influence of peers and adults (teachers and family); risk and resilience factors; and more
  • Emphasizes gender fairness as an underpinning principle in health education and proposes the inclusion of gender issues as a base for cultivating life skills
  • Recommends that effective skills-based teaching include traditional cultural communication norms, culturally sensitive teaching methods, and take context-specific factors (e.g., conflict, disease, gender roles) into consideration

Developmental Perspective

  • Notes that the life skills outlined in the framework are interrelated and can be developed in tandem
  • Uses child development theory to provide rationale for focusing on life skills education during late childhood and early adolescence
  • Provides separate examples of skills-based health education objectives (knowledge, attitudes, and skills) for 3 age ranges: early childhood, pre-adolescence, and adolescence
  • No learning progression provided

Associated Outcomes

  • Cites evidence linking skills-based health and life skills education to positive outcomes related to academic performance; mental health; violent, risky, or delinquent behavior; and more

Available Resources

Support Materials

  • Offers additional documents and resources related to health and life skills education, including specific resources for health education subject areas, advocacy, planning, and evaluation

Programs & Strategies

  • Notes that life skills education is most effective when skills are taught in the context of specific health choices and behaviors, outlining when and how specific life skills apply to various health topics including nutrition; sexual and reproductive health; and drug, violence, and disease prevention
  • Presents three common ways of implementing skills-based health and life skills curricula, including the pros and cons of each
  • Provides detailed descriptions of effective teaching and learning strategies, including specific practices and case studies
  • Describes both evidence-based success factors and common barriers to effective programming that are derived from research and experience in nations around the world
  • Provides detailed recommendations related to program planning, including how to collect local data, engage multiple stakeholders, develop program goals and objectives, advocate for and evaluate a program, and effectively train teachers
  • Includes list of specific evidence-based skills-based health and life skills interventions, including information about population and context, intervention methods, and outcomes

Measurement Tools

  • Includes detailed description of common methods used to assess student knowledge, skills, and attitudes
  • Notes the importance of measuring immediate, medium-term, and long-term outcomes of health and life skills education programming, and provides a specific example to illustrate how a program might be evaluated at each level

Key Publications

Explore other Frameworks