UNICEF India Comprehensive Life Skills Framework

The UNICEF India Comprehensive Life Skills Framework is a life skills framework developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) India in collaboration with in-country partners, including UN sister agencies, civil society organizations, academia, and independent experts. UNICEF is an intergovernmental organization mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights around the world and help meet children’s basic needs and expand their opportunities. Designed to be relevant for Indian contexts, the framework focuses on skills that support the overall development and empowerment of children and adolescents in India, enabling them to become informed and life-long learners, change social inequalities, and gain control over their lives.

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UNICEF India Comprehensive…empowermentemployability skillscitizenshiplearningself-awarenesscommunicationresiliencedecision makingnegotiationempathyparticipationcreativitycritical thinkingproblem solving

Breakdown by Domain

Domain Key


Key Features

Context & Culture

  • Describes how each core skill is specifically relevant for children and youth from marginalized groups
  • Summarizes issues impacting Indian society relevant to life skills development, including social inequities related to caste, religion, ethnicity, and gender; a lack of opportunity to learn and use knowledge relevant knowledge and skills; and difficulty accessing opportunities in the labor market
  • Outlines best practices for delivering equitable and relevant life skills programming to young people of all backgrounds, including specific recommendations related to program access, training, and content
  • Notes the importance of providing multiple pathways for life skills learning, and lists specific opportunities within formal education, non-formal settings, and the workplace
  • Recommends government (national, state, local), community, and private sector/potential employer involvement in life skills efforts, and provides specific examples of ways to involve them
  • Suggests engaging families and the community in discussions of gender and social considerations in order to facilitate safe and nurturing learning environments

Developmental Perspective

  • Acknowledges that life skills develop, change, and accumulate throughout the life course
  • Notes the importance of developing life skills and numeracy, literacy, and digital skills in a concurrent and integrated way, providing some examples of how they support each other
  • Illustrates where certain skills fall along a developmental continuum and indicates where evidence supports emphasizing certain life skills at specific developmental periods, but does not provide a comprehensive learning progression or consistent examples for all skills in the framework

Associated Outcomes

  • Outlines a theory of change that links core life skills to improved educational outcomes, employment and entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and individual empowerment for Indian youth, ultimately leading to improved education, economic development, and social cohesion in India
  • Describes how each core skill is linked to intended individual-, societal-, and civic/national-level outcomes

Available Resources

Support Materials

  • No materials provided

Programs & Strategies

  • Suggests best practices for operationalizing the life skills framework, including recommendations to facilitate access to life skills programs; enhance training and development; create content, material, and measurement mechanisms; and maximize support and collaboration from stakeholders
  • No programs or strategies provided

Measurement Tools

  • Notes the importance of measuring life skills and outcomes to inform and strengthen programming
  • Ongoing life skills measurement project in five Indian states to develop measurement tools aligned to the framework
  • No tools provided

Key Publications

  • UNICEF India website: http://unicef.in/
  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). (2019). Comprehensive Life Skills Framework: Rights based and life cycle approach to building skills for empowerment.

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