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Life skills

Life Skills for Lobbying

Introduction

To practice effective lobby and advocacy, it is crucial that there is attention for the underlying skills that people need to be effective lobbyists. These are the skills that we call ‘life skills for lobbying’. Communication and persuasion skills, goal setting and decision making, teamwork, cultural-sensitivity, assertiveness, self-efficacy and self-esteem are examples of skills that are crucial underlying skills to be a successful lobbyist. In addition to these topics, the life skills for lobbying training also has attention for issues related to diversity, gender, and sexual harassment in lobby and advocacy. The life skills for lobby training is designed as a hands-on, practical training focusing on an in-depth and reflective understanding of the life skills that are crucial for lobby.

Method & tool

Assessment of the situation, and assuring a tailor-made approach that is based on the needs and priorities of the community is key in our approach. Therefore, each trajectory starts with a needs assessment and adaption of the training materials.

To reach as many people as possible, while also ensuring quality training, we use a master trainings model. Our Edukans trainers are (international) trainers, who train and coach master trainers from partner organizations to cascade the training to local organizations and community groups.

We equip trainers with the competencies to use creative and participatory methodologies to train others in life skills for lobbying. Our training is characterized by its active and participator methodology. The  training is hands-on and the active practicing of skills are at the center. The participants are involved actively by focusing on self-reflection, role-plays, peer-to-peer learning and coaching.

The trainers leave the training with the skills, attitude and knowledge to cascade the training in a safe learning environment, and the competencies to use the training manual, posters, and learning aids for the training.

 

Edukans life skills for lobbying package:

1 Needs assessment

2 Adaption and contextualization of the life skills for lobbying module;

3 Training of trainers; including coaching towards sustainability

4 Monitoring, evaluation and learning.

 

Results

In 2019, trainings of trainers were implemented in Kenya, Uganda, Mali, and Benin. In 2020 a blended training of trainers was done in Ethiopia (face-to-face training, with international support on distance) These trainings were implemented and cascaded as part of the Civic Engagement Alliance. Edukans international trainers trained the local partner organizations. In Uganda 17 trainers were trained, in Kenya 16 people were trained, in the combined training for Mali and Benin 20 people participated and in Ethiopia, 15 people were trained. The cascading of the training is ongoing in 2020; in each country the trainers follow cascading models to reach small-farmers organizations and women self-help groups in order to strengthen their lobby activities. While the analysis of the KAP assessment is still being collected, evaluations of training included testimonies like:

“I have done so many trainings, but this is the most participatory training, I have really learned a lot”

trainer, Kenya (2019)

“We are not only learning to master the topics of life skills, we are also improving our facilitation skills”

trainer, Benin (2019)

“The best thing about the training is that we learn so much from each other’s experiences”

– trainer, Mali (2019)

“For our members, each of these skills are necessary to develop which in return enables our group to stand strong. For example: strong communication skill, strong team work and cooperation, problem solving skill are very useful and required to effectively work and address issues at hand.”

– trainer, Ethiopia (2020)

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The problem

While addressing the youth unemployment challenge, it is crucial to prepare young people for their education, work and life in general. A lack of the right soft skills are common and can cause school drop-out, a mis-match between the workplace requirements and the competencies of young people, psychosocial problems, attitudinal problems, or even criminality.  In addition, there is a lack of access to quality training (TVETS), and the life skills needed to be successful employees are not addressed. Young women are specifically facing challenges in the current system. In emergency situations, young people are even more in need of developing resilience: they need to deal with situations of adversity, violence and loss, and they need to gain skills to build peaceful societies.

The problem:

  • Youth unemployment challenge
  • Not the right (soft) skills
  • No quality training in TVET’s
  • Challenges of young women
  • Vulnerability of people in emergencies

The solution

To close the skills gap, more attention for the universal life skills is needed.  Life skills focus on the development of social and emotional skills; the development of the whole person. (holistic approach). While strengthening the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills of young people, it helps building resilience and prepares them to be successful in work, communities, and life in general. To address the life skills gap, with specific attention for the challenges faced by young women, a quality life skills curriculum is needed. Trainers also need to be equipped with the competencies to create a safe learning space and the skills to use creative and participatory methodologies to teach life skills and address sensitive topics related to sexual and reproductive health rights and sexual and gender-based violence.

The solution:

  • Attention for life skills
  • Building resilience
  • Prepare young people for life and work
  • Attention for the needs of young women
  • Create safe learning spaces

Edukans approach

Teaching young people life skills is crucial to address the youth unemployment challenge, prepare young people to deal with challenges in the fast-changing modern world, to become a generation of young people who will be successful in their communities, work, and life in general.  Edukans life skills program does exactly this, while building on the needs and priorities of the communities, specific needs of young women, and adapting local contexts – and working with all important stakeholders.

Edukans approach:

  • Addressing the youth unemployment challenge
  • Teaching life skills: training trainers
  • Prepare a generation for a better quality of life
  • Build on needs and priorities of the community
  • Attention challenges of women

Life skills

Life skills focuses on the development of social and emotional skills, including Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Life skills equip youth to be successful and deal with the challenges of the fast-changing world. Life skills is part of our comprehensive approach to address the challenge of youth unemployment and helps to build resilient youth who will be successful in their community, work and life. Life skills equips trainers with the competencies to create a safe learning space, and the skills to use creative and participatory methodologies to teach life skills. With a master training model, we work with partners and TVET-trainers, who will be training the final target group of youth. In addition, we can also offer the same trajectory to companies who want to equip their staff with the right life skills.

Edukans approach

We equip trainers with the competencies to create a safe learning space, and the skills to use creative and participatory methodologies to teach life skills. Our life skills approach is characterized by:

  • Active & Participatory approach
  • Integrated delivery and holistic approach of life skills
  • Contextualized and tailor-made programs
  • Gender sensitive approach

Active and participatory approach

The active and participatory approach that we use in the design of our life skills lessons, and in the trainings of trainers, ensures that both young people and trainers gain the right knowledge, attitude and skills. Our program is based on the needs and priorities of the young people of today and their communities, and is connected to the eco-system of the educational centres and employment opportunities.

Training trainers and master training

The trainers of life skills are key in training these young people, therefore we provide a master-training model and we focus extensively on building the capacity of trainers. We equip trainers with the competencies and skills to use creative and participatory methodologies to teach life skills and to create a safe learning space. Not only do we equip trainers with the competencies to work with young people, trainers also work on their own resilience and empowerment by working on life skills.

Life skills trajectory

We offer a 7 steps life skills trajectory:

  1. a needs assessment with young people, education institutions and employers;
  2. adaption and contextualization of the life skills module;
  3. involvement of the eco-system (including community, employers, and relevant stakeholders);
  4. training of trainers/facilitators;
  5. coaching towards sustainability; and
  6. assessment of impact
  7. document learnings for future programming (continuous improvement)

Impact

Our life skills program equips participants with the skills to be confident young people, with interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge and skills, in order to build a successful career and thrive in all spheres of life. We aim to contribute to a generation of resilient young people, who are ready to deal with the challenges and adversities that are part of the fast-changing modern realities.

Impact for young people

  • equipping participants with the skills to be confident young people;
  • with interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge and skills;
  • in order to be successful in work and thrive in all spheres of life;
  • a contribution to a generation of resilient young people, who are ready to deal with the challenges and adversities that are part of the fast-changing modern realities;
  • improving self-confidence of young people;
  • improving self-motivation of young people;
  • supporting them in getting a job and earning money;
  • Improving the quality of life of young people

 Value for trainers

Trainers who are trained in life skills, become more confident and resilient themselves. The training focusses on understanding the importance of all life skills, including those relating to the personal development of trainers. Being the right role-model for students is a crucial part of life skills. Trainers are thus becoming more confident and empowered, they learn how to work together more effectively and to create the right environment for their students to thrive. Trainers do not only learn to work with the life skills curriculum, but also how to use a range of active and participatory methodologies throughout their teaching practice.

Value for government

Life skills is also extremely interesting for the government. After all, it increases young people’s chances on the job market because they have already developed skills that directly meet the needs and wishes of potential employers, be they companies, organizations or government institutions.

Value for employers

For employers, it is crucial that their employees have not only the right technical knowledge and skills, but also an attitude and competence to work well with others and to do their job in a responsible way. Employees need to be able to manage themselves well (time management; anger management), to work well in a team, and to be part of a healthy and safe work environment (free from discrimination, conflict, and sexual harassment). The life skills program focusses on those skills that young people need to become part of a healthy and efficient work environment. By embracing Life skills, companies also contribute to corporate social responsibilities. Companies that recognise the value of Life skills can also offer this approach within their organisation to their existing employees.