Most people ask, what exactly are life skills and are they any different from soft skills or are they just one and the same?
While Life Skills are defined as competencies acquired through learning and/or direct life experience which enable individuals to deal with the demands and challenges of life, Soft Skills on the other hand are interpersonal attributes which characterise a person’s relationship with other people. Both are equally important in their own way and necessary in one’s personal and professional life. They’re essentially tools in a tool box that you’d require as you walk through the journey that is life every single day.
Let’s have a look at the Tools of Life we call Life Skills. The United Nations and the World Health Organization have identified ten critical skills that are essential for personal development. They are broadly classified into three types of core life skills:
They are the mental ability to use and process information, make decisions and come up with new ideas. Thinking skills are required to make sense of experiences, solve problems, question the world around us, make plans or organise oneself. Effective thinking enables one to connect and integrate new experiences into your understanding and perception of how things are.
Some of the thinking skills such as decision making and self awareness help young people to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses. They ensure that young people can discern what’s right and wrong and understand their capabilities and limitations.
These skills are essentially the knowledge of how to behave in society, how to positively interact and communicate with others.
Developing social skills requires understanding,concentration, language comprehension, engagement in self motivated activities and self regulation.
Having these skills enables young people to understand what is socially acceptable and appropriate at what times.
These skills refer to the ability to recognise, express and regulate one’s emotions and those of other people which is an integral part of interacting with others. Emotional skills are responsive to change, dependent on situational or environmental factors and can be developed through a series of learning experiences.
These skills help young people to learn self control to recognise their own needs, to be assertive when it comes to boundaries, to build successful relationships, to take care of their well-being and to live a life that they enjoy. This is most useful with matters regarding professional development, body autonomy, reproductive health and building relationships with others.
Essential Life Skills Requiring Application of The Three Core Skills
The essential life skills are those that are used in all facets of daily life, whether they be personal or professional, beginning as soon as the day breaks. Budgeting, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and knitting are a few examples of skills that can be used at home or at work. Professional skills include financial management, investing, saving, workplace management, and administrative tasks.
Some of the essential life skills influencing an individual through the information they consume, cultural setting, religious beliefs and the surrounding environment are:
- GBV mitigation skills
- Sexual Reproduction skills
- Mental Health skills
- Digital literacy skills
- Financial Literacy skills
- Legal skills
Skills Maishani aims to mentor young people and equip them with the knowledge on essential life skills influenced by social and environmental factors. These include; how to keep safe online and offline, their reproductive health, financial literacy and legal life skills. These areas require use and nurturing of critical thinking skills, social and emotional skills developed through fun and interactive ways of engagement where they get to learn from their peers.
Life Skills Development Methods at Skills Maishani
Focus Group Discussions
Focus groups encourage participants to engage each other directly by discussing and coming up with new ideas on their own initiative. They can also be used to get reactions, insights, opinions, preferences regarding a variety of issues.
Games and Play
Open discussions inclusive of games and play increases knowledge retention and keeping attention high during sessions. Game based learning sparks enthusiasm among young people and ultimately achieves the best results in ensuring that they provide a refresher for what is learnt. Games such as puzzles and board games make learning fun and enhance information retention.
Storytelling is the easiest way young people may bond with each other through life experiences. It creates an emotional attachment between the people and the characters in the story. They introduce new ideas, push them to rethink, reevaluate their assumptions and motivate young people to set boundaries in their lives.
Visual aids help young people make sense of the content, increasing their ability to retain information better by associating ideas, words and concepts with images.
Learning through acting requires young people to act out scenarios simulating situations in real life.
The life skills offered at Skills Maishani integrate the core life skills with social problems to offer life experience based type of skills which would eventually create positive outcomes in their lives through better decision making, self awareness and knowledge on how to circumnavigate issues in their social and their professional lives.