After participating in PEAS’ Life Skills Programme, over 90% of girls said the skills they learned helped them to stay safe and healthy, and over 90% said they helped them to make decisions for their future (GEC-T, 2020).
Today in Sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of the population is under the age of 30. In our lifetime alone, over half of the world’s young people will be African. It is increasingly necessary for this growing population of young people to have agile and adaptable skill sets to keep pace with technological advancements and shifts in the labour market, and to proactively engage in their communities and societies.
It is critical to provide youth with the skills and knowledge they need to become catalysts of change in their own lives, their communities and beyond. PEAS believes that secondary schools provide a unique opportunity to do this.
At PEAS, we’re committed to preparing students to define and lead fulfilling and socially responsible lives after school. PEAS has high aspirations for our students’ academic success while being anchored in the reality they are likely to face after leaving school; evidence shows that the accessibility of tertiary education is low in Sub-Saharan Africa and stable employment is an “impossible dream” for many young people, particularly those from poorer backgrounds or girls. Therefore, while a PEAS education values students’ progress, it goes beyond supporting students to succeed academically. We equip our students with the skills, knowledge, and attributes they need to choose a post-secondary pathway that’s right for them – whether that’s transitioning into further education, formal or informal employment, participating in democracy, or leading a healthy and happy life within their families.
PEAS schools offer gender-inclusive extra-curricular programmes to give all students the opportunity to develop skills that prepare them for their next step. We understand the value of life skills and realise that they are not always developed through the national curricula. To address this, PEAS developed a contextually relevant, research-based curriculum to support life skills and livelihood development in schools where it’s needed.
PEAS Life Skills Programme equips students with the skills they need to thrive after they leave school. Our life skills training supports students to increase their knowledge and understanding of sexual and reproductive health, covering issues including puberty, menstrual health, sex and healthy relationships, pregnancy and raising children, mental health, drugs and alcohol, gender equality and gender-based violence. The curriculum helps students understand the challenges of early marriage and pregnancy and the benefits of delaying them. It covers a broad range of 21st century skills including critical thinking, problem solving, and financial management. According to an external evaluation, the curriculum is high quality and relevant to students lives (GEC, 2017). Students reported that it helped them to develop communication skills (94.2%), study skills (92.5%), decision making skills (90.9%), teamwork skills (88.2%) and organisational skills (88%) (GEC-T, 2021).
PEAS Livelihoods Programme provides students with the skills and opportunities they need to establish and run a business after leaving school. Students work together to design, launch, and run a school business with guidance from teachers, providing them practical experience that they can draw from once they leave school. The livelihoods curriculum includes market research, operational plans, financing, human resources, marketing, sales, and sustainability. The lesson plans are designed to ensure student groups are gender balanced and business teams challenge gender stereotypes (by ensuring that not all chairpersons are male, and not all secretaries are female, for example).
External evidence shows that PEAS Life Skills and Livelihoods Programmes are effective in developing a range of non-academic skills including lateral thinking, confidence, leadership, and problem-solving skills (Bapna, 2019). These skills not only contribute to their academic achievements, but also prepare them for future challenges, enhancing their prospects for success in different domains of life.
 The 2020 GEC-T midline asked PEAS’ female students what their future plans were. The most popular options were “get a job / seek employment” (49.3%), “enrol in a technical or vocational course” (48.2%) and “start my own business” (39.9%). With only 15.6% holding ambitions to enrol in university.