In response to the escalating HIV/AIDS epidemic, in 1998 the South African Ministry of Education mandated implementation of a comprehensive life skills education program in all secondary schools by 2005. The Life Skills Program aims to increase knowledge and develop skills to help youth protect themselves from HIV infection and to safeguard their reproductive health. Although it is too early to assess the long-term impact of this initiative, the phased implementation of life skills education provides an opportunity to assess short-term impact. To measure the effects of exposure to topics within the life skills curriculum on sexual and reproductive health knowledge and behaviors among youth, the University of Natal-Durban School of Development Studies, Horizons, The Population Council’s Policy Research Division, and Tulane University undertook a prospective study in KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa, from 1999 to 2001. This brief considers the impact of the life skills program on a population-based sample of youth in two districts in the province.
Magnani, Robert, Kate Macintyre, Ali Mehyrar Karim, Lisanne Brown, and Paul Hutchinson. 2003. "The impact of life skills education on adolescent sexual risk behaviors," Horizons Research Summary. Washington, DC: Population Council.