Life Skills Collaborative: Empowering 30 Million Students with Equitable Education in India

Students studying essential life skills in India through Life Skills Collaboration's programming

This Story of Impact is part of our United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) feature series. Download our latest report on the SDG Giving Landscape.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The seventeen SDGs are integrated—they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

These six Stories of Impact feature the top three most funded and bottom three least funded SDGs by CAF America donors. More information can be found in our SDG Giving Landscape Report released in January 2024.

Life Skills Collaborative (LSC), a group of eighteen organizations with multi-sectoral expertise across education, skill development, and gender studies, works to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for 30 million students across India. Partnering with four state governments to contextualize and mainstream life skills for children, they use a holistic, evidence-based approach to equip students with the skills they need to thrive, while also taking into account the cultural nuances and perspectives that each individual brings to the table.

They are doing this by a “life skills glossary” to define a common vocabulary for educators and students, collecting data on a wide range of voices sharing quality insights around across India, and conducting assessments across systems, teachers, and students to determine current knowledge levels.

“The Life Skills Collaborative has an ambitious target of mainstreaming life skills in public education in India. For that we have eighteen organizations come together. CAF America has been instrumental in helping us structure this work by means of a DAF that allows funds from our multiple funders to get organized and payments aligned to the agreed deliverables and milestones. The CAF America team has been prompt and very supportive in ensuring that payments happen timely for everyone.”

Life Skills Collaborative

Partnership with CAF America

To facilitate funding of LSC, CAF America created a unique DAF model that allowed multiple funders to participate as advisors to a single fund. And, because LSC is a collaborative of eighteen organizations, our DAF can organize grants to each participating grantee while keeping all funds organized and compliant. We were also able to phase our funding to line up with milestones agreed to in multi-year grant agreements. These innovations supported a complex funding vehicle that has facilitated over $2.4 million in grants to the collaborative to date, providing vital funding for multiple major projects.

One such project involved the development of two contextualized life skill assessment tools for adolescents. These tools assess eighteen skills between them and have been defined in the LSC Glossary which has a total of 52 skills. These tools have so far been implemented across three Indian states, in the languages of the state, with over 200,000 adolescents. In another project, data from the community was collected from 63,000 stakeholders that included young people and their parents. This was collected from across fifteen states and in eleven languages and provides information on how young people understand life skills.


As we continue to navigate promoting equitable, quality education and lifelong learning opportunities, Life Skills Collaborative stands out as a model for building public assets to help mainstream life skills across India for its youth to navigate adversity, grow, and thrive.

Download the SDG Giving Landscape Report here, and learn more about the great work done by organizations we support by viewing our other Stories of Impact.

About the Author

  • Margot Cunningham

    Margot Cunningham serves as CAF America’s Officer of Marketing and Communications. Her responsibilities include planning, creating, and implementing marketing and communications strategies, with a focus on building awareness of our mission and engaging prospects and donors with long-form content and event opportunities.

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