The Tug-of-Life

The Tug-of-Life

South AfricaSouth Africa
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

A book,methodology & initiative.Empowering you to take control of your life by identifying challenges & choices & coming up with your own solutions & game plan.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Life’s ever-changing challenges have been given rope to tug people’s lives away from the outcomes that they desire. The challenges have overwhelmed people of all ages into doubting their own ability to successfully find solutions, make responsible decisions, manage their emotions and take control of their lives. Confusion is ripe with regard to clearly mapping out the challenges, choices and solutions. People are not equipped with the right tools and necessary skills to enable them to trust themselves and use empathy to give input, lead, create value and actively participate as a player on the field of life.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Tug-of-Life is a simple handbook and methodology that can be used widely and uniquely in communities that engage and problem-solve with it. It equips children, adolescents and adults with tools to: think responsibly and proactively about life, identify their challenges, recognize their choices and actively find solutions. It enables people to constructively map out the contests faced on life’s playing field, thereby allowing everyone to choose and utilize those inherent skills that need practice, in order to ‘tug’ life in the right direction through wise choices. Tug-of-Life material provides a new way of thinking that empowers people to trust themselves, jump off the bystander fence and take control of their life, by developing care and concern for both themselves and others, thereby advancing empathy.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Having the tools to formulate a proactive game plan enables people to win what can feel like a rat race of endless obstacles. Instead of experiencing the overwhelming confusion that results in poor decision making and much distress, engagers with the Tug-of-Life use a simple solution-driven approach to face challenges and make wise choices that direct them toward success. Learners, educators, parents, families and communities are empowered with the right tools to actively seek solutions for themselves. With the Tug-of-Life, you trust your ability to make responsible decisions based on sound judgements, and you look forward to a fulfilled future where past mistakes do not determine future outcomes. For the last 7years, Life Talk has successfully been raising awareness and providing individuals, schools and families with a solutions-based approach to life’s challenges, through talks, workshops, projects and initiatives based on the Life Talk books. Life Talk’s solutions have empowered people to view themselves as problem-solvers and to motivate others to do the same. The Tug-of-Life uses the previous Life Talk success as a platform with which to launch itself into equipping people with tools to develop empathy and its related skills, so as to unpack life’s complexities, minimize distress and live a happier, healthier life.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Tug-of-Life emphasizes the importance of ‘tugging’ together on life’s field. Peers comprise of organisations that share our goals and can become Galvanizers by applying the Tug-of-Life within their own projects, causes and initiatives (thereby increasing their impact). Goals include empowering through: problem solving, life skills, taking responsibility and action. Competitors would include organisations that strive to achieve similar aims to ours but don’t want to work with us. We have not yet identified any organisation that does exactly what we do. Our approach appears to be unique. Challenges to our success/growth could come from organisations that compete with us for funding.
About You
Life Talk
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Life Talk

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
Your role in Education


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with


How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

A book, methodology & initiative. Empowering you to take control of your life by identifying challenges, choices and game plans.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

This unique vocab & approach empowers you to tackle challenges proactively by taking control & identifying your own choices & solutions

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

We have worked with thousands of teenagers, educators and parents. The feedback shows that we are raising awareness about key challenges and solutions, and that we trigger behaviour change by getting youth thinking about choices, consequences and key aspects to focus on. Many teens (and parents) have subsequently changed their behaviour and they report that their lives are much smoother and happier. For example, teens have stopped binge-drinking, drugging, being promiscuous or bullying others. Parents have become proactive in their parenting, they take greater responsibility and they now focus on defining family values, setting and enforcing boundaries, and enhancing communication with their teenagers. We’ve also had teens who thanked us for saving their life as they had been contemplating suicide and now have hope.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

With the Tug-of-Life permeating every level of society from learners, teachers, parents and families to communities and organisations, the projected impact is huge. With the Tug-of-Life being a part of school curricula, each player will start to apply a new and proactive way of thinking about life. Using the Tug-of-Life to harness the skills inherent in each of us (that are necessary for empathy) learners will be able to galvanize their lives in the direction of success, finding solutions unique to their own interpretation of the material, thus preventing the challenges from tugging them into areas of hardship and despair

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Barriers we identify are:
• Inadequate promotion of the Tug-of-Life initiative.
• Lack of funds to drive the promotion and roll out the initiatives on the scale required.
• Human resources required in each country. We need someone to manage the initiative in each country, backed up by a team of dedicated people who will then establish a network of ambassadors and supporters.
We plan to overcome this by:
a. Driving the sales of the Tug-of-Life books
b. Approaching and getting buy-in from influential leaders and decision makers, organisations, governments, media and celebrities.
c. Raising awareness about how powerful our material is in helping one to find one’s own solutions by identifying life's 'contests', ultimately enabling one to tug towards a life of success and happiness.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Have 1,000,000 youth (& adults) tackling life’s dilemmas,choices & solutions,taking control & ‘tugging’ for positive outcomes

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Launch Tug-of-Life book & initiative with maximum publicity.Extensive awareness has the power to galvanise society into action.

Task 2

Life Talk books underpin Tug-of-Life & need updating with the increasing new challenges eg child-headed households,gangs etc.

Task 3

Launch extensive online awareness on Facebook,Twitter etc. engaging youth,adults,parents,educators & decision makers in debates.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Have 10,000,000 youth (& adults) tackling life’s dilemmas,choices & solutions,taking control & ‘tugging’ for positive outcomes

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Raise funding & sponsorship for awareness-building & promotion.Fund online activities,campaigns,staff,talks,workshops & expenses

Task 2

Elicit support of leaders,influential individuals & organisations etc. in galvanising youth & society into proactive thinking

Task 3

Engage,train,fund & appoint representatives to help us roll out the initiative,establishing a global network of Tug-of-Lifers.

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

After Life Talk for a Daughter’s launch, Izabella received thousands of emails from teens and parents. The “Aha!” came when a girl wrote “Thank you for saving my life. I was going to kill myself but I found your book and your chapter ‘What to do when you’ve made a mistake’ made me realize I’ll be OK”. This and other emails ignited Izabella’s passion to address the extensive yet avoidable heartache. She identified that many adolescents face a tug-of-war between challenges (such as drugs, alcohol abuse, peer pressure, promiscuity) and solutions (eg wise choices, values, boundaries, self-discipline). This inspired Izabella to write the Tug-of-Life and to launch it as a worldwide initiative to help the youth (and adults) to identify their choices and game plan for life.

Tell us about your partnerships

•ARA (Association for responsible alcohol use) a non-profit organisation whose mission is to reduce alcohol-related harm through combating the misuse and abuse of alcohol.
•Khulisa Social Solutions, an international NGO that addresses social vulnerabilities and runs interventions that include a focus on community development, crime prevention and poverty alleviation.
•SANCA (south African National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependance), an NGO whose objectives are the prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug dependency

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

In addition to SA, our target is 4 countries, with a core team of 5 members per country, responsible for the leading cities. Each city requires some 5 people to assist in developing a network of representatives, supporters and agents. So, a core team of 10 in SA plus 4 x 5 means a core team of 30. They in turn would get a network of hundreds (eventually thousands) of ambassadors established.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

•Maximum awareness, publicity and human resources in each targeted country.
•Contact with political and business leaders, media, celebrities and other influential individuals or organisations.
•Success comes once all adolescents apply Tug-of-Life terminology and thinking in their daily lives, so we have to reach as many as possible throughout the world.