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16 August 2023 - News

Empowering Fathers for Positive Child Development

By: Regis Ahumuza, Learning and Documentation Officer

In Bidi Bidi settlement, Musa, 43-year-old father, embarked on a transformative journey that would reshape his role in both his family and community.

A peasant farmer providing for his wife and four children, Musa felt a stirring realization that he could do more to ensure a brighter future for his beloved offspring.

In the year 2021, a turning point arrived for Musa when he became a participant in the Boost for the Youngest (BFY) project, supported by Dubai Cares and implemented by Save the Children.

The BFY project is designed to improve the nurturing care framework for children aged 0 to 3, focusing on the vital components of good health, optimal nutrition, safety, responsive caregiving, and early learning opportunities.

As a male caregiver, Musa enthusiastically embraced the concept of male engagement during parenting sessions.

"The sessions on male involvement resonated deeply with me. As a father, I recognized that my active participation in my children's lives was pivotal for their holistic development—a role I had never fully embraced before." Musa says

This new found perspective led Musa to shatter conventional norms, boldly engaging in tasks traditionally assigned to women, such as collecting water, gathering firewood, and accompanying his children to health facilities.

Through this intentional shift, his relationship with both his wife and children blossomed, fostered by shared responsibilities and mutual respect.

"In comparison to the past, when I distanced myself from household activities, the bond between me, my wife, and our children has grown immeasurably stronger." Musa says

His remarkable transformation didn't go unnoticed. Musa became a beacon of inspiration for men within his community who had long held misconceptions about their roles in household chores.

His influence reached even those who hadn't participated in the BFY sessions, motivating them to advocate for greater male involvement in parenting and eagerly share the profound significance of active fatherhood in optimal child development.

Musa's dedication extended beyond his participation—he emerged as a lead parent, proactively assisting Save the Children in forming new support groups within his community.

These groups collectively engaged 80 individuals, all driven by a shared commitment to transform their mindsets for the betterment of the next generation.

Musa expressed his unwavering dedication, stating, "I consider it my duty to catalyze a mindset shift among my fellow community members, all for the brighter future of the next generation."

The impact of Save the Children's initiatives extended further through comprehensive health education sessions, impactful community campaigns, enlightening home visits, and the amplification of awareness sessions through community radios.

Harriet, a Save the Children volunteer, shared, "Our utilization of the community radio every Saturday has effectively spread awareness on nurturing care practices in the surrounding communities of Point I Mother Baby Area, reaching an even wider audience."

As Musa's journey unfolded, the transformative effects became palpable. Family dynamics improved, tensions diminished, and a culture of nurturing care began to flourish.

"Thanks to the wisdom imparted by the Dubai Cares project, harmony prevails at water fountains, and men no longer linger aimlessly as they once did." Musa says

Musa's story shows the potent impact of male engagement in driving community-led transformation.

"I extend heartfelt gratitude to Save the Children for enlightening parents and caregivers in my community on the optimal methods of nurturing children. This shift has led to a nurturing environment where children are no longer subjected to physical punishment for minor mistakes, nurturing a culture of positive parenting."