UNICEF works to promote and protect the rights of children, including the right to survival, protection, development, and participation.
In Malawi, UNICEF has three priority advocacy issues, which are: affordable secondary education; ending child marriage, and parenting skills. Positive parenting is critical to children’s early development and education and has a lifelong impact. Fathers are just as critical to this as mothers, yet their role is often underappreciated.
The Malawi Government’s National Policy on Early Childhood Development (ECD) also provides direction for this. It recognizes that research in child development, including child psychology, sociology, biology, and brain neural science, has shown that it is during the early years of life that the development of intelligence, emotions and social relations occur very rapidly. Any irregularity in a child’s development at this stage substantially reduces their future potential. Conversely, proper attention to a child’s development in the early years helps to increase their survival, growth, and stimulation, giving them every chance for a bright future.
Why Bambo Wachitsanzo?
UNICEF’s experience in other countries has shown that public awareness campaigns can be successful in changing people’s attitudes and behaviours. The Government of Malawi together with UNICEF is conducting a one-year campaign called Bambo wa Chitsanzo or Super Dad under the Mmera Mpoyamba brand, specifically targeting fathers and looking at the positive roles they can play in the early days of their children’s lives.
UNICEF has identified three champion fathers as pioneer role models for the campaign. Malawian lawyer Davis Njobvu, lecturer Mazunzo Chimasula, and small businessman Shemison Banda are joining other ‘Super Dads’ to highlight the importance of love, play, protection and good nutrition for the healthy development of young children.
The ‘Super Dads’ initiative also forms part of UNICEF’s global #EarlyMomentsMatter campaign, which aims to drive increased understanding of how children’s environments and experiences in early childhood can shape their future health, well-being and ability to learn.
It is our hope that by sharing these positive role models, as well as practical guidelines on how fathers can support their children, we will see a widespread movement of Super Dads across the country getting more involved in their children’s lives and upbringing.