Lilongwe, 8 April 2019 - UNICEF, collaborating with the Government of Malawi and an expanding network of partners, have launched a ‘Super Dads’ initiative in Malawi as part of its #EarlyMomentsMatter’ global campaign recognizing fathers’ role in their children’s early development.
The campaign is part of the broader Mmera Mpoyamba initiative being implemented by the Government of Malawi under the leadership of Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare in line with the National Integrated Policy on Early Childhood Development.
“We need to break down the employment and societal obstacles that deprive fathers – and mothers – of precious time with their young children,” said Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Cecilia Chazama. “It is critical that the private sector and the CSO community join the government in this campaign to give parents and caregivers of babies the time, resources and information they need to give children the best start in life.”
The launch took place at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) and was graced by the Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Services, Honourable Cecilia Chazama, MP.
Malawian lawyer Davis Njobvu, lecturer Mazunzo Chimasula and entrepreneur Shemison Banda have joined other ‘Super Dads’ to highlight the importance of love, play, protection and good nutrition for the healthy development of young children’s brains.
By getting involved in his children’s activities hoping to inspire them, Davis Njobvu wants his kids to learn as much as they can from him. “I teach my children to appreciate the love, blessings and everything that we have as a family and never to take anything for granted. Other than that, we just enjoy life together. As a rule, anything that I want my kids to learn, I have to show them how to do it!” he said.
The child rights organization is calling for more support for fathers globally, including for policies that give parents the time and resources they need to spend quality time with their children.
“The earliest years of life present a critical, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape children’s brain development – and it’s their parents who hold the largest stake in this process. We encourage fathers in Malawi to be active alongside mothers in raising their children together as a family,” said Johannes Wedenig, UNICEF Representative in Malawi.
Good parenting in early childhood, especially during the first 1,000 days(entire pregnancy period up to 2 years), sparks neural connections in children’s brains, laying the foundation for their future successes. Research suggests that when children positively interact with their fathers, they have better psychological health, self-esteem and life-satisfaction in the long-term. When children spend their first 1,000 days of life in a nurturing, stimulating environment, new neural connections form at a speed never to be paralleled in later life.
Recent studies have shown that fathers who are actively involved in the upbringing of their children have a positive impact on their child’s brain development. By simply spending time nurturing and playing with their child, fathers can give their children the best start in life.
“The more fathers, mothers and other family members shower their babies and young children with love, play, good nutrition and protection, the better these children’s chances are of good healthy, happiness and learning ability. Good parenting for young children living in highly stressful conditions like conflict or extreme poverty can even provide a buffer, helping them to fully develop despite adversity,” said Wedenig.
Note to Editors
The ‘Super Dads’ initiative forms part of UNICEF’s #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, ability to learn, and even how much they will earn as adults.
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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.