Education and adolescent development

Overview: Education and adolescent development

Early Childhood Development

Child friendly schools

Sport for development

Girls & boys education movement





Fathers are one of the best, yet most underutilized child development resources – UNICEF

UNICEF South Africa/2018
© UNICEF South Africa/2018
"Many men can have children, but it takes a real man to be a Father!" Zakes Bantwini​, UNICEF Celebrity Advocate.

In honor of June Father’s Day commemorations UNICEF South Africa will be launching the second phase of its “Worth It” Campaign with Zakes Bantwini, Danny K and Kabelo Mabelane to share their experiences of parenthood

SOUTH AFRICA, 16 June 2018 – As Father’s Day is celebrated across the world this month, UNICEF launched the second phase of its “Worth it” campaign. The campaign, in its second year, is being conducted in partnership with musicians Zakes Bantwini, Danny K and Kabelo Mabelane.

The three musicians are fathers to young children and share their experiences this father’s day in a video to be broadcast at Ster Kinekor cinema halls from 20 June onwards.

‘A Superdad is a father who’s there from day 1’, said Kabelo Mabelane. ‘Be a present dad and you’re Superdad’, said Zakes Bantwini. ‘You just have to show up!’, said Danny K.

In addition, UNICEF also launched a parenting site and a tutorial as part of the global “Superdad” campaign recognizing fathers’ role in their children’s early development. UNICEF 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.

“More than just a second parent or an extra set of hands, fathers are one of the best child development resources we have, and if we are going to give children the best start in life, we all need to fully recognize and utilize this role,” said UNICEF Chief of Early Childhood Development Dr. Pia Britto.

The online site will bring together fathers from across the world to share their parenting tips, their struggles, their needs, and their successes. It will also feature ‘mini parenting master classes’, the first of which features UNICEF Global Chief of Early Childhood Development Dr. Pia Britto explaining to Sesame Street’s Grover the importance of protection, stimulation and good nutrition for healthy brain development.

The Father’s Day campaign is intended to remind parents everywhere that when fathers nurture their young ones in their earliest years of life – by providing love and protection, playing with them, and supporting their nutrition – their children will learn better, have less behavioural issues, and become healthier, happier human beings.

UNICEF is also using Father’s Day to renew its call to break down cultural and financial barriers preventing fathers from spending quality time with their young children.

“There is no time more critical for brain development than the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, and there’s a growing body of evidence that fathers hold a huge stake in this process. Yet this evidence is not being matched with investment in the support that fathers urgently need to step-up and be the best they can be,” said Britto.

UNICEF South Africa/2018
© UNICEF South Africa/2018
Musicians Danny K, Zakes Bantwini, and Kabelo Mabelane.

Advances in neuroscience have proven that when children spend their earliest years of life – particularly their first 1,000 days – in a nurturing and stimulating environment, their brains can develop at optimal speed. These neural connections determine a child’s cognitive ability, their health and happiness, how they learn and think, their ability to deal with stress, and their ability to form relationships. Good nutrition, protection, play and love in early childhood spark these neural connections in children’s brains.

Research suggests that when fathers are able to bond with their babies from the very beginning of life, they are more likely to play a more active role in their children’s development, and will have better psychological health, self-esteem and life-satisfaction in the long-term.

The Lancet’s Series, Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale, launched in October 2016, revealed nearly 250 million children under 5 were at risk of poor development due to stunting and extreme poverty. The Series also revealed that programmes promoting nurturing care can cost as little as 50 cents per capita per year when combined with existing health services.

# # #

About ‘Worth it’

The ‘Worth it’ initiative is 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.

Take a look at this Father’s Day UNICEF South Africa video featuring Zakes Bantwini, Kabelo Mabelane and Danny K:


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For more information, please contact:
Sandra Bisin, UNICEF South Africa, email:





Make a donation


 Email this article

unite for children