UNICEF CAFÉ Kick Off with Fathers Sharing Experiences

06 July 2018
Parenting
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2018/bsoares

UNICEF calls for investment in family-friendly policies that support early childhood development including paid paternity and maternity leave, free pre-primary education, and paid breastfeeding breaks

Dili, 14 June 2018 –   Fathers from various professional backgrounds shared their experiences in
a meeting today organised by UNICEF Timor-Leste to celebrate Father’s Day. Charged with emotion, the first ever UNICEF Café brought together fathers from various professions to share their personal accounts as a father to the audience.

Cesar da Costa Lourdes, Celebrity Chef, Gil da Costa, President of RTTL, Ambassador Peter Roberts OAM, Australia, Silvino Lopes, National Director of System and Publicity, National Directorate of Statistics and Francez Suni, Director Information, GMN TV joined as panellists to the event and shared their personal experiences with the audience and exchanged views.

“Early moments matter in the life of any child,” said Valerie Taton, Representative, UNICEF Timor-Leste highlighting the role of parents in her introductory speech.  

“Both parents, including fathers, need support to be able to play their role, so it is important to have family-friendly policies that support early childhood development – including paid paternity leave – to help provide parents with the time, resources and information they need to care for their children,” she continued. 

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

Facilitated by celebrity anchor Anito Matos, the discussion highlights the important role of fathers in child rearing and caring, especially at the young age. Children also shared their expectations about their fathers through a home video produced by jointly produced by parents and children.

Ninety-two countries do not have national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies, including India and Nigeria – which all have high infant populations. In comparison, other countries with high infant populations, including Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all have national paid paternity leave policies – albeit offering relatively short-term entitlements. 

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Notes to Editors:
UNICEF was provided the list of countries with and without paid paternity leave policies by the WORLD Policy Analysis Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Population figures come from 2017 UNPD. The full list of countries without paid paternity policies can be viewed here. 

The following countries all have policies that either reserve longer paid leave for fathers or provide financial incentives for fathers to take longer leaves, which benefits fathers’ long-term involvement in their children’s development: Germany, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Republic of Korea, and Sweden. 

Media contacts

Rukshan Ratnam
Communication Specialist (English)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +67077231103
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1820
Antonio Gomes
Communication Officer (Tetum)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +670 7723 2441
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1821

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