This article was written for IOL
By Francesca Villette
The response from young fathers to workshops promoting gender equality and improving men’s caregiving skills is testament to their willingness to be a part of their children’s lives.
This is according to Kerryn Rehse, Mosaic MenCare+ manager, which offered the service to new and expectant fathers recently.
The MenCare+ programme, developed by Mosaic, and implemented by Sonke Gender Justice in 2013, allowed men to attend 12 discussion sessions where they shared their experiences related to caregiving, fatherhood, gender roles, sexual and reproductive health, family planning, and non-violent parenting.
In these discussions, trainers encouraged the participants to become actively involved in raising their children, supporting their partners and sharing the work at home.
Rehse said fathers between the ages of 18 and 35 showed great keenness for the project, which unfortunately came to an end as funds have run dry. Mosaic is, however, still open for coaching young dads in their roles as parents.
“The programme brought together new and expectant fathers, and created a space for them to explore the idea of fatherhood and ask questions. They were taught everything from how to change a nappy to how to deal with conflict they might experience with their spouses. It was a three-year pilot project and was very well received. It showed us that men want to learn how to be better fathers,” Rehse said. Some women also joined, as gender transformation was also challenged. “In order to transform the roles of men and women in the house, both needed to be present.” Trainers encouraged participants to become actively involved in raising their children, supporting their partners, and sharing the work at home.