Engaging South African fathers with programme interventions and policies

This paper is an extract from a programme brief that was presented at the 2019 African Child Trauma Conference. The original programme brief, produced by Sonke Gender Justice and UNICEF SA, is available online and contains a more comprehensive review of programmes.

Families, parents and caregivers play a vital role in child well-being and development. The family, for example, plays the primary socialisation role in establishing a child’s identity. It is the family that also provides children with love, care, provision and protection. Having said this, while families can be the greatest source of support for children; they may also be a source of harm. This holds particularly true for South Africa, where violence against children remains alarmingly high and children continue to experience corporal punishment and emotional abuse in their own homes by parents or other caregivers. Fathers are an often misunderstood element within this context of South African families, yet fatherhood is an important entry point towards improving children’s lives. This paper delivered at the 2019 African Child Trauma conference was written by Wessel van den Berg from Sonke and Gloria Khoza from UNICEF SA to describe interventions and policies to support gender equal and non violent fatherhood in South Africa. The paper draws significantly on this programme brief on the same topic produced by Sonke Gender Justice with support from UNICEF SA.

Read the full 2019 conference publication.