By Elias Hakizimana.
Experts say that the knowledge of children from 0-3 years old and their future education grow at a very significant level when they gain time to play and interact with their fathers as they do with the mothers, yet, fathers’ engagement is still low according to the new study.
The baseline study conducted by Save the Children-Rwanda through the programme dubbed ‘INTERA ZA MBERE’ revealed that Children do not get enough time to interact with their fathers as they do with their mothers and other caregivers.
During the period of this study, it was shown that in 61% of households examined, mothers tried while only 20 percent of fathers played with their children; and 16 percent played with other caregivers (house helps, etc).
This scenario has pushed child right activists and other Early Childhood Development (ECD) stakeholders to take action in encouraging male parents to be engaged in supporting the growth of their children by trying to find a short period to play and interact with them in order to increase their brain development.
The study which was conducted in by Save the Children with the National Early Childhood Development Program (NECDP) in December 2019– on ‘Male Engagement in Early Childhood Development of a child’ was presented in Kigali on March 04th, 2020 and the event gathered together various ECD programme’s stakeholders.
Its main objectives were to identify gender-based social and cultural barriers, behaviors and norms that limit the success of male involvement in integrated Early Childhood Development to enforce care giving initiative as the responsibility of both fathers and mothers.
Monica Abimpaye, Research Unit Director in Save the Children Rwanda told the media that they want to sensitize fathers to engage more in their children’s early development and interact with them.
“They can do it by playing with them, singing, telling them stories. We know that fathers use to go out of their homes and it can be better to go with the child as it helps a child to identify the outside environment from the home; which also helps his/her brain to develop quickly,” Abimpaye said.
She added that they have encouraged male mentors who understand this concept to guide their colleagues in doing activities that boost children’s development.
“Men do not interact more with children as some of them may think that the mothers’ care is enough which is not true. So, we take this opportunity to encourage men in contributing to their children’s early development” said Declerces Zaninka, Head of department, NECDP, adding that they engage different partners and they are preparing a campaign which will basically approach fathers and sensitize them about what should be their role in the ECD programme.
Studies revealed that The brain of babies keeps growing to about 80% of adult size by age 3 and 90% – nearly full grown – by age 5.
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