David Beckham, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for 11 years - Photo Courtesy of UNICEF.
CAIRO – 9 June 2017: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched the “super dads” campaign on Tuesday, 12 days ahead of Father’s Day. The campaign is aimed at encouraging fathers across the globe to play an active part in their child’s early development.
The campaign includes prominent figures in various fields from football to entertainment. UNICEF campaign stars include football star David Beckham, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, tennis ace Novak Djokovic, English Formula One driving legend Lewis Hamilton, and actors Mahershala Ali and Hugh Jackman.
The campaign will include videos and pictures of these celebrity dads with their children, alongside a super dad story. In addition, there will moving stories of fathers raising their children under difficult circumstances. UNICEF will publish the stories through their social media.
To join the campaign you can share relevant photos and videos on the hashtag #EarlyMomentsMatter. The photos and videos will be featured in a gallery for the campaign, and UNICEF will post the best submissions on its digital platforms.
Photo Courtesy of UNICEF Egypt.
The super dads campaign encourages men to become the parent that their children deserve and need. It emphasizes the importance of love, play, protection and nutrition for the healthy development of the child’s brain. It also challenges the traditional socially-constructed roles of men as breadwinners, and highlights their role as caregivers and emotional supporters.
UNICEF utilizes the campaign as a platform to shed light on the roles of fathers, mothers, and caregivers in creating the best possible environment for children at the beginning of their lives. The campaign pays special attention to children and parents living in harsh situation like refugee camps.
The campaign also goes beyond the effect on children’s lives; it adopts a broader approach to show the impact of investment in children on the development of countries and as a result on global development.
The campaign indicates that about 250 million children under the age of five are at risk of not fulfilling their development potential if they do not enjoy positive interactions with their parents. The campaign also shows that a poor start in life can translate to 25 percent less potential income as a result. Furthermore, it shows the impact on health and education by indicating that less investment in the early years of children’s lives would result in losing up to twice what they now invest in health and education.
The campaign encourages the private sector and governments to “break down the employment and societal obstacles” that prevent parents from giving their children the highest starting point possible.
In May 2017, UN Women produced the “Understanding Masculinities: International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) – Middle East and North Africa including Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine” study. This is the first ever comprehensive study in the Arab region on the male experiences in their public and private lives and their attitudes and perception of gender norms and masculinities.
The study showed that men and women’s attitudes and beliefs begin to shape in childhood, and are influenced by the inter-generational cycle of violence and of sharing housework and childcare. Men and women follow the models established by their parents.
Fathers were found to be particularly influential in shaping children’s perceptions and behaviors. For example, men who witnessed their fathers use violence against their mothers, and men who experienced some form of violence at home as children, were significantly more prone to perpetrating intimate partner violence in their adult relationships. On the other hand, men whose fathers had participated in household work and care giving were more likely to participate in care work within their own marriages. Fathers who encouraged their daughters to work, take up non-traditional professions, and select their own husbands contributed towards gender-equal attitudes among women in the household.
UNICEF Egypt, supported by the European Union (EU), is collaborating with the National Council for Childhood & Motherhood to raise awareness about positive parenting. The campaign was launched in January 2016 to introduce alternative parenting methods that help parents raise their children in a manner that protects their physical, mental and emotional well being. The campaign materials include television spots and videos by famous Egyptian actors and actresses, as well as a dedicated hashtag #CalmNotHarm.
According to UNICEF Egypt, 58 percent of parents think that physical punishment is unnecessary in parenting.