Promundo and Sonke Gender Justice launch global campaign on fatherhood

Gary Barker, Promundo’s International Director, in the MenCare campaing launch (Photo by Francisco Aguayo)

Promundo in partnership with Sonke and the MenEngage Alliance launched MenCare – A Global Campaign on Paternity on the 17th of November in Washington, USA.  The initiative aims to provide communication materials, messages, and recommendations of public policies and researches to stimulate partners, governments and UN agencies to the promotion of care and the affection of fathers with their sons.

Tatiana Moura, Promundo’s Executive Director and Mbuyiselo Botha, from Sonke Gender Justice (Photo by Francisco Aguayo)

The launch event had in its opening presentations from the Promundo’s Institute/Brazil director Tatiana Moura, and Mbuyiselo Botha, from Sonke Gender Justice, organizations which promoted the initiative. Special guests, Purnima Mane, executive director of UNFPA, Moez Doraid, coordinator of UN Women, and Donald Steinberg, vice-director of USAID, spoke of the relevance of the global campaign. Gary Barker, Promundo’s International Director closed the event, which then had the film preview clip about the campaign and a debate open to the general public.

The Mencare campaign was launched in August in South Africa and until the end of next year will reach India, Central America, Eastern Europe and Brazil. Until 2014, it should reach 10 countries. Besides images that depict situations of affection exchange between fathers and children, the materials carry the slogan “You are my father”, the proposal is that the messages and images are to be adapted to the different country’s realities.

Research data on paternity

Data from the research Men and Gender Equality (IMAGES) show that men that adopt strict gender rules don’t present reports of participation in caring for their children. Men who saw their fathers performing this role are more predisposed to do it. At the same time, women, many times, reinforce the norms that men and boys don’t know or shouldn’t perform this function. Qualitative research conducted by IMAGES (as part of the Men Who Care study ,to be launched by Promundo and by the International Center for Research on Women) confirmed that even when men carry out care giving with children, many times they don’t feel supported by their families, friends or co-workers. This makes not finding a meaning of identity in such role.

The campaign’s adaptation to Brazil

In November, Promundo began the adaptation of the Paternity global campaign with a group of young men from Morro dos Prazeres, in Rio de Janeiro. About 15 boys, between 16 and 21 years old, will produce photos on the subject to create campaign posters in Brazil.In order to create a basis for the young men view on the subject, Promundo conducted a sensitization workshop that approached themes such as, gender patterns and masculinity, sexuality, and of course, paternity. More than producing images, the initiative aims at deconstructing stereotypes and launch the questioning of gender rules and patterns that place men in a place that distances them from care giving and relations of affection with their sons.Diógenes Lima, a young man that participates in the proposal, said he is very happy to be able to multiply the campaign’s message in Brazil. Whereas Saulo Nicolai highlighted that: “It is also important that during conversations amongst friends, we can pass on ideas discussed in the workshop, for it is easier for them to listen to us and start to change their attitudes.”In December, Promundo will promote an exhibit with the young men’s photos and in 2012; ten photos will be selected as the posters of the Brazilian Campaign.

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