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Engaging fathers to secure children's rights

Many initiatives to secure children's well-being focus solely on children's rights or women's rights. While advocating for the rights of these two groups particularly vulnerable to violence and poverty is an essential part of ChildHope's work, we also recognise the importance of taking a holistic approach to children's development which will also involve working with fathers in order to secure better outcomes for children. That is why ChildHope seeks to recognise the value of father's active involvement and responsibility in promoting their children's education, health and protection.

In Brazil, ChildHope's partner Instituto Papai have been working on campaigns to promote the roles and responsibilities of fathers during pregnancy, birth and childhood as a vital means for contributing to gender equality and child rights.

Their campaign "Give Leave: I am a father!" (Da Licencia, Sou Pai!) seeks to increase Brazil's five days of paternity leave and highlight the social and institutional barriers to men's involvement in childcare, understanding paternity as a desire, a right and a commitment. Another campaign, "Unseen fathers: for the right to accompany" (Pai não é visita: Pelo direito de ser acompanhante), promotes the right of fathers to be allowed to enjoy the birth and development of their children, and to be able to share these experiences with mothers, even if they are not living together, upheld by Brazil's law 11108. Instituto Papai claims that a father's involvement in childcare should not be seen as a question of individual choice but rather one of rights, which is related to public policies on gender equality and the construction of masculine and female roles. They maintain that it is vital to create greater opportunities for men to develop skills, abilities and competencies to become involved in childcare and committed to their responsibilities to securing the rights of children.

So on this Sunday 20th June let's remember the important role that fathers play, along with mothers and other carers, in upholding children's rights and celebrate the diverse experiences of fathers globally.

Instituto Papai was founded in 1997 and works to address issues of gender inequality and human rights by working with men and boys to increase their participation in areas of young men and healthcare, fatherhood, care giving and reproductive rights, men and gendered violence, and sexual diversity as a human rights. Their innovative work on engaging men and boys from low income communities in the fight for gender equality won them the 2010 International Service Human Rights Award.

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