Impact and Innovations Development Centre (IIDC) will roll out a 5-year major social and cultural norms change intervention project that aims at bringing men, especially fathers at the centre of adequate childhood development.
The intervention project that was launched at the IIDC office in Makerere, Kampala, is to be implemented through the Responsible, Engaged and Loving (REAL) project. The project will be implemented in 43 districts across the seven regions of Uganda.
Deogratias Yiga, the Executive Director of IIDC, highlighted that their organization, together with other 10 NGOs, received a $1 million grant from the LEGO Foundation to build the necessary institutional capacity to scale up its model under the Build A World Of Play Challenge.
He said there are several challenges women and men face as parents, however, the project seeks to address the major challenge of cultural norms, socialization people get and the normative framework within men as fathers operate.
“We all grow up knowing that gender norms spell out what the role of the father or mother is. Which means that young fathers find out that they are not socialized to provide care for children adequately,” Yiga said.
Yiga noted that the project recognizes that the way society prepares men for fatherhood mainly focuses on only making them financial providers.
Society doesn’t adequately prepare men to be carers and nurturers of children, Yiga said, explaining that the involvement and participation of fathers in the process of raising children has a very transformational impact.
Therefore, the initiative is to transform the norms and equip young and first-time fathers with parenting skills. At this stage, they are open to learning, Yiga noted.
Yiga explained that the initial grant of one year will be used to prepare the ground for implementation of the project, however, if IIDC succeeds, a bigger five-year grant will be provided to roll out their interventions.
“This initial grant of $1 million will ensure that the 5 organizations which are going to be involved in the role out develop institutional and organizational capacity,” he said.
Adding: “However, if we are not successful in winning the 5-year grant, we are still prepared to attract resources from other funders beyond,”
Ramadhan Kirunda, the Technical Advisor for Monitoring, Learning & Evaluation at IIDC, noted that in terms of age group, the project is targeting young fathers approximately between the age of 16 – 25 years, or above since age is adaptable and one can be a first-time father at 30 years.
While explaining the implementation of the project, Kirunda said the model is based on a mentorship approach. The young fathers will be mentored using a manual which was tested and vetted.
The manual has components like family budgeting, early childhood development, family planning and other modules which will help these young fathers to improve in becoming good fathers.
“The mentorship is also conducted by someone who is a role model in the community. So, they will look in their communities and identify who they may want to be like. Someone who has made it and has a good family and is respected at a community level. So, we as IIDC will select people identified by these young fathers and equip them to be mentors of the young fathers,” he highlighted.
Impact and Innovations Development Centre (IIDC) is a regional technical assistance organization that supports nonprofits in East Africa to develop and implement programs that are evidence-based, effective, and sustainable.