Super Dads, a new UNICEF initiative launched on 6 June 2017 celebrates fathers around the world.
In June 2017, UNICEF launched the Super Dads initiative to highlight the fundamental role that fathers play in their children’s early development. Children’s formative years are critical for their cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. What children experience in the earliest days and years of life shapes and defines their futures.
In western Uganda, Zeverio Bihande Kibingo, cradling his 2-year-old son Kule, looks after his five children while his wife works.
“I take the small ones to school. When they get back at 3 p.m., the food is ready for them. We all eat together,” he said.
Mark Apono, with his 22-month-old son, Michael Angelo Welo, lives at a hospital compound in Napak District, northern Uganda.
“[S]pending time with your child, you learn a lot. The better you understand your child, the easier it gets,” he said. “It’s these early days that matter.”
Moses Mugaruta, with his daughters Pretty, 5, and Abigail, 4, whom he walks home from preschool, lives in Kabale District, western Uganda. Mr. Mugaruta is doing everything in his power to make them feel safe.
“You just have to be there for them, and they have to know you care,” he said.
Loli Lowakabong dances with 2 of his 19 children, daughter Nayo Lomerimeri, 5, and son Akol Lothiyakwang, 3, in Nakipomia Village, Napak.
“I tell them traditional stories … then act the stories out and sing and dance around our house,” he says. “… I teach them about good relationships.”
Grandparents, friends and other family members play a vital role in providing young children with all the elements of early childhood development. Francis Katsigazi continues to farm so that his grandchildren, including, Blessed , 4, can get everything they need in their early years.
Nachadee Lokwabong, comforting one of his sons, Steven Kibet, 2, at home in Amudat District, has two wives — who recently gave birth in the same month.
He said: “To ensure [that] my children become the people I want them to be, I keep them safe and healthy.”
In Nakipomia Village, Alice Aguma, one of Loli Lowakabong’s four wives, is pregnant with his 20th child. Despite having a big family, Mr. Lowakabong is confident that his children will have the love, play and care they need to succeed.
“I provide for my family first, always,” he said.
Father-of-two Fred Zake, in Kabale, plays with his daughter, Beyonce, 5, as his wife, Abasa Navassa Prossie, watches from the doorway.
“We also do clapping and dancing together,” he said. “I lost both my parents when I was 6 years old. This compelled me to be there for my children.”
Vera Edna, 7, who has two siblings, chats with her mother and father, Annette and Edward, at home in Kasese District in western Uganda.
“When I look at my kids, I take them as my treasure. I make sure that their environment at home and school are safe,” Edward, who is a teacher, said.
Children who do not live with their parents can get the love, protection and stimulation they need from their caregivers. Jonathan Mbusa, in Kasese, has created a healthy, nurturing environment for the youngest of his 18 grandchildren, Asinet Musoki, 3, with whom he grows vegetables.
“When my child is distressed, I gently rock him and sing a song … to him. I give him kisses. He becomes happier, which makes me happier as well,” first-time father Abraham Loru, cradling his 3-week-old son, Angolere, in Napak said.
For every child, early moments matter.