Fathers, Futures & The First Thousand Days

  • 59% of mothers in South Africa parent alone. 
  • South Africa has one of the highest rates of stunting in the world, leading to poor foundations for adult life. 
  • The First Thousand Days of a child’s life offer a window of opportunity to change their future, and father figures have a powerful role to play. 
  • Sikunye inspires, mobilises and equips natural communities, like local churches, to support fathers (and families) in providing the nurturing care their children need. 
  • Sikunye is hosting a giveaway celebrating #1000DayDads – with a R3000 hamper up for grabs! 

The word ‘stunting’ often evokes images of hungry children – but stunting can occur in children that lack micronutrients, psychosocial stimulation and adequate access to healthcare, and results in compromised development. At 27%, South Africa has one of the highest stunting rates in the world, meaning many of our nation’s children will not realise their full potential. But there is hope. The First Thousand Days of a child’s life offer a critical window of opportunity to change their futures. 

The First Thousand Days – from conception until a child’s 2nd birthday – are profoundly important for brain development. This is a time where the foundations are being set for future learning, social interaction and physical health. During this period, children need to receive the building blocks of love, stimulation, nutrition, security and good health, in order to thrive in their adult lives – and father figures can help ensure that they do. In fact, the positive role of father figures is linked to higher academic achievement in children, as well as increased self-esteem in girls and healthy masculinity in boys. We know that families don’t all look the same, and while a child’s biological Dad may not always be living close by, they can engage in other ways, from video calls to financial support. Dads who are engaged in their role as fathers also positively impact moms – with research showing a link between a positive paternal presence and a decrease in maternal depression.  

While South Africa has made big steps in prioritising the First Thousand Days with the adoption in 2015 of a National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy, and a number of programmes focused on maternal and newborn health, much work remains to be done. Sikunye, an initiative of Common Good, inspires, mobilises and equips natural communities, like local churches, to support fathers (and families) in providing the nurturing care their children need. To Sikunye is hosting a giveaway under the banner of #1000DayDads – with a R3000 hamper up for grabs. Through #1000DayDads we want to paint a picture of what positive fathering looks like and showcase the ways that men can be involved in providing the building blocks that all children need.

Here’s how dads can take part: 

  • SHARING a video or picture of themselves and their child enjoying an activity related to one of the building blocks – nutrition, good health, security, stimulation and love – remembering to use #1000DayDads and tagging Sikunye so we can find them!  
  • FOLLOWING @sikunye.sa on Facebook or @sikunye_sa Instagram to learn more about the First Thousand Days and keep tabs on giveaway announcements.  
  • SPREADING the message around the First Thousand Days and their potential to change the trajectory of young lives by tagging a dad they know in the First Thousand Days, or (if they belong to a local church) telling their pastors about Sikunye’s Church & Early Life webinars.  

Giveaway T’s & C’s 

  • Giveaway entries are open 21 April – 5 May (midnight SA time), and the winner will be randomly selected by Sikunye on 6 May.  
  • The giveaway is only open to those residing in South Africa who are 18+.  
  • The prize is a hamper to the value of R3000 to support families in delivering the building blocks their child needs to thrive. We’ll contact the winner directly to hear what they most need, and curate the custom hamper with items from clothes to educational toys.   
  • All entries and any copyright subsisting in the entries become and remain the property of Sikunye, and we may post videos / pictures on our social media channels.  

For More Information 

Please contact: Richard Lundie |Sikunye Programme Director 

+2784 704 8073 | richard.lundie@commongood.org.za 

If you want to learn more about the building blocks babies needs to thrive, check out https://sikunye.org.za/the-big-idea/big-idea/  

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