Supporting Fathers and Empowering Families in Ghana
In 2017, SPRING/Ghana started piloting Father-to-Father Support Groups in four communities in the Northern and Upper East Regions of Ghana. These groups are comprised of 15-17 men who meet twice per month to discuss family-oriented issues that include infant and young child feeding, household interaction and support, and male involvement in child welfare. These discussions are geared to improve men’s support to women within the household.
After each meeting, the men pledge to try new behaviors that will contribute to the health and wellbeing of their households, especially pregnant and lactating women and children under two years. This might mean taking on more cleaning tasks around the house to free up time for their wives to rest during pregnancy; providing nutritious food for the family; learning to identify signs of illness in their children; and providing safe transportation for their wives and children to attend health clinics. The men also bear witness to one another’s commitments, reporting on the success of their peers and helping them be accountable for their pledges.
Nigdai Ganya, a father and community health volunteer in Tajudo, Mion district, has taken his dedication to the program a step further. When asked how he could be sure that the fathers are practicing good behaviors after the meetings, he said, “I ensure fathers practice what they said during meetings by visiting them occasionally and asking their wives too.” By conducting home visits, he is supporting his peers in between meetings to ensure they are following through on their commitments. By working together to learn behaviors in a supportive group setting, these men are showing their dedication to improving the health and nutrition of their families.
SPRING is working with Ghana Health Services to systematically adopt and support these groups beyond the scope of the SPRING project. This Father’s Day, SPRING celebrates the supportive fathers in Ghana who are working to be champions for their families and for each other.