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Redefining the roles of husbands and dads

Kofi helping his wife with chores

Kofi now does more work in the home and on the farm

In Ghana, as in many places in the world, gender roles are very rigid. Domestic chores and certain functions on the farm are considered women’s work. And that holds true even when women are pregnant or nursing, with babies on their backs. That has a direct impact on poor pregnancy and health outcomes for both women and children, which in turn has a negative impact on families and the community, fueling the cycle of poverty.

Fortunately, eliminating gender discrimination is one of Volta’s top priorities for development, so with your help we’ve been funding a wide range of initiatives, especially around maternal and infant health.

One of those initiatives are Daddies’ Clubs, which are helping men challenge gender stereotypes and rethink what’s in the best interest of their families. The result is that attitudes are changing and more men are stepping up to assist their wives.

Just ask Kofi, one young father who was approached to join the Daddies’ Club while his wife Abena was pregnant with their first child. With much to do on their small farm, Abena was routinely engaged in physically strenuous labour late into her pregnancy, but neither Abena nor Kofi had ever questioned the wisdom of this common practice.

That all changed when Kofi started meeting with other local husbands and fathers to talk about issues like the rights of women, gender-based violence, maternal and newborn health, and what it takes to be a caring and supportive partner.

“Thanks to the Daddies’ Club Members, I am now a changed man and enjoying my marriage,” says Kofi. Since joining the Daddies’ Club, Kofi has been assisting with domestic and agricultural chores, and Abena has delivered a healthy baby girl.

Where Abena would have been expected to carry both a heavy load with a child on her back, Kofi now takes responsibility for the majority of heavy lifting and carrying, giving his wife and daughter a much better chance of staying healthy – which makes the whole family happy and gives them a much better chance to thrive.

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