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Being a great father and an excellent partner

A father holds his baby so a nurse can administer a vaccination critical to her new baby’s health.

A father holds his baby so a nurse can administer a vaccination critical to her new baby’s health.

In many countries around the world, gender roles can be very rigid. This is certainly the case in Ghana, where domestic housework is considered women’s work. And their duties stop for nothing – not even childbirth!

This has a direct impact on the health of expectant mothers and their children, and can fuel the cycle of poverty. But Plan is helping to change attitudes and working to bring communities together.

Clubs just for dads and men

In Ghana, men who are married or in long-term relationships and are 18 years or older are encouraged to join Plan’s “Daddies’ Clubs.” These clubs are a way to get men involved with the health and well-being of their wives and children.

To help change men’s traditionally-held opinions and views on childbirth and parenting, Plan encourages respected community members to get involved, too, like religious leaders and chiefs – those whose opinions are highly regarded in communities.

How the clubs work

Two men from each community are selected as leaders. Next, they form a club in their community, recruiting 20-25 expectant fathers per group. At monthly meetings, men are trained to identify the dangers before, during and after childbirth and throughout the first months of a newborn’s life.

Daddies’ Clubs help prepare men for the birth of their baby. They also teach men about family planning and help them understand the importance of saving money for the arrival of their newborn.

So far, so good!

To date, Daddies’ Clubs in Ghana have had an immediate impact in the communities where we work:

  • 144 Daddies’ Clubs have been formed
  • 3,600 men have been trained
  • Men are now accompanying their partners to receive pre and post-natal care.
  • Men are helping out at home with household chores
  • Men are overcoming stigma associated with taking care of wives and children.
Things are changing at home for Kofi and Abena
Kofi helps his wife Abena sweep outside of their home in Ghana.

Kofi now does more work in the home and on the farm to support his wife and children.

Kofi 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 this common practice.

But that all changed once Kofi began 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, supportive partner.

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

This project receives financial support from the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.