We want to replicate this project using the same platform and strategy of engaging local women’s groups to produce dolls for fathers in various countries around the world.
150 dolls were produced - all the dolls have now been distributed among the fathers facilitators in the four Districts in Rwanda where every facilitator received 3 dolls. More than 706 fathers and fathers-to-be have used the dolls in activities with their partners related to properly holding, bathing and caring for babies.
Estimated girls & women affected
According to 2010 DHS data in Rwanda, an average household size has around 4.6 children. We estimate that each man’s training will indirectly affect at least 2 girls in his household, and 2 more outside of it, including extended family members in their lifetime.
Estimated community members affected
One year ago, you chose to support the Dolls for Dads project in Rwanda, in order to help us and the Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (RWAMREC) work with over 2,000 fathers and fathers-to-be to break gender stereotypes and take on a more active, involved role in caring for their children.
Since the project began in 2013, the Tubahumurize Cooperative in Rwanda produced 150 hand-made dolls, to help 706 expectant fathers (estimated at 2,000 by 2016) learn tangible skills like how to properly hold, bathe and care for their new babies. The Cooperative empowers socially and economically marginalized women and provides counseling services, nutritional support, skills training and access to micro-finance opportunities. To date, the cooperative has helped 387 women and over 1,000 children. The Rwana Men’s Resource Center, in partnership with the cooperative, has distributed these dolls among the fathers’ facilitators in four Districts in Rwanda where the MenCare+ project is being implemented; every father's facilitator received 3 dolls. MenCare+ is a 4-country project to increase men’s participation in sexual and reproductive, and maternal and infant health. The fathers’ groups are an integral part of the project, providing men a space to learn more about sharing decision-making at home, learning tangible skills on how to care for children, and more.
”In Rwanda there is a very rigid traditional belief that caring work, especially caring for babies, is women's role. Demonstrating that men can also care for babies and seeing men and fathers willing to role play and promising to change and start practicing this at home, it's something that impressed me very much and made me feel that the activities with the dolls were so important. Given the uniqueness and importance of this, it even attracted the interest of the media and journalists.” -Shamsi K.
Risks and challenges
The idea behind Dolls for Dads was not very clear to all in-country partners at the beginning of the project, and some individuals thought it wouldn't work and did not see its importance. The in-country staff, however, were quite curious to see how fathers in the community would perceive this. Surprisingly, the ‘caring for babies’ group activity, where the dolls were used to practice tangible caregiving skills, was the most interesting one and was much appreciated by the group participants. MenCare+,, and the group education in particular, aim at changing behaviors by addressing negative masculinities and promoting more gender equal roles.The dolls were integral in this process.
What we’ve learned
Although not part of the original proposal, working with women from the Tubahumurize Cooperative was an excellent decision. It allowed the project to have multiple benefits: supporting the local cooperative, which empowers socially and economically marginalized women, while serving its original goal of allowing men to practice non-traditional caregiving behaviors to decrease the burden of carework on their partners at home.
We would love to replicate this project in our partner countries, using the same platform and strategy of engaging local women’s groups to produce dolls for fathers around the world.
Amount spent so far
Contract with local partner to produce up to 150 dolls
MenCare blog: Dolls for dads in Rwanda
Promundo website: Dolls for Dads in Rwanda
Partnering for change
In Rwanda, Promundo and the Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (RWAMREC) aim to involve more than 2,000 Rwandan men in fatherhood group education through the MenCare+ Program (www.men-care.org/plus), in order to challenge harmful gender norms and promote men’s involvement as equitable, non-violent caregivers and fathers.
RWAMREC has partnered with the Tubahumurize Cooperative (www.rwandawomencan.org) in Rwanda to produce more than 100 hand-made dolls, to help expectant fathers to learn tangible skills like how to properly hold, bathe and care for their new babies. The Cooperative empowers socially and economically marginalized women and provides its members with counseling services, nutritional support, skills training and access to micro-finance opportunities. To date, the cooperative has helped 387 women and more than 1,000 children. The dolls are currently being produced at the cooperative’s headquarters in Kigali, and the first prototypes of the dolls are already available.
Risks and challenges
Creating dolls for dads was a challenge at first because this type of doll does not yet exist in Rwanda. The partners worked together to develop several prototypes of the dolls before getting it just right!
After using the dolls as didactic materials with men during the development of the content for the fathers’ groups, Shamsi Kazimbaya, the National MenCare+ Coordinator for RWAMREC said, “I found it very amazing and useful as it helped men to realize the importance of knowing how to hold and care for babies; many realized they were not so good at that!”
Once all of the dolls are produced, they will be put directly to use in fatherhood groups led by more than 50 trained group facilitators. The fathers groups will be piloted at the end of this year and will eventually reach at least 2,000 men by 2015.
$1,746, about 50% of the project's budget has been transferred to Promundo-US's partner organization, the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre (RWAMREC) in Kigali, Rwanda. RWAMREC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tubahumurize Cooperative. To date, about 90 dolls of 150 have been produced.
|Line Items||Original budget||Amount spent so far|
|Contract with local partner to produce up to 150 dolls.||$3,624||$1,746|
Promote gender equality in the home and overall family wellbeing by helping men participate in workshops focused on transforming norms around fatherhood and masculinity.
Why we care: Engaged, non-violent fatherhood is good for children, good for women and good for men themselves; it decreases child abuse, benefits maternal and infant health, promotes women’s empowerment and gender equality.
How we’re solving this: Supplying baby dolls to fatherhood groups to help fathers-to-be in Rwanda learn tangible skills: how to change, wash, dress and hold their babies, and other concrete caregiving skills.
Four out of five men worldwide will be fathers at some point in their lives, and nearly all the world’s men have some connection to children as stepfathers, brothers, uncles and teachers, among others.
We believe in the potential in every man, but resources and support for expecting fathers are not always available.
The MenCare Global Fatherhood Campaign has helped to implement Fathers’ Groups in Nicaragua, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. In 2013, MenCare partners will be implementing fatherhood groups in Rwanda via the antenatal care-focused health sector.
By engaging men in fatherhood and changing the way the world thinks about men’s involvement in the lives of their children, MenCare has the potential to translate change into positive, equitable and empowering benefits for their wives, their children and themselves.