Under the auspices of Ghada Wali, Egypt’s Minister of Social Solidarity, and in cooperation with UNICEF, an awareness campaign on early childhood development, focusing on the role of the father, was launched in Cairo last week under the hashtag: #EarlyMomentsMatter.
The campaign is intended to remind parents everywhere that when fathers nurture their young ones in their earliest years of life, by providing love and protection, playing with them, and supporting their nutrition, children learn better, have less behavioural issues, and become more successful human beings.
The campaign offers parenting tips, information as well as training material explaining the importance of protection, stimulation and good nutrition for healthy brain development. It also encourages fathers to share their parenting experience, their struggles, their needs, and their successes.
“There is no time more critical for brain development than the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. When fathers bond with their children early on in their lives, they provide them bigger opportunities to develop their cognitive and psychological abilities,” Ms Wali said. “It is our collective responsibility as government, international and national organisations, civil society and private sector, to work within all communities to give parents and caregivers of babies the resources and information they need to provide children with the best start in life.”
“Fathers have a critical role to support their children and help them thrive. They contribute immensely to their emotional security as well as social and cognitive development.” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Egypt. He added: “Engagement with fathers produces outcomes for fathers, children and the whole family, including reduced contact with juvenile justice, less reliance on aggressiveness, reduced teen pregnancy, higher educational attainment and a reduced rate of divorce.”
In a video supporting #EarlyMomentsMatter, UNICEF Egypt’s Ambassador Actor Ahmed Helmy gave a personal account on his experiences as a parent and how the normal, everyday moments of “care, love and play” are often the most special when it comes to parenting. The #EarlyMomentsMatter campaign, which launched from the Ministry of Social Solidarity, is also einfluencers.ndorsed by contributions from parenting experts, celebrities and media.
Good parenting in early childhood, especially during the first 1,000 days, sparks neural connections in children’s brains, laying the foundation for their future successes. Research suggests that when children positively interact with their fathers, they have better psychological health, self-esteem and life-satisfaction in the long-term.