Siaya County First Lady Rosella Rasanga who also doubles up as the Patron of Nurturing Care Project has lately arranged for county wide sensitisation of male champions in Siaya County to integrate this other gender in the discussion around the first 1,000 days of a child.The sensitisation that was carried out in all the wards in the County brought together men from all walks of life and of different professions.
This was done to ensure that men are brought on board in the journey of Nurturing Care because of the critical role they play in the growth and development of a baby. Indeed, fathers have an incredibly important role to play in building their children’s brains. According to research all it takes is nurturing talk and responsive interaction.
‘It is important that we acknowledge the fact that when dad’s actively engage with their babies and toddlers, they positively impact their children across a wide range of outcomes including cognitive, language and executive function skills,” said Rosella.
The participants were so active and took part in the discussions to give their ideas and views with most of them clearly showing regrets on their previous actions. According to them, they assumed that men only came in to support the family financially and left the role of caregiving to the mothers.
“I do not even remember the last time I held my daughter in my arm, she is three years old and most times I leave the house early in the morning and get back late at night when she is already asleep,” confessed a boda boda operator.
The First lady reminded the male champions that there was so much that each of them could do to aid in the kids development. “You can build your children’s brains with every word you speak to them and every warm interaction you share,” she urged.
The first three years are incredibly important for life-long learning and development and the period is a window of opportunity fathers can exploit to ensure that the children are given a chance to realize their fundamental promise according to the project concept.
With the high rise in numbers of teenage pregnancies in the Country following the Corona Virus pandemic, the male champions were encouraged to be watchful of their daughters and ensure their needs are provided for because most cases are blamed on poverty and young girls lacking basic needs like sanitary towels forcing them into early sexual activities to get finances.
With Ugenya and Ugunja being in the lead in the increasing numbers and high cases of early pregnancies in Siaya County, various participants during these sensitisation sessions supported the idea of the formation of a multi-sectoral teenage pregnancy task force and Sensitization of County Leadership on Teenage Pregnancy situation to gain their commitment on the mitigation measures.
The First lady commited to making sure that sensitization of parents/caregivers and community at large on Nurturing Care for Early childhood Development is done through Chiefs’ Barazas, places of worship and political forums. She also said it will be important to work closely with the children’s office to ensure justice for those who fall victim of teenage pregnancies.