Responsible Parenting is key to Healthy society
Rutgers WPF, Pakistan in collaboration with HANDS and Visionary Foundation Pakistan held a Roundtable conference on responsible fatherhood. Under the theme, ‘I am a proud father – am I a responsible father too? on 26th June 2014 The participants of the round table conference included young people, fathers, politicians, government and civil society representatives and media personal.
“we are sensitized enough to talk about our growing up issues, but the distance and shyness between our parents lead us to seek information from unreliable sources” said a young girl at a roundtable conference on responsible fatherhood.
“talking about our sexual health, puberty and other health issues to our parents is seen as sign of shamelessness and is considered outside the boundaries of respect” said a young boy at the conference.
The Karachi round table conference on responsible fatherhood was the last in a series of conferences previously held in Lahore, Islamabad and Quetta. The conference provides a platform for young people to directly address their issues in front key decision makers including fathers, media, politicians and health care providers.
Last year Rutgers WPF, Pakistan launched an initiative “Green Ribbon Campaign: Promoting Responsible Fatherhood” across Pakistan. The campaign promotes active involvement of fathers and their responsibility for care and upbringing of children to better guide them on issues around sexual and reproductive health and rights said said Mr. QadeerBaig – Country Representative, Rutgers WPF.
Through responsible fatherhood workshops, the Green Ribbon Campaign aims to engage fathers tat community levels to bring an end to child marriages, domestic violence and create and enabling environment for young people to access youth friendly health services.
“by transforming rigid perception of our society where men are generally expected to be only providers and breadwinners while women and girls are generally expected to give care for children and be chiefly responsible for reproductive aspects of family life.” said Mr. Baig.
The round table conference aims to provide a platform to instigate discourse issues of the youth, and the role of Fathers towards their Children’s education and health.It also enables stakeholders to identity gaps between the young people needs and health care services available. The dialogue highlighted the issues that adolescents face related to their emotional, mental and physical health and the lack of right information and the risks associated with unreliable information sources.
Various literature on Youth Friendly Services by International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) and World Health Organization (WHO) guides lay stress on the need to involve community members especially parents in such interventions. Dr. YasmeenQaizi senior country advisor Packard Foundation spoke about the culture of silence that needs to be broken to bridge communication gap between fathers and young people. Absence of social support system leaves young people with questions but not access to .Lack of training of doctors to talk to young and unmarried people which results in more people going to quacks. She commended the reverse education program by Rutgers WPF as a good way to facilitate with parents.
Skip Waskinhighltied USAID supported Sindh Basic Education program with an allocation of 135 Million USD. He stressed on the importance of working with men and fathers in communities to promote girl education. It is also important to engage communities in managing and safeguarding schools to promote ownership and sustainability. Senator Karim Khwaja guarded against growing conservatism and fundamentalism in Pakistans youth and pointed towards the need for promoting education systems that provide a basic necessities along with formal education to address needs of poor communities. He promised support on legislation around sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people and emphasized the need for promoting youth friendly services. The Green Ribbon Campaign aims to promote responsive and care giving fathers for prevention of child marriages, domestic violence and to create an enabling environment for the youth to access youth friendly health services.