A father’s involvement in the lives of their daughters plays a critical role in their education, safety, and self-esteem. The stronger the bond, the closer the relationship. Besides, a strong bond creates room for daughters to open up to their dads about what they want. For instance, saying no to FGM, early marriage, their school needs and their general well-being.
A brother and his sister during the dialogue
We partnered with Too Young To Wed Foundation on Father’s day to bring this Inter-generational Dialogue: Strong Dads Raising Strong Daughters in one of the remote villages, Kotulpogh village, West Pokot County. This is a village where majority of our rescued girls at Ortum Primary come from. This topic emerged as a result of the fact that, dads in the area only give out one out of their ten daughters to school, while the rest will be left out to look after camels, and goats or be married off at an early age.
According to Elias Muindi, the Programs Officer at Kenya Men Engage Alliance (KEMEA), a body that seeks to engage boys and men to promote gender equality and women empowerment. He says, the first step in fathers creating a bond with their daughters is to know each other’s names. He further says, it takes the whole society including men to end retrogressive practices that hinder the academic progress of children as well as their health.
When fathers establish a good and strong relationship with their daughters, girls will have high self –esteem and have confidence in themselves that will enable them to beat all odds and become a successful individuals. Besides, dads will be close to their daughters thus, protecting them from harmful practices like FGM and child marriage.
The event aimed at educating dads and daughters on the importance of having a close relationship, and how a good bond promotes education, and is a bridge to ending retrogressive practices like FGM and child marriage that negatively affect the health and education of children especially girls.The turnout of the event was encouraging as dads who had their children, those who did not, brothers, and fathers to be, turned out in large numbers.
Fathers and their daughters during the dialogue
From the engagement, it was evident that the dads and their daughters had a relationship but the bond was not strong. For instance, when most of the dads were asked their daughters names, they only mentioned one,and did not even know which class they were in. In the same way, some daughters knew their dads’ full name while only a few mentioned one.
A father and his daughters posing for a photo during the dialogue
This event was an eye-opener for most of the dads.One of the fathers, Mr. Loriono Achale admitted that he regrets marrying off one of his daughter.He further states that he has come to the realization that education is like a tree you plant and harvest sweet fruits at the end.
We hope to come up soon with a follow-up event; to find out the benefits that have come about with creating a strong bond between dads and their daughters.