Special program helps single fathers take positive role in the care of their children

The Ripple Institute in collaboration with the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission of UNESCO, have implemented a 12-month $69,000 program funded by UNESCO aimed at changing attitudes of fathers towards family life. According to National Commission (UNESCO) Secretary General Antonio Maynard, the program is advancing a shift in male attitudes.

“There is a paradigm shift right now in St. Kitts and Nevis, and I guess throughout the Caribbean, where fathers these days are taking more responsibility in caring for their children. This is a phenomenon that is growing, so because this is happening, it is important that the fathers are educated to live up to that kind of challenge,” said Maynard.

The Ripple Institute is an NGO founded by Dr. Izben Williams that deals mainly with the care of children, and through education and training, the program is helping to empower single fathers to have a positive influence on their children.

In carrying out the program, Maynard said they have implemented a program that will be useful to fathers in their interaction with their children.

“We recruited and selected 150 single fathers in the federation. We have them under training in various workshops and seminars, as well as regular classroom sessions. They cover topics like the legal rights of a father, basic education in Math and English, ITC and technology. At the end of the day, these fathers will be able to help out their children in terms of basic skills in education,” Maynard explained.

Representative of the Ripple Institute and project coordinator Ruth Thomas stated, “The fathers will explore the four key elements of effective parenting: nurture; structure; recognition and empowerment over the next 8 months and will be exposed further over the following months with group activities.”

During the recent launch, Chief Education Officer Clarice Cotton described the program as a unique and unusual opportunity and told fathers to take full advantage of being involved in such a program.

“Even allow your children to attend the ceremony as you graduate from this program in a few months,” Cotton said, “Even that will be very meaningful to them and likely to impact them positively. They will be proud of you.”

Maynard indicated that the UNESCO funding is for 12 months, and he is hoping that other institutions, perhaps locally, can join to make it a sustainable program.

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