It began as an initiative of the Swedish Embassy in Pakistan at the end of March. As a sequel to the concept #pakistanipapas from 2018, the competition “pakistani papas in quarantine” was announced with the invitation: Show us how you keep your children busy during the quarantine. Soon the embassy got a lot of wonderful images showcasing positive masculinities and engaged fathers during Covid-19 lockdown.
In the spring, the initiative was spread by the Swedish embassies in Uganda, Cuba, Italy, Kenya, Finland and Jordan and more and more fathers participated in the photo competition #quarantineDads.
Due to the pandemic, dedicated fathers have been given time to share their everyday lives with their children. Movies and pictures of their activities have been spread and liked on social media. For example, Francesco from Turin has spent a lot of time in his courtyard teaching his 15-month-old daughter Astrid to walk, while Alex from Kampala has taken the opportunity to show his daughter Mercy that fathers sure can cook.
”It has indeed proved that we still have opportunities to make a fresh breath into fatherhood and parenting and also break all gender stereotypes”, John Twesigye från Uganda writes. He won first prize in his country with a photo of him teaching his children anatomy using a dead chicken.
Several have shared their personal stories and thoughts on fatherhood and role models together with photos of themselves and their children.
“While almost any man can father a child, there is much more to the important role of being a dad in a child’s life. The father’s role during parenting helps children develop autonomy, encourages them to take responsibility and also discover the world freely.”
“It’s been almost three weeks since I have been working from home. It has been a time of happiness, joy and distractions. I guess the mantra is to enjoy this time to its fullest, cherish the togetherness and create memories that you can talk about when your children grow up.”
“I am used to leaving home for work very early in the morning and coming back late in evening when my children are asleep. Literally I had no time with them. I took it normal whenever they could task their mum to call and talk to me on phone when they missed me. Little did I know my children needed my time as a dad physically rather than attending to them on phone. However, for the past three weeks I have realised that my children have had the joy and happiness through having enough time with me. I have interacted with them, participated in activities like storytelling, doing home chores, playing together and above all imparting in their personal hygiene including bathing them.”
“The lockdown has been a blessing on the other side, I have bonded more with my baby. We have successfully done potty training, we sing together, we play instruments together, I change her diapers perfectly now and I also prepare her meals better. I don’t want to leave the parenting role to my wife only.”