MenCare in Bulgaria
MenCare is a global campaign for active fatherhood, taking place in more than 20 countries on 5 continents. Its mission is to promote active participation of men in children’s lives in order to achieve family reconciliation and gender equality.
Through media, evidence-based program development and advocacy, MenCare works at multiple levels to engage men, institutions and policy makers. Because when men are involved as non-violent caregivers, it benefits not only women and children, but also men themselves.
10 are the main topics that outline the vision for active male involvement, promoted by the campaign:
1. Be Involved from the Start
2. Share the Care Work
3. Be Proud & Show it
4. Provide Health Care
5. Just Play
7. Be Brave: Show Affection
8. Raise without Violence
9. Teach Equality & Respect
10. Support the Mother
In line with the EU policy of equality in the family and equality between women and men, the ideas of Men Care found their harbor in Bulgaria. At the end of 2013 10 NGOs, including GERT Foundation began working on a project funded by the Swiss Oak foundation to prepare and conduct the Bulgarian campaign in order to promote active male involvement in the life of each and every child.
Partner organizations in this project are united by the understanding that the active participation of the father and other important men (grandfather, uncle, teacher, coach, etc.) has a significant positive impact on every aspect of the child’s development: physical, social, emotional and intellectual. The main aim of the project is: to provide greater opportunities to men (male care givers) to engage positively in children’s lives, as a key factor for preventing violence from/to children.
To achieve this purpose, the team set up specific objectives:
1. To promote positive model of positive parenting* in Bulgarian society;
2. To facilitate active fatherhood through men involvement (the role “father” could be played from the significant males in children‘s lives, as well) in kindergartens and primary schools and to suggest educational tools for male engagement to teachers, social workers and local authorities;
3. To develop a sustainable network of local and national organizations and institutions supported by Steering Committee, working for a greater engagement of men in children’s lives and lobbying for “Child protection policy” to be accepted by private and public organizations and professionals. As a part of the national initiative partners have conducted a national representative survey of attitudes, stereotypes, basic parenting practices, barriers and channels for more active involvement of men in childcare. The results of this survey will be presented soon.
* As “Positive Parenting” we are referring to an approach to child raising that fosters a relationship between parents and children based on mutual respect, the facilitation of the child’s full development potential and on the ability to negotiate diverging interests in a nonviolent and constructive way.