By Andrea Furuli, AAYMCA Youth Advisor
On the 16th of June, Africa Alliance of YMCAs in partnership with Pawa254 hosted an event to celebrate the annual Father’s Day at Africa Alliance of YMCAs rooftop. Thinking of father’s day warm thoughts such as safety, heroes, support, and security comes to mind. Unfortunately, not everyone share these positive sentiments. This year’s celebration was themed #Dads4Dignity, encouraging fellow men and boys to unite as a prevention in action force against violence in the homes and communities. In addition to celebrate good fathers and father figures, the event highlighted the importance of fathers and men to honour, protect, provide and uphold families and the community with dignity and respect. Young and old from across Nairobi attended the event to learn, share their views and stories, as well as discuss the aspects of fatherhood.
Master of Ceremony, Clement Phiri from YMCA Shauri Moyo kicked off the event by inviting Joseph Mutangili, Project Manager at St. Johns Sports Society to speak about fatherhood. Mutangili highlighted that father’s should live as an example as they play a role as the constitution stipulates, the family values and the family’s heritage. Further, he stated that father’s should be transparent and accountable and make young people take responsibility.
There were four speakers at the event sharing different perceptions and interpretations of what good fatherhood should entail by sharing personal and eye-opening stories about their own parents and role models who have shaped them into the person they are today. Renee Mwenda Makau, Corporate Affairs Executive at Royal Media, took the audience to her father’s journey from being the first to graduate from his village, having much drive and quickly built up a successful career, to meeting obstacles such as losing his job. Renee and her family encouraged her dad do not give up which helped him to come back to his old self. She further explained how the father-daughter relationship is significant, because it sets the basis for what sorts of relationships women will have later in life.
Kennedy Sagala Bulimu, shared his story of not having much contact with his dad, but will work on improving their relationship. He further stated that men should motivate fellow men to be good dads, and encourage their children instead of putting too much pressure on them. The fourth speakers, Faith Shikkiey, Poetry writer and Law student, also engaged the audience in reflection around fatherhood.
During the event, there were different artists who performed. dancers performed an interpretation of aspects fatherhood through dancing, poet presented a spoken word about the importance of father figures, and a music band played using traditional instruments.
The audience was invited to share their views around fatherhood, and discussing the theme for the event; how dads should promote dignity and be good examples of leadership that embed safety and protection for youth and children. The audience highlighted the importance of having these events, to discuss fatherhood. It was also stated that such forums should be held in the communities for the purpose of maintaining the dialogue to promote dads for dignity and fight against domestic and gender-based violence.
Clement Phiri rounded up the event by saying “be present before you give a present”. Explaining the importance for children to have a father figure to look up, and that their presence is key to shape children to be good citizens and take care of their own families.