Fathers Matter ECD.

Impact Area:

Quality Early Learning Programmes

Year of Investment and Stage:

2022 | Developing and testing to validate problem solution fit

Current Stage

Developing and testing to validate problem solution fit

Investment Amount:


Financial Instrument:


Have we reinvested:




Fathers Matter is an existing campaign by Heartlines Centre for Values Promotion that uses the power of story to support the positive and active role of fathers or men in the lives of children. The innovation, Fathers Matter ECD, will develop and adapt the existing campaign materials and knowledge into a toolkit for ECD practitioners, and a complementary training package for ECD NGOs, that aims to increase their knowledge and ability to engage male caregivers.

The Problem
Over 65% of children in South Africa grow up without the active and positive influence of men in their lives. This puts them at a considerable risk of being victims or perpetrators of violence, mental illness, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and poor educational and economic outcomes. If a man – not necessarily the biological father – is positively involved and actively present in the first years of a child’s life, they are more likely to be present thereafter. Many men want to be involved but don’t know how; they want to be present but face many social obstacles and no support to overcome them.
The Innovation
The existing Fathers Matter campaign by Heartlines Centre for Values Promotion has a well-developed portfolio of activities and resources, informed by formative research and user feedback, that equips men with the skills and support they need to play a more active role in children’s lives. The portfolio includes video and radio content, tip sheets, social media accounts, ambassadors, and a WhatsApp chatbot. The Heartlines team, supported by the Centre for Early Childhood Development and GROW ECD, will conduct formative research and develop a Fathers Matter ECD toolkit that will equip ECD practitioners and NGOs with the knowledge and skills to increase fathers’ participation in the first five years of life – in ECD centres and beyond.
Why we Invested

Innovation Edge is excited by the opportunity to support the expansion of ECD-focused work under the well-established Fathers Matter banner, and to leverage the expertise and support of other ECD organisations in doing so. The innovation will offer opportunities to learn about pathways to scale by working in partnership with the ECD sector, ensuring that materials developed under the Fathers Matters ECD toolkit can be easily incorporated into existing programmes.

The team believes that there will be considerable buy-in from the ECD sector for this activity and as a consequence, once there is uptake, to a large extent, it has the potential to be self-sustaining in the long-term.

The Project Team

Simone Gregor, Project Manager at Heartlines: Simone is responsible for the ECD application of the Fathers Matter programme at Heartlines and its general communications. 

Lereko Mfono is the overall coordinator of Fathers Matter. 

Livhuwani Maphorogo is the Fathers Matter Research Lead. 

Nevelia Moloi and Harriet Perlman are responsible for the project’s resources and video development. 

Olefile Masangane and Nkosinathi Sixabayi are the project leads for community mobilisation and training. 

Garth Japhet is the Strategic Lead.