fathers matter

You don’t become a father merely by having a child somewhere.

There are certain things you have to do, that are your responsibility as a father.”

– Dad from KwaZulu-Natal



Fathers Matter is an edutainment initiative to support the positive and active role of fathers or men in the lives of children, in order to mitigate the risks associated with the absence of fathers or positive male role models in the lives of children.

It is an initiative of Heartlines, the Centre for Values Promotion a social change NPO that promotes positive behaviour change, using story and values-based resources.



Through this intervention, we aim to:

  • elevate the status and debate on father/men presence with key stakeholders such as government, faith-based organisations (FBOs) and NPOs working on children’s
  • create a supportive environment and resources for use by these stakeholders, in order to promote positive father/men presence in



Globally, and in South Africa, there is a lack of awareness and understanding of the importance of fathers being positively present and involved in their children’s lives. Children who grow up without positively present and/or engaged fathers are at greater risk for a number of negative consequences.

That said, a father’s absence is a risk factor only. It does not define a child’s future nor does not reflect negatively on the millions of women who bring up children successfully on their own.

This initiative was birthed from within our own experiences as Heartlines, through hearing the stories of various colleagues share the pain of not ever having known their father, or having had a father who was around, but not positively involved. We have chosen positive father/male involvement as our next major societal issue to address as a means to encourage and equip men to be more positively present – and to reduce the negative effects of father absence in the lives of their children.


The Fathers Matter initiative is made possible by the support of our primary funder, the Oak Foundation which addresses issues of global, social and environmental concern.

We are grateful for our partnership with the following organisations:

  • UNICEF South Africa
  • WITS DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development
  • Columbia University School of Public Health
  • HSRC
  • The Department of Correctional Services

We also partner with a number of individuals and organisations who do incredible work in this space. Get in touch if you’d like to partner with us or donate to this initiative.


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