South African innovation catalyst and investment platform, Innovation Edge, has launched a call for bold solutions to increase positive involvement by South African fathers and father figures in the early years of their children’s lives.
Selected applicants will be supported to pitch their solutions to the Innovation Edge Investment Committee. Successful ventures will receive up to R1.3 million each in grant funding, strategic coaching, customised operational support and connections to social capital. The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2021.
The importance of a father figure
Research shows that when a child has an active and positive father or father figure in their lives, they benefit in numerous ways. Better performance at school, the likelihood of stable employment and better mental health are all outcomes that are influenced by a child’s sense of closeness to a father or father figure. This is true irrespective of whether the father lives in the house with the child. This is because it is the involvement, not the co-habitation that plays a vital role in the child’s wellbeing.
Sadly, many young children in South Africa grow up without the benefit of a dependable, consistent and motivated male caregiver.
Reasons for the absence of proactive fathering are numerous and complex. Barriers include social and cultural norms, unemployment and the inability to provide financially, prohibitive parental leave policies, and unwelcoming health sector institutions – particularly in the critical first 1000 days of life period. In addition, many fathers have themselves not received adequate care and support from their fathers during childhood.
Calls for innovative parenting solutions
Innovation Edge, an impact-first investor focused on solving early childhood challenges in South Africa, wants to support solutions that aim to overcome these barriers. Their call, launched on 23 August and running until 30 September, is for innovative solutions that will result in quality father-child relationships with a focus on the early years of a child’s life (0 to 6 years.) They welcome submissions from individual innovators, registered non-profit and for profit social enterprises in South Africa.