MenCare trainings in Sri Lanka transform the lives of fathers and families

Participants of the six-month fatherhood training program in Sri Lanka pose for a group photo.World Vision Lanka, Ambagamuwa ADP – a MenCare Sri Lanka coordinator – has transformed the lives of over 400 fathers, their families, and their communities since the start of campaign activities in 2012.

MenCare Sri Lanka’s six-month fatherhood training program includes ongoing classes with fathers, a two-day retreat for fathers and their families, and participant-led community campaigns which spread positive messages around men’s caregiving and share fathers’ stories of change. Upon completing the program’s 11 sessions, fathers graduate from the MenCare program in a ceremony that includes the taking of an oath in the presence of their families and children to be loving fathers and caring husbands.

Participants’ partners have reported long-term changes in their families as a result of the fatherhood trainings. Fathers spend more time with their children and share a greater portion of the care and domestic work with their partners, demonstrating the program’s success in questioning and transforming rigid gender norms, particularly those related to housework and childcare.

MenCare Sri Lanka has helped these men adapt more gender-equitable attitudes and behaviors to become involved fathers, caregivers, and partners. The trainings have also brought positive changes to fathers who struggled with alcoholism. As one father stated, “I used to come home every day drunk. My wife and children were scared of me. But MenCare made me think that I need to change.”

Fathers – many who have gone through the program themselves – as well as teachers and religious leaders, have now become MenCare trainers. This long-term commitment by community members has ensured the sustainability of the program in Sri Lanka, as former participants continue to engage their communities in transforming unjust social structures that support inequality and poverty.