Reflecting on a year of caregiving during COVID-19

Photo by César Abner Martínez Aguilar on Unsplash

Greetings from the MenCare Coordinators,

As we come to the end of 2020, we are taking this time to appreciate and acknowledge each one of you for the impactful roles that you have played in your families and communities throughout this difficult year. Many of us have been grappling with the new norm of living under lockdown and being socially distanced from our loved ones and colleagues due to COVID-19. Many of us have lost loved ones or lost members of our community. We offer our heartfelt condolences to everyone who is or has been negatively affected by the pandemic.

This year, COVID-19 further exposed the need for advocacy around unpaid care work all over the world – to support each person who is struggling to care for themselves, and for others. This year, people lost their jobs and became unemployed; parents and caregivers home-schooled their children which further increased their care workload. Our hearts are heavy with the knowledge of the hardships that all families, including yours, are facing. It is our sincere wish that we can spend the last few moments of 2020 being cared for and caring for others and that 2021 brings us all new possibilities, more justice, and more equality.

This year has not been without its successes and achievements: MenCare partners continue to persevere and work to make the world a more equitable place. In South Africa, the Netherlands, Poland, and Colombia, partners have successfully advocated for an increase in the number of days fathers can take for paternity leave; those in Eswatini, Canada, South Africa, and in other settings have launched campaigns to further movement toward equality in caregiving. In the District of Columbia, where MenCare research was part of advocacy for increasing paid leave, one of the most generous leave policies in the US came online in July of this year. We’ve also welcomed new partners from Poland, the Czech Republic, Uganda, and Russia. On the global level, MenCare collaborated to launch the #HowICare campaign in June, reaching 440 million people worldwide.

In March, we welcomed our new MenCare Global Fatherhood Co-Coordinator, Mphokuhle Mabhena – Lunga (Mpho) from Sonke Gender Justice. Mpho takes over from Wessel van den Berg, who will continue to support the campaign as one of its Steering Committee members.

As we move into 2021, we have exciting plans and events that you can look forward to from the team. MenCare will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year, and we are looking forward to reaching out to all our MenCare partners with more updates on this exciting milestone. We are also looking forward to launching the State of the World Fathers 2021 report this coming June as part of UN Women’s Generation Equality Forum. We encourage you to share your plans for 2021 on social media, tagging @MenCareCampaign on Facebook and @MenCareGlobal on Twitter.

It’s been a year of reflection, introspection, disappointment, and growth. We are honored to grow alongside you all and hope the coming year gives us an abundance of opportunities for connections.


Aapta Garg and Mpho Mabhena, MenCare Global Co-Coordinators.