In the words of Amr Mosaad: "My participation in the family camp on “Gender Transformative Parenting” made me realize the importance and the happiness of being with my family”
Amr Mosaad, a 42-year-old husband and father of two children: Yassin (11 years old) and Farah (6 years old) from Alexandria governorate. Mosaad participated in the pilot phase of the family camps on “Gender Transformative Parenting” organized in partnership by the National Council for Women and UN Women Egypt, in collaboration with WellSpring Egypt in Cairo, Minya, Damietta, Alexandria, from October to December 2021, with the participation of around 120 Egyptian families.
The family camps aimed at enhancing the adoption of gender transformative practices to create more gender equitable spaces at home through challenging stereotypical gender norms and encouraging men and boys to participate in the unpaid care and domestic work in their homes while correcting misconceptions about parenting through various interactive and recreational activities. These camps were organized under the framework of UN Women Reginal Programme "Men and Women for Gender Equality", implemented through the generous support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
"I have never been the husband or father who seeks violence as a solution to any problem. On the contrary, I always tend to talk, discuss, and look for solutions. Therefore, I thought that I was an ideal father who lacked nothing and that my participation in this family camp would not add much to me. However, after attending both parts of the camp, I realized that I was wrong, and that I was missing a lot. My participation in the family camp on “Gender Transformative Parenting” made me realize the importance and happiness of being with my family, to be a husband and a father who shares with them the fun moments as well as the responsibilities and difficult times.
I work at a supermarket for long hours and given the stress that life imposes, I accepted the fact that my role at home is limited to financial support. My life turned into a vicious cycle between going to work, feeling exhausted, returning home to sleep and then back to work again. I became distant from my family and the gap between us increased. My children would wait for me every day to share their stories and daily events, but I never tried to make time for them. I prioritized my work and didn't realize what I was missing out on: my family.
Through the interactive sessions provided during the camp, I got a chance to learn about important issues such as communication between spouses and the role of each in raising children. These sessions made me realize the different roles I should play within my family; as a husband, who cooperates with his wife in every aspect of life; and as a father, who helps in raising the children. It was brought to my attention during the camp that spending too much time at work contributed to limiting my role within my family and it made me realize that I have other more important roles that are essential for family and myself as well.
Throughout our lives, we-men and women alike-, are exposed to several messages from family members, peers, media, and the society in general, on how to behave as family members; what are the roles for each one within this family; and how we should treat each other. Some of these communicated expectations may be harmful because they limit our ability to effectively perform our roles to ensure the stability of the family throughout the different stages it passes through. For example, men are not encouraged to contribute to childcare responsibilities, when it is indeed an essential role in order to build a balanced relationship within the family.
The camp gave me the chance to spend time with my family and join them in various activities; whether sports competitions, art performances, amongst others, which made me feel what my children and wife were missing and what I personally needed so much, but I didn’t realize it before.
Throughout my participation at the camp, I learned how to put myself, my children and my family first and how to rearrange my priorities and that making time for my family is a priority given that I need [to have a strong relationship with] them and that they need me. My goal now is to have a stable, understanding, and cooperative family; in addition to being more present to perform all my roles, and to be “one team” as we were during participating in the different activities at the camp.”
Read in Arabic.