Book-sharing for Fathers in South Africa Updates

Research Study to test the impact of training fathers in a dialogic book-sharing programme on their level of sensitive parenting. Anticipated primary and secondary outcomes of this study include benefit to fathers’ book-sharing skills; an increase in fathers’ book-sharing in the home, enhanced child cognitive and socio-emotional development, increased father participation in other aspects of parenting, reduced harsh parenting; and that fathers’ attitudes to parenting becoming more gender equitable.


The RCT of book-sharing with fathers in South Africa has been completed, and we are now in the final stages of report writing. We are looking forward to sharing the findings soon. We have also shared our study protocol and preliminary findings at a number of conferences, including:

  1. The University of the Western Cape Early Literacy Conference - A study on the Impact of training fathers in an early literacy intervention on child cognitive development and risk factors for violence 
  2. The Institute for Security Studies INSPIRE Webinar: Engaging male caregivers in parenting programmes
  3. I-CEPS - Training fathers in an early literacy intervention and its impact on child cognitive development and risk factors for violence

Further mainstreaming male engagement across GPI programmes:

Considering the immensely important and unique role that fathers and male caregivers have on children's early learning and development, we want to ensure that our GPI interventions are inclusive of fathers / male caregivers and that these men are supported through our playful parenting programmes. Despite evidence highlighting the benefits of male engagement within parenting programmes, there are very few evidence-based playful parenting interventions that engage directly with fathers / male caregivers. They would like to change that! A key part of the incorporation of male engagement within GPI programmes is to identify and understand the enabling factors and barriers to, and of, male caregiver recruitment, retention, and engagement in evidenced-based learning through play parenting programmes. 

The team is currently developing a framework for male engagement across the GPI studies along with a spectrum of quantitative and qualitative measures that can be incorporated pre- and post-intervention as well as continuous monitoring measures. They hope these learnings will allow them to understand the challenges and facilitators to father involvement within parenting programmes, and to use these learnings as opportunities for future studies that focus on fathering within parenting.