About Fathers Matter

In South Africa, most children grow up in homes without their biological fathers. Fathers Matter is a new campaign that uses the power of story to support the positive and active role of fathers or men in the lives of children.

It's an initiative of Heartlines, the Centre for Values Promotion.

What we do

Fathers Matter seeks to:

  • Build awareness and create a national conversation about why fathers matter in the lives of children.
  • Create a supportive environment and share resources for organisations and churches to use to promote positive fatherhood.

Watch the Fathers Matter promo video

Early childhood development support

The importance of a father or father figure’s involvement with his child’s learning journey - especially at an early stage - is not always appreciated or understood. Given that a child's brain develops more than any other time in life between birth and the age of five, involvement at this stage is crucial and affects a child’s ability to learn and develop.

This is why Fathers Matter has worked with early childhood development (ECD) experts and practitioners to create a resource toolkit that will empower and equip ECD practitioners to engage male caregivers in their child’s early learning.

“You don’t become a father merely by having a child somewhere. There are certain things you have to do, that are your responsibility as a father.”
Dad from KwaZulu-Natal

Why do fathers matter?

Globally, and in South Africa, there is a lack of awareness and understanding of the importance of fathers being positively involved in their children’s lives. Children who grow up without positive and active fathers are at great risk of:

  • Perpetrating and becoming victims of violence
  • Substance abuse
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Poor academic achievement 
  • Mental health problems

That said, a father’s absence is only a risk factor. Many children grow up and thrive when they are raised by single mothers.

Heartlines conducted research on fatherhood in South Africa, which forms the basis for this initiative. Our Fathers Matter campaign consists of a website, print resources for churches and NGOS, online talks and a range of social media content.

In 2021, look out for our exciting series of feature films for television.

Our partners

The Fathers Matter initiative is made possible thanks to the support of our primary funder, the Oak Foundation, which addresses issues of global, social and environmental concern.

We are grateful for our partnership with the following organisations:

Oak Foundation Logo
NLC Logo Lotto Funded
Unicef for every child logo

We also partner with a number of individuals and organisations who do incredible work in this space. Get in touch if you’d like to partner with us or donate to this initiative.

What people are saying about Fathers Matter…

"The Heartlines Fathers Matter films
have stimulated conversations which will have an everlasting mark in households beyond the airing of the films. I am grateful that the films add values of transforming the potential in brokenness of society into the ability to lift up individuals, families."- Rev. Kelebogile Mekoa
"We really appreciate
the work you are doing...we managed to survive the pressures that come with teenagehood and youth challenges by joining Heartlines programmes ... Today we are fathers and still part of the Heartlines movement we are now learning how to treat our wives and children. Never doubt the impact of your work."- Thulani Radebe
"Men were emotionally charged
and some moved to tears. We realised the legacy we need to leave for our loved ones. We were made aware that our presence in our children's lives contributes uniquely to their development."- Peter Ntamu
"Today's workshop
turned out to  be more than I expected ... and made me re-evaluate how I father my children and my nieces and nephews who look up to me as a social father. It also opened up a lot of emotions as I started reflecting on how I was raised."- Thando Ncubwana
"I want to say a big up
to Heartlines for their innovative and brilliant project on Fathers Matter. We are using the discussion guide for our Sunday school ... the discussion has heated up and sparked serious awareness on the need for fatherhood. "- Pastor David Hycenth
"If we had these
30 years ago things would have been different now."- Connect Group participant