HCL Foundation and Sesame Workshop – India partner to launch “Daddy Cool” a first-of-its-kind initiative

New Delhi: A campaign to improve positive engagement of a father’s role in a child’s early learning & overall development.

HCL Foundation, the Corporate Social responsibility arm of HCL Technologies and Sesame Workshop – India, the local arm of the internationally renowned non-profit media and educational organization behind Sesame Street, announced the launch of the Daddy Cool campaign that’s going to be rolled out in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

The campaign focuses on improving positive engagement of fathers in child’s early learning & overall development by creating content focused on the role of fathers. It is expected to bring change in attitudes and behaviors that break down stereotypical male and female caregiver roles so that fathers exhibit more positive parenting practices and nurturing interactions with children.

Targeted at fathers in the age group of 25-44 years living in the urban slums of Lucknow, the Daddy Cool campaign, will build on the importance of the paternal engagement with young children through a multi-channel approach using Radio and Social Media. This would include distribution of audio public service announcements over radio channels along with discussions with experts. Videos will also be disseminated through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and amplified via partnerships with NGOs working in ECCE and Gender, as well as education experts and influencers.

The initiative is based on the findings of a baseline study** conducted last year to ascertain the role of a father in a child’s early learning and development. The study was carried out by HCL Foundation and Sesame Workshop – India in Lucknow, among 345 fathers of children in the age group of 3-8 years, with an equal split across socio-economic categories in Lucknow. One of the key learnings that emerged from the baseline study was that the pandemic has resulted in bringing fathers closer to their children. The study also informed about existing parenting trends and changes in time spent with children due to COVID situation, understanding the demographic profile, consumption of media and patterns of social media engagement of fathers among others.

These findings have been utilised to to build appropriate content by Sesame Workshop – India and form the Daddy Cool campaign to make the father aware that their engagement with the child in their daily routine helps the child better develop.

The aim and purpose of the Daddy Cool campaign is to contribute to improving gender roles in a child’s upbringing. From an increase in time spent between father & child, to an improved joyful learning experience — right from enhancing the degree of involvement in caregiving activities to resorting to positive communication, mentoring and disciplining styles, to spending more amount of time in positive engagement activities with their child to challenging gender stereotypes associated with their role in child’s life and play.

• An upcoming notion within policy is to find ways to encourage fathers’ participation in children’s lives and view them as co-contributors to gender equity and family wellbeing. While much is being done around building parental capacity for child development, parent-training content and programs targeting or including fathers, have been few and far between.