5 Fathers Who Are Making a Difference

Celebrating dynamic dads worldwide this Father’s Day

Strawberry farmer Osama Abu Al-RubA describes his modern growing methods to a group of his daughter’s classmates from Al-Quds Open University. / Bobby Neptune for USAID

Each Father’s Day, we celebrate the men in our lives who have helped to shape the person we are today. In honor of these special individuals, we are highlighting dads around the world who have had a positive impact on their families and their communities.

Hardwick in Malawi

Most adults in Hardwick Mandalai’s village are illiterate, and were surprised when he was able to read his ballot during Malawi’s 2014 tripartite elections. Over the previous few months, Bridget, Hardwick’s daughter, brought home the materials she was using in USAID’s Early Grade Reading Activity. Hardwick wanted to learn to read and write after seeing how much Bridget was learning at school.

Bridget gives her father, Hardwick, a reading lesson. / RTI International

Every evening Hardwick and Bridget sat together to practice, and over time the unrecognizable symbols turned into letters. After several months, Hardwick could write sentences and was able to read the election ballots. Others in the community took note, and soon reading scores across the village rose to record levels. Hardwick and Bridget’s story demonstrates the impact that family and USAID programs have on a community.

Want to learn more about this inspiring father-daughter duo? Read their story.

Resourceful Fathers in Jamaica

An almond tree stands alone in the middle of the Trench Town district of Kingston, Jamaica. To many, the tree is little more than a break in the urban sprawl, but for some men it represents the rebirth of their community. In 2012, several fathers congregated under the almond tree to form Fathers United for Change. The organization provides career counseling, tutoring services, and parental guidance to over 150 young men and women every month.

Trevor Edmondson is excited to show off his organization’s self-contained wholesale grocery shop supported by USAID. / Kimberley Anne Weller, USAID

Speaking about the group’s impact, Trevor Edmondson, one of the organization’s founding members, says, “Success for me is to see two young men in particular we worked with under the program, where the community had lost hope in them .… to see them reformed and now working respectable jobs.” The fathers who lead the organization are teaching us how important it is to have positive role models in our lives. Since partnering with USAID in 2015, Fathers United for Change has been able to increase its outreach efforts across the entire community.

Want to learn more about this outreach group? Read their story.

Richard in South Sudan

In 2011, South Sudan’s Yambio region was introduced to the bizarre sight of a male midwife. In South Sudan, the job of a midwife is reserved for women. Richard Yona continued working to help women safely deliver their babies, despite the laughs and teasing he received from others in his village. Since becoming a midwife, Richard has delivered countless babies, and he has never had an infant die while in his care.

Richard Yona, the first male midwife in Yambio, South Sudan, has helped mothers safely deliver countless babies over the past six years at the USAID-supported Bazungua primary health care clinic. / Victor Lugala, USAID

Many men throughout the community have signed up to serve as family planning advocates after seeing the impact that Richard had on their villages. These days it is common for people to come up to Richard and say, “come and see the children you helped us deliver … these are all your children!” Richard and his colleagues serve over 16,000 people a month at a USAID-supported clinic in Yambio and have helped increase maternal care across South Sudan.

Want to learn more about this inspiring midwife? Read Richard’s story.

Osama in the West Bank

Osama Abu Al-Rub with his daughter, Hanin, who is following in her father’s footsteps. / Bobby Neptune for USAID

People in the West Bank love strawberries, but most of the fruit is imported from abroad. Farmer Osama Abu Al-Rub and his family are hoping to change that with the help of the USAID Compete project. Thanks to the training Osama received from USAID, he produces the best strawberries in the region.

Osama is also teaching neighboring farmers what he learned so that everyone can prosper. Hanin, Osama’s 20-year-old daughter, decided to follow in her father’s footsteps after seeing the impact he had on their village. Farmers and fathers like Osama are helping to build stronger communities with the help of USAID programs.

Want to learn more about this inspiring farmer? Read Osama’s story.

Richard in Zimbabwe

Richard Ndebele with grandchildren / Katie Murray, CNFA

Richard Ndebele lives in Impu, Zimbabwe. The area is notorious for its lack of sanitation, but conditions in Impu are beginning to improve thanks to the training people like Richard receive from USAID’s Amalima program. Over the past several years, Richard has established several nutrition care groups that focus on teaching families proper nutrition and hygiene practices.

Although he is only one of three male group leaders, Richard’s efforts have encouraged other men to help their wives with the daily household chores. One couple told their friends that, “we will help each other in the household” so that there is more time to take care of their children. Richard is helping to create a stronger community with training he received from USAID.

Want to learn more about this inspiring community organizer? Read Richard’s story.

About the Author

Phillip Colón is an intern in USAID’s Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs. He recently graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in international studies.