Phase 1: forming and establishing a network with quick-win collective actions, network identity and member benefits.
Organisations and churches working with children at risk are approached with the concept of a network that can support them in their work. They are envisioned about the potential of their joint voice and action to create the right environment for mutual exchange and shared vision.
The initial focus is to establish the needs of children locally, determine the factors that cause them to be at risk and, through Viva Locate, pinpoint the key players who are already working to help children. This basic situational mapping also serves to highlight the possible strategic focus of the network in the future. The network concentrates on identifying shared needs and opportunities, and providing services to members that centre around information-sharing, emotional support and promotion of best practice.
The structure of the network itself can be fairly minimal at this stage: usually there would be two or three individuals that together form a Coordination Team, with one person taking a slightly stronger lead and assuming the role of Network Coordinator. The role of the whole team is to promote collective thinking through the vision and activities of the network, by recruiting and supporting members, and in fostering a sense of care and belonging, drawing in local church projects and christian NGOs.
In addition to the situational mapping, Viva’s input also involves elements of training the Coordination Team in building the network vision and structure. The Viva partnership provides guidance and financial support for smaller collaborative activities such as staff retreats, Christmas parties, Good Treatment of Children campaigns and World Weekend of Prayer events. These quick-win collective actions begin the process of the network gaining credibility and influence across the city.
From the start of a new network, Viva encourages interdependence, innovation and ways of achieving influence.