BY ANNA BARKER
“Not all church leaders are trained about how to manage organisations. We work on a programme called QIS where we go right through the entire organisation – their sustainability, governance, registration and compliance – so that they don’t have any gaps and are absolutely compliant with the laws of the country.” (Gary Kamaal, Viva India Network Consultant)
All Viva’s partner networks ensure that their members are trained to have high organisational standards, ensuring children in their care are well-protected. They should also aim for sustainability to ensure long-term, high quality of care to the children and members of their communities.
In India, an added incentive for the kind of training comes from the pressure of increased stringency of government authorities to satisfy growing compliance measures.
In some regions of the country, growing persecution against Christians means that churches and Christian ministries are appearing to be targeted with compliance checks or immediate forced closure more rigorously.
Six Viva networks in India have responded by running our Quality Improvement System (QIS) programme. It offers training to reach internationally approved standards in eight key areas, including child protection, HR, governance, financial accountability, project planning and leadership with mentoring to make substantial changes in organisational systems.
For smaller organisations and churches who do not currently have the structures to consider international standards, a first step towards this programme was created called QIS for churches, to help them reach basic compliance levels before embarking on the more rigorous international standards.
As well as improving systems, this programme is increasing the credibility of the networks as members pursue recognised standards of good practice that, in turn, attracts other members to the network.
Last year, church and mission leaders from 105 churches and three organisations in India took part in QIS or QIS for churches.
As a result of the training, ten childcare centres in Hyderabad – which were about to get closed down – were able to provide a provisional certificate for registration, meaning they could legally carry on their ministry.
One network co-ordinator testified, “Through [QIS] we have been able to not only sustain organisations but also increase their response towards children’s interests. There was a church in Delhi that did not have a Sunday school and they started one for 17 children.”
Also in Hyderabad, one church pastor named Sampson was called to start a church and found himself with a congregation of 400 people. But he was confused with what to do and how to do it. He decided to sign up for QIS and faithfully attended all the programmes. His church is now far more aware of good quality care for children.
Pastor Sampson has become a keen advocate in support of Viva and encourages others to attend training and join the network. He says, “The QIS programme was an answer to my prayer; it improved my pastoral skills and administrative skills in managing the church and the children’s home”.
In Ranchi, the network had originally planned to run QIS for 20 churches, but they were delighted when 27 churches and organisations signed up to take part.
The network co-ordinator said, “Churches are approaching us saying, we want to join QIS… The government is creating many problems for Christian ministries, so how can we maintain the churches at all levels? So I can say that it is a very good tool to use for our ministry and even our society in Ranchi, given all that is happening.” The network is now requesting support to run QIS for more organisations within and outside of their city to try to support the high demand.
QIS is proving effective in helping to shape the systems and structures of small organisations to ensure they can increase in efficiency and sustainability.
By supporting the networks to meet compliance levels, the network is also ensuring that the city will benefit from the presence of active churches and organisations who are working together to support their communities and particularly to positively impact the situations of children.
By giving a gift to Viva today, you can help us to increase the crucial training programmes such as QIS, and ensure children receive sustained, quality care.