BY ANNA BARKER
We’ve responded quickly and effectively to the needs of children and families throughout the COVID-19 crisis. This is because we have an established model of working with local, grassroots organisations and churches.
The World Food Programme predicts there will be a doubling of acute hunger as a result of the pandemic. Our partner networks in Asia and globally are already seeing this reality and most, if not all, are responding with food relief in their communities.
As lockdowns increased, many networks obtained government permissions to distribute food. For example, our partner network in Patna, India, has partnered with Oxfam to distribute food to 2,300 families.
We are also acutely aware of increased reports of domestic abuse and violence, mental health challenges and learning delays. Led by our Children in Emergencies Specialist, our global team has developed a new phone call family mentoring programme, to directly address these concerns.
Through this programme, Viva is supporting more than 18,000 children and their families in 17 countries to cope with the challenges presented by COVID-19.
The calls cover six themes including talking about COVID-19, building strong families, mental health and resilience, staying safe at home, and learning together. Where families have limited internet access, and churches and organisations struggled to stay in touch with at-risk families during lockdown, this programme is essential in providing meaningful support during this crisis.
Through both promoting positive parenting skills and building children’s own resilience, families will be demonstrably stronger, ready to support one another and able to thrive during this pandemic and beyond.
We are particularly excited that this programme has caught the attention of other international NGOs who would like to use it with their own partners in many more countries.
By Anna Barker, Viva’s Network Development Manager