Responding when emergencies happen

“They have helped us like we are their family – may God bless them.”

These are the words of a man who received support from the Covid-19 Collaborative Emergency Response Programme (CERP) in India.

The team of volunteers supported by Viva’s partner network in Patna organised a hospital bed for him, food and medicine for his family, contributed towards their hospital bills and helped care for his family while he was in hospital with Covid-19.

This kind of story was repeated many times, with people realising that the CERP team had cared for them in ways their family and friends were unable to.

CERP was just one of many response programmes run by 13 Viva partner networks in nine countries to help their communities deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of July 2022, there had been approximately 550 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 globally and many countries experienced unprecedented lockdowns which have severely impacted people’s lives.

Viva partner networks set up tailored emergency response programmes to respond to the needs in their communities. For example, our partner network, CRANE, in Uganda supported children who had been living on the streets, by providing for their needs, teaching them and where necessary referring them to further support.

Collectively the programmes addressed financial and mental health difficulties, food insecurity, lack of health information, educational needs and child protection during lockdown.

A range of relief supplies were distributed including food, clothing, masks, medical supplies, hygiene essentials and school supplies.

A total of 90 churches and organisations were involved in these programmes including 22 that were external to existing Viva partner networks. Over 165,100 people, including over 163,800 children were reached and approximately 90% of these children were new to Viva partner networks.

Covid-19 hygiene in Mwanza, Tanzania

Were Viva’s child-centred outcomes achieved?

Through helping their communities Viva partner networks aimed to achieve their child-centred outcomes. Here are just some examples of how these outcomes were achieved:

  1. Children are protected and know how to keep themselves safe; they are educated socially, emotionally and spiritually; and they grow up in a safe and welcoming environment
    Red Viva Guatemala and SCAR, Zambia taught children about abuse prevention and how to report situations of abuse.

  2. Families are strengthened to increase care for and support children
    CarNetNepal, Viva Network Zimbabwe, Red Viva Guatemala, Red Viva Bolivia, Connect South Africa and India networks provided food relief for families.

  3. Churches are united and committed to serving vulnerable children; they have strong, sustainable structures to achieve quality care for children; and they respond to children’s needs effectively through holistic, collaborative programmes
    Churches worked together in all of these partner networks to provide all of the emergency response activities to protect children and their families.

  4. Communities demonstrate increased awareness and understanding of the value of children
    Red Viva Bolivia organised a national online event to train people on the needs of children in emergencies.

We are grateful to everyone who has been involved in these emergency response programmes which have positively impacted so many lives.

To learn more about these programmes read the full report here.

Article by Lucy Cox, Viva’s Network Development Co-ordinator