Latest Viva Partner Network Updates 20th April 2020

Asia Partner Networks Updates:

Philippines: We have public service announcements going out through a special pager system to 10 refugee camps for those affected by the Mindanao earthquake, and those who are displaced.  These announcements cover Child Protection, links and numbers for reporting abuse, hygiene and other relevant areas. 18,000 people, 2,500 families, 10 camps. 

Nepal: Sanjay is working on economic relief for at risk families. Food parcels and using the local churches within one district of Kathmandu to pass out food to those who have lost jobs/children who are in ‘at risk’ scenarios. In terms of scalability, we can scale to include all the church partner networks to shop and then arrange for delivery of food necessities. And we can get local government permission for this work easily so long as we have proof of concept for the first district. 

Myanmar:  Covid is now rampant there.  The camps in Rakhine and Kachin are suffering immensely and we need to do both food relief and public service announcements there. The need is massive in these areas.  As it is in the capital.  Many people are in quarantine and suffering, but Myanmar isn’t releasing figures correctly re: the spread, and the situation is dire. They are working on funding proposals as are the other partner networks on how to use funds for the greatest impact, and also looking at scale.

Cambodia: Significant economic risk which leads to increased risk of trafficking across borders/ selling children or abandonment. XQuib has been distributing posters to all of his partner network in Siem Reap re: good hygiene, and we are looking at how to protect children as a result of further economic hardship caused by Covid-19, including through food parcels that alleviate some of the economic pressures. 

Please pray:
The situation in general is tragic in Myanmar, Cambodia, Nepal and the Philippines. People’s livelihoods are being taken away and they are unable to work. There is serious risk of virus spread in the refugee camps and in many of these places which do not have good healthcare – it is incredibly worrying. We need to be praying for a miracle. For God to stop what is happening and protect those most vulnerable, otherwise there will be many more orphans, and many more people at risk of abuse and trafficking.

India Partner Networks Updates:

Urbanisation in India moves 1 million people every year from rural India. Among the biggest employers of migrant workers is the construction sector (40 million), domestic work (20 million), textiles (11 million), brick kiln work (10 million), transportation, mines & quarries and agriculture (Aajeevika Bureau Report-2014). 

On 30th March 2020, a week after India went into lockdown, the exodus of the migrant workers was seen from Delhi and other large cities. The businesses and individuals that employ migrants are not able to pay their wages because of logistical and financial limitations. Many of the migrants are going back to their villages to eek out an existence from the farmland produce in the lockdown period.  When we enquired from children at our project locations, how they were coping with the lockdown, some had returned to villages with their families. Of those that remained in the city, two thirds of them were in need of food and hygiene essentials. 

As an immediate response to the migrant situation the partner network teams in Bangalore, Patna and Hyderabad were able to distribute food supplies and hygiene essentials, and the Delhi team facilitated cash transfers for families at the margins. So far, a total of 996 children and adults in 230 families have benefitted from the Viva India Covid relief effort. The beneficiaries are factory workers, roadside tailors, rickshaw pullers, house helpers, people with disabilities and rag pickers. The Ranchi and Shillong partner networks are preparing to provide relief to families of 111 children living in slums and on the streets.

Please pray:
For roadside tailors, rickshaw pullers, eatery workers, house helpers, people with disabilities and rag pickers to have food supplies and hygiene essentials.

To control the spread of Coronavirus the government of India has imposed a nationwide curfew for 40 days but, despite that, the virus infection is increasing exponentially. Today there are 13,000 positive cases and at the current growth rate the number will be 100,000 within a month.

The immediate challenge for the country is to feed the migrant workers and to prepare the medical services for treating increasing numbers of Corona patients. To let the migrant workers continue earning their daily wages, the government has decided to allow construction projects, brick kilns and farming activity to restart from 20th April 2020.   

Please pray:
For protection of construction workers, brick kiln workers, farmers and those in delivery services as they are at a higher risk of infection from the Coronavirus.

While the government and charities are focused on food security and health services, the increase in domestic violence and calls to child helpline services are going unnoticed. The community workers are concerned about the safety of slum children crammed in slum huts during lockdown. Recent news reported that a mother, after a domestic altercation with her husband, got rid of her five children by throwing them into the river Ganges. 

To address the emotional wellbeing of children and parents in slums, Viva India team is putting together a programme that will help the Flourish mentors and community volunteers to counsel children and parents over the phone. The programme is an amalgamation of Viva Flourish sessions, the child protection training and Covid safety guidelines. To make this programme available to many thousands of children and families, Viva is discussing partnership options with other agencies providing relief in India, including World Vision, HCL Foundations and Bajaj Foundation.

Please pray:
For the situation of slum children living in crammed spaces. Pray for prevention of domestic violence and child abuse by adults in the family. Pray for divine wisdom for the Viva India team to develop a programme on counselling children and parents over the phone. Pray for partnership to happen with other agencies, on the Viva counselling over the phone programme. 

Africa Partner Networks Updates:

CRANE – Uganda

  • Printed and distributed posters with Covid-19 awareness messages
  • Comic strip and poster developed aimed at creating more awareness around Covid-19 but in a more child friendly way
  • Mentors and teachers are doing sensitisation in different communities; as a result, there is high-level awareness, and the communities and parents are doing their best
  • A partner network has been created with hospitals and through community radio to help people access medication
  • Families with children with special educational needs (SEN) have received food packages and transport to see their therapists and refill their medicines as well
  • Staff are helping people in their communities report safeguarding issues; Henry, one of the drivers, helped a family that had a domestic issue causing violence
  • We found a temporary home with one of the staff members for a one-month old baby of a Girls’ Education Challenge (GECT) graduate who has mental health challenges
  • CRANE in partnership with KCCA and several organisations are working together to give relief to 200 street connected children – food and shelter, counselling and preparation to return home
  • Make a Difference ladies donated money to buy clothes for the street connected children at Nakivubo
  • 26 children with SEN have been helped to access transport and medical care.
  • A child in Kayunga was helped to get transport to access hospital
  • 200 families are to receive food packages starting tomorrow
  • Education materials have been given to families to keep the children busy and engaged during the lockdown. Education messages being sent by SMS text
  • Teaching team is doing a commendable job working with the teachers and mentors in the communities. Encouraged to call the parents themselves and find out whether the purpose is being achieved and child protection and safeguarding measures are being adhered to.
  • Staff learning and developing various skills e.g. report writing
Key issues and prayer points:
1. Lockdown has increased cases of domestic violence in homes. Pray that this will stop and that children will be kept safe.

2. Pray for the team working with the street connected children – for protection and safety

3. Team delivering food packages to 200 families

4. A mother (beneficiary – GECT) who lost her son in city shooting

MCAN – Tanzania

  • 22 church leaders were trained in child protection
  • An action group to help with this year’s World Weekend of Prayer (WWP) of prayer was created
  • A Child Protection policy audit was conducted to verify members with no child protection policy and code of conduct so we can see how to support them moving forward
  • Quality Improvement System (QIS) standards received, translated and shared daily with partner network members
  • A team of 15 children were trained and went to the Radio station to present about the WWP message
  • Collecting prayer points from members daily and praying with them
  • Spreading messages of awareness around Covid-19 and encouraging members to adhere to the measures that have been put in place
  • No lock down in Tanzania, churches still congregate but we have asked all the churches in the network to suspend Sunday school for a while in order to keep the children safe
Key issues and prayer points:
1. MCAN Coordinator down with malaria

2. No lockdown in Tanzania and cases are rapidly increasing – only schools and universities were closed for unknown period. Places of worship still congregate, public transport is still working and almost everyone is still going about their businesses. As of yesterday, 33 cases had been reported taking the total from 53 to 88.

3. Pray for people in our country to adhere to the measures that have been put in place to stop the spread of the virus

VNZ – Zimbabwe

  • Zimbabwe has 23 cases and 3 deaths from Coronavirus. Country is on lockdown until 19 April although there is a possibility that the period will be extended.
  • VNZ is implementing a food security and Access to Justice Project in Epworth Community in Harare. The need for those services has grown much bigger in the period of shutdown given that few agencies will be offering services in the community.
  • VNZ was given a clearance letter to operate in this lockdown period by the Minister of Labour and Social Services.
  • VNZ is trying to come up with a way to ensure activities like finalization of borehole installations, door to door distribution of inputs and training packs as well as preparation of land will be done for 410 beneficiaries on the Food Security Project.
  • Case care workers working together with the partner network on the Access to Justice Project will be assisted with protective clothing for their protection if they choose to respond to any emergency abuse case of children.
  • VNZ will not gather people and caution will be taken to follow all the prevention measures to stop the spread of the virus for the safety of the beneficiaries and staff members.
  • VNZ is raising awareness on Covid-19 using social platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, email etc.
  • Materials with preventive measures are being developed and distributed.
  • VNZ has also developed videos in the last two weeks and these are being shared through social platforms.
  • A song carrying a message on prevention of Covid-19 is in the process of being produced and will be shared soon.
Key issues and prayer points:
1. For the world to quickly find a solution to the Covid-19 situation

2. For staff and volunteers working in emergencies to be safe as much as we have all safety measures in place

3. For the partner networks to hearken to the prevention messages we are spreading for their safety and the safety of the children

4. For increased capacity of VNZ, other institutions and the government in meeting the needs of the nation as well as those of Covid-19 patient

CONNECT – South Africa

  • Food security is becoming an issue with some looting having started as people get hungry
  • There are increased reports of domestic violence as many people are locked into small houses
  • We are working out the partner network can get food packages out to the the right people through the right mechanisms without all the organisations have operating licences for lockdown
  • We are working together to keep QIS going

SCAR – Zambia

Since the proportion of the population that has been infected is very small, the largest impact of Covid-19 has been experienced at the socio-economic level. However, it has to be recognized that the situation is evolving on a daily basis and causing many challenges at both the national and community levels. The measures taken to disrupt the spread of the Coronavirus have had an impact on the majority of people.

The Coronavirus has impacted negatively on the communities that Tehila works in. The majority of households live in poverty and are not in formal employment. They depend on either lowly paid jobs or running small businesses. The general disruptions to the economy caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus have led to a partial shutdown of the economy which has impacted small businesses. This has led to high prices of most food and other essential commodities. Schools have also closed and most of the children are at home. As most people are spending time at home there are reports increased cases of domestic violence. 

Tehila has also been affected negatively by the coronavirus. Our staff are working from home with no access to partner network members. At a time like this we believe that we are supposed to offer support to our partner network members and expand interventions to safeguard children at risk. However, this is no longer possible due to restrictions on public meetings. 

Latin America Partner Networks Updates:

Argentina: 2236 volunteers, in partnership with the Evangelical Alliance and the government are helping to pack food for families in the country.  More than 100,000 families will benefit.

Costa Rica: They are encouraging small businesses to produce face masks and gowns, as getting them on the market is very difficult. The Ministry of Health is giving the instructions for the quality standards needed, and we are acting with the sewing workshop project that works with women victims of trafficking (part of the partner network), to start making masks and gowns, and are in the process of qualifying to get the materials.

Paraguay: A partner network application responding to a call received a first stage ‘yes’, and now we are taking the second step.  It is a project that is based on creating a system of protection in the home for children, since violence in the home has increased.

Honduras: In partnership with the government we have started to distribute food to families (Denmark is supporting this initiative too).

Venezuela: The partner network applied for a Canadian grant for small business in order to create incomes for families more affected. Yesterday they heard ‘yes’ but will know next week how much for.

Guatemala: The big church Casa de Dios, is inviting the partner network to help with distribution of food and clothes and hygienic things. Sunday will have the meeting to define how this will work, all of this is in coordination with the government.

Please pray:
1. For strength for the the partner network coordination teams in the face of the magnitude of the pandemic

2. For all the members of the partner networks and the communities who are running out of salary

3. Pastors who receive their wages from the offerings they receive, and worship services are now suspended

4. Proposals that are being sent to seek supplies to mitigate the impact of the pandemic

5. For the authorities, for the scientists who are looking for a vaccine and a treatment

6.For the volunteers who are distributing food in the different countries, for protection

UK / Doorsteps Updates:

  • We are concerned about trying to reach some of the Find Your Fire kids we think would really benefit from being engaged.
  • Now we have got the groups up, running and established, we have been able to start supporting children from different avenues to the youth work, which is really positive. The young people and parents really appreciate the groups and we have noticed morale is generally much higher at the end of the sessions –the social space and youth worker input seems to be helpful.
  • However…the logistics of running youthwork by Zoom can create a larger than anticipated administrative load.
  • We’ve had really positive engagement from the To Be Known faith group, who are praying for others affected by Covid-19 and have strong hearts looking outward for justice and care for others. They seem to be deepening in relationship and faith at the moment.
  • We have sent out links to useful resources and a link to a countywide Covid-19 mapping survey via the Doorsteps’ mailing list. Please pray churches & other Christian groups respond.

Viva changes more children’s lives, more effectively through our unique approach that builds and fosters networks that unlock the potential of local churches and organisations to improve children’s lives by addressing adverse conditions and offering new opportunities. This approach has been validated as truly effective. But none of this would be possible without God’s faithfulness and your hugely valuable support in prayer!