Responding to Covid 19

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the nature of Viva’s work in many ways. We have navigated the journey together with our partner networks, and there has been a collective feeling of grief and loss, as well as pride at the way we’ve responded.
During the pandemic Viva and our partner networks have:

• provided emergency food and basic essentials
• rolled out a phone mentoring programme (see below)
• set up community centres for families in Latin America
• started a Collaborative Emergency Response Programme (CERP) in India
• launched learning spaces to help with children’s catch-up education

When completing our annual Network Health Check, Viva’s partner networks reported both negative and positive side-effects from the Covid-19 pandemic on their work.
The most recognised negative side-effect was that the networks experienced ‘less interaction with children in person’, with 97% of the networks experiencing this. 86% of networks had to stop some of their activities due to the pandemic.

On the flip side, 94% of networks reported ‘more regular use of Zoom’, 86% ‘started online training’ and 72% reported ‘more interaction with network participants online’. The work of partner networks has always included response to emergency situations so many are well-equipped to act. 69% of networks noticed they were acting with ‘more innovation and creative thinking’ in order to overcome the issues of the pandemic.
It has been a challenging process of learning, but many networks have developed new skills and systems this year which they will keep into the future.

Viva’s Phone Mentoring programme

Viva’s family phone mentoring programme was designed in April 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 crisis – specifically to reduce violence and abuse of children and to provide psychosocial support, through building meaningful connections with vulnerable families. Trained mentors covered six themes over eight phone calls.
In total, between June 2020 and January 2021, Viva’s phone mentoring programme reached over 8,000 families and 26,000 children. Over 44,000 calls have been carried out in 18 countries, and over 100,000 actions were completed by families. Phone mentoring has continued to be rolled out globally during 2021 due to the ongoing needs of children and families.

The programme has achieved impact in all four of its objectives: Children are protected from abuse and danger; Children are educated for life; Families are strengthened; Communities respond effectively.

As one mentor in Costa Rica told us: “When the mentoring started, one father told me that he had not played with his ten year-old daughter for more than three years. When the pandemic started, he lost his job and considered everything a disaster. Through the mentoring they did drawings and crafts together. The father participated in making a video about PE, a task from the girl’s school. His daughter felt super-proud to appear in the video with her dad. And now the girl’s father no longer sees this time as a failure. He now sees it as a blessing!”