Viva – why it works

Independent research found our strategy multiplies quality care for vulnerable children.


More services for children


Improved programme quality


Positioning groups for sustainabilability


One voice across a city demanding change

It’s complicated

Viva implements a sophisticated strategy for tackling the massive and complex challenges facing vulnerable children worldwide. It leverages the power of grassroots networks to multiply the scale and reach of services, improve service quality, nurture changes in cultural attitudes, and enhance influence on public policy reforms that address the underlying, systemic causes of persistent child poverty and abuse. This strategy is not easy to articulate succinctly. It is a multi-layered approach to a multi-faceted problem.

… and it’s working

Dr Amy Sherman, Sagamore Institute

This is an Independent Evaluation

Over 2017-2018 researchers from the Sagamore Institute conducted a mixed methods evaluation of Viva, an international Christian NGO passionate about releasing children from poverty and abuse. Viva’s strategy is to build collaborative, grassroots, locally-led networks that engage multiple organizations in pursuit of a common mission. The Church is at the center of this approach because it is deeply rooted in the communities where the needs are.

Viva multiplies the scale of services available for children

Millions of impoverished and vulnerable children live within walking distance of a local Christian church. If those local churches catch a vision for implementing effective compassion for these children—and if the programs they start offer high-quality care and smart, holistic interventions—a sea change in the quality of children’s lives is possible. In 2017, Viva helped 2,324 churches, representing over a quarter million Christian believers, engage in the lives of needy children.

Viva activates new, local investment on behalf of poor children, and multiplies the capacity of extant grassroots organizations. 94% of interviewees had increased the number of children they served because of their involvement in a Viva network.

Viva improves the quality of programmes

Until each member of society values children, sees them as precious, and is committed to the idea that they have inalienable human rights, there will be no long-term shift in
children’s vulnerability.

Providing direct service matters. But without fundamental, society-wide conviction that children deserve safety, access to healthcare, education, and economic sufficiency, and the
opportunity to fulfill their potential, those investments will fall far short of their potential.

80% of Network Coordinators reported that half or more of their members had implemented new practices to improve program quality.

79% of Viva network members report that, as a result of the
networks’ efforts, “more people in the community care about vulnerable children and families.”

Viva sets up local organisations to survive for the long-term

International NGOs come and go. It is local institutions—churches, community organizations, city and national governments—that stay where they are. The only enduring solution for the problems faced by poor children is for their own people, their own neighbors, their own localities and governments, to take responsibility.

Viva has built committed, action-oriented coalitions of grassroots and regional/national entities. These are networks of groups with physical proximity to the needs. These networks are training and equipping many different groups and institutions in ways that are enhancing care for children. Viva is working to sustain their motivation and strengthen their capacity so that they remain engaged for many years.

100% of network members reported that network participation had positioned them for sustainability over the long term.

Viva gives local organisations a voice in their city

More people doing more things for vulnerable children is good. More people doing more things in a strategic, coordinated fashion is better.

Policy reform is more likely when a network of front-line, knowledgeable organizations from multiple sectors speaks with one voice demanding change.

“Large-scale social change comes from better cross-sector coordination rather than from the isolated intervention of individual organizations.”
(Kania and Kramer, Collective Impact, Stanford Social Innovation Review)