Updates from our partner networks in each of Viva’s regions

Asia (outside of India):

Viva works with networks in 4 countries with 826 churches and local organisations serving 379,000 vulnerable children. Hong Kong has been in lockdown for more than a couple of months and is a long way ahead of the rest of us in this process.

Our initial focus was on preventing misinformation and using our partner networks’ on-line communications to send out good information in accordance with WHO guidelines.


  • Working on psychosocial responses for staff, working groups, maintaining positive discourse, innovating solutions
  • Opening up working groups to do more problem-solving conversation around innovating through this pandemic
  • Looking at “Why Families Matter” training as they think this could be a key response tool for children at risk in families


  • Misinformation re Covid-19 is rampant in Cambodia. We are posting daily Facebook posts confirming the correct guidelines on hygiene. We are trying to get posters out to each of our locations in Siem Reap to try to promote visible signs of how best to look out for oneself.  Social Distancing – Basic Hygiene – and tips to handle the isolation. We continue to be aware of and responding to the needs of network members.  We are arranging weekly phone calls with Network Members to see if the Covid-19 outbreak significantly hits any of our communities. If this happens, we will work with Local Government to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to contain and limit the spread. All gatherings are currently cancelled and our network co-ordinator is working remotely from Phnom Penh and will not travel until given the all clear. 


Philippines, Cambodia and Nepal are in full lockdown with police and army enforcing no travel. Myanmar is still at 50% restrictions but tightening up. Network gatherings and normal activities are almost impossible.

The networks are approaching the authorities to explore ways they can support the vulnerable.

Emerging ideas:

  • Use of Radio in Manila and Mindanao to continue to get health and community messages out to the mass population
  • Working with Op Safe in the aftermath period to provide psychosocial support for children via their “Op Safe” programme, especially as children begin to move out of isolation and lockdowns, reflecting on their experience and understanding the deaths of relatives, friends etc. (Philippines and Nepal networks have worked with Op Safe previously in relief situations.)


Viva works with 7 city networks with 515 churches and local organisations serving 220,427 vulnerable children.

  • Regional meetings with all the coordinators via Zoom last week worked surprisingly well. The attendees appreciated the practical input and have many actions to be working on.

Current response:

  • Delhi network is facilitating cash transfers to about 20 families with vulnerable children.
  • Bangalore is planning food distribution to 15 vulnerable families; Santa, the coordinator, has the curfew pass.
  • Patna network is part of the Christian Covid response group. They have identified vulnerable communities that need relief. They are looking for funds to start the relief programme.
  • Shillong and Ranchi coordinators are speaking to the Flourish programme mentors to know the situation of children during the lockdown period.  

Looking ahead:

  • The government is distributing food to many vulnerable families however all families cannot be reached by the government. This will require additional volunteer action.
  • Online cash transfer to vulnerable families has wider and unrestricted reach by the non-government agencies.
  • Some schools have started online classes for children, but online safeguarding is being overlooked when children go on the internet for online study. A session on online safety for adolescents and teachers could be considered.
  • One plan is to support the families of the children signed up to the “Flourish” mentoring programme in each city, already identified as vulnerable children, and with contacts with the parents already in place.

Relationship with the authorities:

  • If there is a relief grant available for vulnerable families, the network coordinators will be able to get curfew permits to purchase and distribute relief material. Food supplies, sanitizing lotion and medical masks are available with suppliers.


Viva works with networks in 5 countries with 579 churches and local organisations serving 563,870 vulnerable children.

  • Zimbabwe and Uganda are in full lockdown, unable to leave the house with police and soldiers patrolling, South Africa is in lockdown but able to leave the house for essential goods, whereas in Tanzania even small gatherings and churches are still able to meet.
  • All networks have been sending out clear poster type messaging far and wide to provide health and safety messaging in multi languages using all forms of media. They have been connecting with network members and providing mutual support.
  • Mwanza network in Tanzania has produced a document “Preparing your church for Coronavirus.”
  • In Zimbabwe there has been a direct response to street children – they are being sheltered in institutions with basic support in terms of food supplies.
  • In South Africa they have implemented a 24/7 prayer and fasting roster to ensure that they are covering this situation in continuous prayer. We are so reliant on God’s wisdom, grace and intervention at this time.
  • Also in South Africa, Cape Town Network members or ‘affiliates’ have been focusing on prevention through provision of hand sanitisers and soaps with some on food parcels prior to lockdown. A specific permit is now required to do this. Affiliates are exploring ways that food can be distributed/supplied, as food interruptions and food insecurity are of great concern with our local communities. One of the affiliates has become the door-to-door distributor of all chronic medication for all patients of one of our local hospitals, which serves a vast area of Cape Town. They are also doing all the screening of COVID-19 in their area, in addition to their usual community-based health care.

Working with the authorities:

  • Viva Network Zimbabwe is part of the Harare Metropolitan Provincial emergencies response cluster. The Provincial Administrator, through the District Administrator is appealing for support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the following areas:
  • Support for OVC with basic commodities
  • Support with protective equipment for caregivers and children at risk
  • Support with awareness raising
  • Equipping the church leaders (children’s ministry) for child protection against Covid-19

Further, the local authorities are currently coordinating and working together with all active civil society actors in coming up with a robust emergency response system.

Looking ahead:

  • In Zimbabwe there may be need for livelihoods support programs. Many families depend on either subsistence projects or small day-based income generation projects. These have been directly affected.

Latin America:

Viva works with networks in 14 countries with 2,764 churches and local organisations serving 806,887 vulnerable children.

During March, most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean were increasingly quarantined by the coronavirus pandemic. This completely changed the network agenda. However, many networks enhanced their actions to assist the most vulnerable at this time. Many focused on already established projects such as food distribution in El Salvador and Panama. Other networks and churches that are part of the networks were mobilized, organizing donation collection and food delivery to people and families most in need. There are networks that monitored church and government coalition initiatives and added strength to national assistance actions, becoming means of identifying and delivering food for needier families.

  • Sent a call to all networks to share asking people not to stop giving – don’t lose the compassionate heart!
  •  http://latinamerica.viva.org/2020/03/20/un-llamado-a-toda-la-comunidad-que-trabaja-con-ninez-y-adolescencia/ 
  • Permanent prayer group – we have a group to support in a personal way each coordinator through prayer and counsel. Pastors from different countries (Karina – Guatemala, Miguel – CR, Carlos – Argentina and Samuel – Colombia) have the contact number of each network coordinator and the network coordinators have their contact number too. We are called #wearetheChurch,wearetheResponse – in Spanish: #SomosIglesia,SomosRespuesta
  • “Fifteen minutes with God” every day at 8am Costa Rica time: praying, sharing, talking with the network coordinators – up to 22 people from 12 countries are on the call daily.

Initial Responses:

  • The networks in Venezuela, El Salvador and Colombia are feeding the vulnerable and those living in extreme poverty in their communities, providing food and groceries.
  • In Paraguay, the team have been doing the same, working in conjunction with the Local Government, the Municipal Council of Children and Adolescents and the Association of Evangelical Pastors of the city, identifying those families most affected by unemployment, labourers, domestic workers and informal vendors who live off their daily sales.
  • In Costa Rica the partner network organized a group of volunteers to assemble boxes with basic baskets and take them to houses (within the guidelines indicated by the Ministry of Health). Actions as simple as this can save lives. 
  • In Honduras our partner network has been able to raise some funds, in agreement with its donors, to provide urgent and necessary support to several children’s homes already in need of food donation. The support will also go to the neediest families in the communities where the network is active.
  • In El Salvador the team are continuing their existing work of feeding 1400 children in 15 different communities but are having to take extra precautions as restrictions and health concerns have increased.

Viva changes more children’s lives more effectively – and our response is significant as real collective action with our partner networks brings about holistic change for children on a larger scale than any one organisation could achieve on their own.