Viva – Partner Network updates 25th May 2020

Global Updates

1. Phone Mentoring

As a global team, Viva is responding to the crisis of Covid-19 by developing a phone mentoring programme to reach those with little or no access to the internet and who are not receiving important messages. This programme will train local church volunteers to phone marginalised families in their communities and talk with them about 6 topics: Covid-19 awareness, family strengthening, anger management, mental health, being safe online and learning at home. The families will receive extra resources by picture message or paper, and will be encouraged to do an activity together between the phone calls. Families will learn lessons that will help them during social distancing, and for the future.

Our partner networks in Delhi and Patna piloted the first session, ‘Talk about Covid’ – with 14 parents and 12 children. The session was translated into Hindi and four community mentors were trained to do the mentoring session by sending them the written matter on ‘Talk about Covid’ . After the mentors read the material, trainers Preeti and Mukund spent 40 to 45 minutes going through the first session with each mentor. The trainers either heard the mentors doing the mentoring session with a parent by being invited on a conference call or by recording the phone conversations with parents and children to assess the quality of mentoring. The mentors do not have Zoom, they use WhatsApp for video calls and for sharing media files.

Feedback from the pilot mentoring sessions: The mentees were not washing their hands with soap and they did not cover their face while going out. The session helped in reiterating hand washing with soap and wearing a mask for Covid safety.  Another Hindi animation on Covid safety and an accompanying poster was sent to the mentees over WhatsApp. At least one person in a mentee’s family has a smart phone, the mentors could then send posters and media files on WhatsApp to that smart phone.

2. Food Relief

You will read below that many of our partner networks are responding to community needs for food and other basic necessities. They are doing all they can with the resources they have, but all could be supporting more families if they had greater resources. Viva is seeking funding and donations so that we can financially support our partner networks to buy more food and necessities so that more children and families will benefit from this vital support.

Updates from Asia

Philippines – Work has been continuing in the Mindanao refugee camps, including relief work and education around sanitation and hygiene.  Viva is also looking at continuing to develop great opportunities for us to do more in and around the family strengthening mentorship programme.

Prayer:  Fe, our in-country network lead has had to cut her staff team down to working 2 days a week because of a funding crisis, along with inability to complete existing projects. Please also pray for the welfare of her staff as many are isolated from their families.

Nepal – The partner network has been continuing to provide food parcels to 50 families who have been classified as ‘at-risk’ by the Nepali government, and is also providing relief packages in the province.

Prayer: Food is becoming scarce, most people are not able to work and do not have savings to rely on so cannot buy food.

MyanmarGreat news! We have raised $80,000 for relief work in Myanmar! However, many of those helped by our partner network are sick and are dealing with scarcity of food. Prices have gone up, food for the orphanages is minimal at best at the moment.  Our programme lead is also in quarantine with suspected Covid-19.

Prayer: Pray for provision of health and provision of essential foods.

Cambodia – Viva has been doing a lot of promotion around hygiene and once a week is delivering food parcels to some 200 families, despite a lack of funding.  Hope School, a member of the partner network, has combined with a church and is providing relief packages to some 50 families in the area.

Prayer: Pray for Siem Reap as most of its work has ceased because of a lack of tourism.  This has led to spikes in violence in the home and a very real increased risk of trafficking of children.

India – The National Council of Churches would like Viva to facilitate the development of their child protection guidelines, on a payment basis. Partner networks in Bangalore, Patna, Hyderabad, Delhi and Shillong have raised local support to give dry groceries and cash support to 576 families, benefiting 2,400 people (children and adults) living on the margins. The Bangalore coordinator also gave a home cooked meal to 40 policemen and women. Unilever has given 100 packets of Horlicks to distribute to children. The government food distribution has improved for slum dwellers. However, the slum dwellers need money to purchase their prescription medicine, buy hygiene essentials and for refiling cooking gas bottles.

Prayer: Pray for divine wisdom and strength Viva Oxford’s Kezia and Anna as they put together the Covid mentoring curriculum.
Pray for partnership with the right donors and the right community-based organisations and churches for the Covid mentoring program.
Continue to pray for Angelina Hemrom, wife of Premchand Hemrom – the Ranchi Partner Network Coordinator. Angelina had a successful surgical procedure of her bile duct last week, one more procedure is due for her gall bladder. Pray for healing, recovery and resources to cover the medical costs.

Updates from Africa

CRANE – Uganda

  • CRANE is running community radio talk shows in 20 communities to address issues around mental health, Covid-19, domestic violence and safe guarding.
  • The teaching team continue to work on videos, lessons plans and recording lessons for television.
  • Viva successfully resettled a young girl who had been burned by a step mother and it was a joyful reunion.
  • 62 street connected children from Nakivubo have been taken in by organisations for rehabilitation. Most of the children left are awaiting vocational and skills training opportunities. About 25 of those are still awaiting resettlement.
  • Planning a teacher training through webinars and assignments
  • Staff in lockdown are making training videos to use now and when lockdown ends.

Prayer: Pray for complete healing for David Sigeni who is still recovering from a bike accident
Pray for one of our (Girls Education Challenge) GEC girls aged 17 who is currently heading her family after her mother was arrested for vending mangoes.
Please pray for parents and their families especially focusing on mental health, domestic violence and the anxiety about children and school.
Please pray for Kasese, a township currently experiencing floods following torrential rains- one school was destroyed and the children will not have a school to go to.
Pray for parents of CRANE staff who are unwell.
Pray for the Minister of Health and all the health workers at the frontline as we fight Covid-19.

MCAN –  Tanzania

  • Sharing Viva’s QIS quality improvement standards on a daily basis
  • Supporting members doing educational work to discuss ways to keep children safe amidst Covid-19
  • Planning for the World Weekend of Prayer
  • Supporting churches to take all the necessary precautions as they meet for prayers amidst Covid-19

Prayer: Tanzania is struggling with a growing number of infections and people are dying.
Pray for all the work Viva is doing during this pandemic.
Pray for children in Tanzania as neither the government or other organisations have implemented measures aimed at keeping children safe during this pandemic

VNZ – Zimbabwe

Prayer: Food distribution, protection and wisdom as they meet the needs of others.

CONNECT – South Africa

  • May is National Child Protection month in South Africa and Connect is taking part raising awareness of child protection and the rights of children.
  • The partner network is supporting organisations within the partner network to facilitate food distribution. They have enabled government sponsored food boxes to reach several organisations (100 boxes to 10 organisations) and are facilitating grants to organisations from donors.
  • Increasingly, providing food boxes is presenting dangers and logistical challenges, so getting funds to organisations within the partner network so that they can disburse has become their preferred (but not only) way of getting food supplies to people.

Prayer: Pray for the team as they do QIS child protection mentoring
Please pray as food parcels are presenting danger and logistical challenges but hunger has become a central issue in South Africa, with people not able work, access grants or access school feeding schemes.

SCAR – Zambia

  • The partner network is providing supplies to their members through churches, including food, soap, detergent and toiletries.

Prayer: Pray for provision as the partner network does not have enough supplies for member organisations
There are stringent restrictions on movement. Pray for protection as the partner network works to ensure supplies get to their members

Updates from Latin America:

Summary of the monthly report of Latin-American team

  • The Evangelical Alliance through the Emergency Response Team is asking us to collaborate and be part of the strategy of response with an open door for Viva to work with 4,800 churches across all countries.
  • Launching World Weekend of Prayer:
    • All partner networks are using the new WWP email signature
    • A new song has been created
    • We have been given an online radio slot to promote the WWP. Members of the partner networks are participating with a topic about the children in Costa Rica, Mexico, Venzuela, Colombia and El Salvador. We have an agenda for this month and the next one. On average 1,345 people are listening to each one.
    • We started a children’s campaign with the hashtag #estopasará, and we produce videos and pictures along with the children.

Prayer: For migrants, families, single women and migrant children, very vulnerable people and for their situation, which is even more acute during this pandemic.
For children and adolescents in Mexico and Brazil, who suffer so much from violence in their homes that there are cases of suicide.
Specific prayers for countries in the region that are having a very hard time: Brazil, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Venezuela. And for countries in the world that are very badly affected: Italy, Spain, all of Europe and the USA.

Partner Network Specific Updates:

México: Establishing a Community Centre for Covid-19 Emergency response.

Prayer: We have 67,000 cases of Covid-19 and 7,000 people dead, and although people are asked to be at home, people ignore this, they go out without their face masks on in the street, along with their children.

Guatemala: Developed a funding proposal to send to Canadian embassy in Guatemala who have money for a community centre. Also communicating with World Vision – participating in a call for $10,000 for emergency attention. The partner network continues to provide food and hygiene items to 30 families: 15 of the families live in the *cemetery and 15 are from the Church Ciudad Real, part of the partner network. In Chimaltenango the pastor and the coordinator of the partner network in that city had a place of sale in the market but, due to the quarantine and closure of public areas, they could not continue with the business, only food stores are allowed, so they have opened a space in the Church to open a food store and, in addition to selling to earn some income, they are also helping families and providing pastoral support in the community.*Cemetery families are struggling because people are not visiting the cemeteries and they base their economy on the money they ask from the visitors for flowers and tending graves. Many now have no money for food. The partner network is trying to support them and Viva’s team is building partnership to invest in this population.

Prayer: Due to the situation in Guatemala, the numbers of infected people are exceeding 100 per day, even reaching 360 people per day. The country lives under curfew, is paralyzed and the number of layoffs has increased by a lot.

El Salvador: Agreement with Convoy of Hope to continue distributing food to 1,474 children and in this emergency response we are including distribution of food for 25 pastor leaders from vulnerable communities in San Salvador, for the next 3 months. Last Friday the Government of El Salvador requested the list of beneficiaries and asked for the scope of the partner network. The network is in the process of filling out forms so that they can approve a similar list of families that we already support.

Part of a coordination team with Willow Creek, Link, Convoy of Hope, Tearfund etc. have been fundraising with Life Church, USA. Asking them for $1.7 million for emergency response in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. New Life said they want to be part, they don’t have all the money but will help to find the rest of the money from other partners. The money that comes in will be split, Viva can expect $300,000, $100,000 per network. The next step is answering New Life questions and sending more information. The funds would be used to open a community centre in each country – long-term support for families including unemployment support. We will create an operative plan for each country, as the project would be adapted for each country. We will need to employ one person full-time to manage the centre, and Viva will provide partnership support including online workshops, interviews and testimonies on the importance of child protection and those at the community centre will benefit from the training.

Nicaragua: Developed a 3 month partner network development action plan, as well as the family support project that they are working on. The strategy includes Child Protection Policies and training with 5 Champions of Protection trained to support 8 partner network members. Additionally a pastor in the partner network is guiding the pastoral process with members. 

Prayer: For Nicaragua, the situation is feeling very heavy in the country since many people are dying, however there is no official data from the government. Viva’s Jaime has informed us that a friend is the fourth person he knows who has died in recent weeks.

Costa Rica: Agreement made with the Salvation Army to start a Community Centre Strategy in their large building; additionally they want to talk about the Strategy for Regional collaboration in countries that we are working with. 314 families continue receiving food from the partner network during the emergency. The network is trying to find additional resources to support an unreached group of 1,100 families.
40 elders are receiving food from 3 churches that are working together and visiting communities where they find them with fear and with no resources or option to go out for food.
The partner network is promoting health care in the home through 70 churches and organizations providing 2% printed resources and 98% online materials.

Bolivia: The 4 partner networks are responding to needs presented by Covid-19 by distributing food baskets to 500 families. We are running online training with project staff and also sharing printed materials to help strengthen parent capacity and increase awareness of child self-protection. Schools remain closed, so the partner network is developing virtual tools to support children in leadership along with developing the Good Treatment Campaign. We are also running the World Weekend of Prayer via online platforms.

Further Prayers for Latin America:
Pray for Brazil, more than 360,000 cases and 22,666 deceased people.
Pray for Honduras: Two family members of Church members died, these two people of Covid-19, leaving the church family extremely sad.
Pray for Venezuela because the infection curve began to increase. But above all, let us pray because political tension is very strong, the authoritarian regime carries out operations to strengthen its dominance in the country. This is done by inventing news, gathering information in their favour and disqualifying others, in the midst of the pandemic.
Pray for the climate of tension in Venezuela. That the Church and civil society focus on helping to satisfy the basic needs of the country.

Final Prayers:
We ask God for peace, trust and hope for all people, and for their children, in the midst of this situation and constant information about the pandemic, especially for those who have close people who have died or been affected.

For the partner networks, the members and the churches, which are responding to this crisis, for protection for them, for resources and strategies and for necessary safety measures to be in place.

For the team of each partner network, the Viva regional team and the coordination across the different continents, for the central office in Oxford. May God provide the means needed to our ministry.

For financing opportunities and the opportunities present our projects to obtain financing that increases our impact.

That governments make the best, wise, strategic and effective decisions for the benefit of their countries. That they do not take advantage of public investments in response to the pandemic.

For a cure, a Covid-19 vaccine, to be found as quickly as possible and save many lives.

Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers for Viva, we are so grateful. As Viva works by leveraging the resources and expertise of local churches and organisations, our model results in a high return on investment. We can do this through your support and prayers, enabling Viva to change more children’s lives, more effectively.