Viva, an international organisation working in 27 countries, has launched a phone-based mentorship programme to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re excited by the way this programme enables our partner networks to stand by at-risk children and families during these challenging times,” said Kezia M’Clelland, Viva’s Children in Emergencies Specialist. “The development of positive parenting skills, children’s resilience, and stronger family bonds could have a lasting impact on families during this crisis and beyond.”
The programme, which is based on the 24/7 Parenting Package,* aims to reduce violence against children by providing parents with psychosocial support through six guided phone calls. By focusing on six major themes – talking about COVID-19, building strong families, mental health and resilience, staying safe at home, and learning together – the programme is adapting the core of the 24/7 Parenting Package to engage families everywhere.
Through this project, Viva’s partner networks – which are already active across 38 cities in Asia, Africa, Central and Latin America – are identifying 500 mentors to support their local communities. Each of these mentors will speak with approximately 10 families, engaging parents and children alike. Phone calls are evaluated by a real-time monitoring system, which will help Viva and the mentors learn from sessions as they happen.
“The program is very cost effective and designed to be delivered without compromising the safety of the mentors and mentees,” said Devesh Lal, a Viva network consultant. “This program has the ability to transform struggling families into united and happy families where children can thrive.”
The mentorship programme has already been launched in India and Uganda, with more countries to come throughout the summer. By working through their existing networks of churches and community projects, Viva aims to reach 10,000 children in 16 countries with this programme.
“The families I mentored were very distressed, confused and lonely,” said Mukund Singh, a network coordinator and mentor in India. “While talking to them, I could feel how valuable it was for them to have someone standing by their side in a time of crisis.”
If you are interested in learning more about the mentorship programme, you can contact Viva’s Anna Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viva welcomes the wide use of these materials and can offer a range of tools to support implementation by your organisation.
* The parenting package was created by experts from the End Violence Partnership, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Internet of Good Things, Parenting for Lifelong Health, USAID, UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents Hub, and the Centres for Disease Control.