4 questions about child sponsorship during COVID-19 you’ve probably been wondering
1. Is my contribution still reaching my child and their community?
Yes! Now more than ever, communities need support to keep children and their families safe from the virus itself and the social and economic hardship it can create. Because of the ongoing support of child sponsors, World Vision was on the ground helping communities to prepare for and stop the spread of the virus from the first days of COVID-19. So that we can continue to rapidly respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, we are currently combining 20% of your sponsorship contribution with those of others sponsoring children in the same country to more efficiently fund targeted activities to tackle COVID-19 across all the sponsorship communities in which we work.
The rest of your contribution is being used in your sponsored child’s community as usual to provide the support they need to survive and thrive, both short term and long term. However, in the immediate term, our project work has diverted attention to focus specifically on clean water when handwashing is so essential, nutritious food when parents unable to work in lockdown and cannot provide for their families, healthcare and supplies when it’s needed most, educational opportunities even when schools are closed, and so much more. In time, after COVID-19 has passed, we will refocus back on the other critical areas of need in vulnerable children’s lives, specific to each community, continuing our work to help the most vulnerable overcome poverty, for good.
2. How can you still care for my sponsored child if everyone is in lockdown?
There hasn’t been a day that our work to care for children has stopped, even when restrictions have prevented our staff from visiting the communities we work with. That’s because our community-based development model means that we partner with local volunteers, faith communities, organisations, governments and businesses who are already in communities, bringing them together to improve the lives of children. Through these community networks and the use of mobile phones, WhatsApp, social media and any other locally available technology, we have been able to continue monitoring children’s health and well-being and respond to their need.
Whether that’s information about COVID-19 prevention for them and their family, resources to enable them to continue learning from home, online counselling or psychosocial support, or even intervention from local police in cases of family violence. We have helped to strengthen the local health systems and provided the emergency responders that children and their families rely on with supplies like soap, sanitiser and personal protective equipment like face masks and gloves, as well as COVID-19 training, planning and management support. And we have delivered desperately needed food, hygiene supplies, cash vouchers and other assistance to the most vulnerable families and communities to help them get through this time.
3. Could continuing to care for kids in lockdown cause a COVID-19 risk?
World Vision is strictly following the preventative measures put in place by governments in the countries where we work, as well as the advice of the World Health Organisation. In many countries, our staff are working from home and using a mobile phone or online channels to continue caring for children.
Most of the support we are providing for children and families is being delivered by volunteers and organisations based in their own communities, who are carefully following social distancing and handwashing protocols in any face-to-face interactions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In all our work, we are following the necessary strict safety measures to protect our staff, volunteers and the communities we care for.
4. When will child sponsorship go back to normal?
It’s the question we’re all wondering, about everything! We can’t know for sure when the COVID-19 risk will pass and our operational restrictions will ease in your sponsored child’s country to pre- COVID-19 levels. We do know that in many of the places we work, the recovery from COVID-19 and its economic, nutritional, social, educational and many other impacts will be long, and your support will be more critical than ever during that time.
Our local staff are closely monitoring the situation and preparing to resume face-to-face child sponsorship activities as soon as it’s possible. Some of these activities might need to be adapted for the new realities in the communities we serve, and some of the innovations that have been developed to cope with this crisis – like connecting kids with online support groups, creative projects and educational resources – may become a permanent part of our work with children because of their effectiveness. Thank you for your continuing partnership, especially throughout this crisis period – it is providing your sponsored child and many children and their families in their community with stability and support when they need it the most.
Want to stay connected? Why not write a letter to your sponsored child today? A few words of kindness could mean the world to them and their family in these uncertain times. And you’ll get a reply, even if it takes a little longer than usual.