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life Inside issue 2

Keeping children safe from harm LIFE FOR CHILDREN AND THOSE WHO CARE FOR THEM Community life-savers A different kind of business bonus Stemming an epidemic of violence

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CLOSE TO HOME “How can we make our communities in the UK safer places for children?” This is our challenge as we launch a free new resource for church leaders and practitioners.

children and families – with a clear emphasis on collaboration.

Building on Viva’s 20 years of overseas experience, ‘Doorsteps’ is an initiative which aims to inspire and equip Christians in the UK to respond more effectively to the needs of

Are you ready to take action?

Order our free Doorsteps resource to bring a fresh perspective to the way your church works with children and families in your area. Get in touch with us at or call 01865 811660. We are an international Christian charity inspiring lasting change in children’s lives through the power of collective action because we have a vision to see children safe, well and fulfilling their God-given potential.


Last year we reached more than a million children in 22 countries through our 37 partner networks, which comprise a total of 4,500 churches and community organisations. Find out more at

EDITORIAL My son is 14. He is funny, generous and has a lot to say on a wide variety of subjects. The main concerns in his life at the moment are GCSE assessments, banter with friends and the frustrations and occasional joys of being a Spurs supporter. He came immediately to mind when I read the statistic on page 11 that an adolescent boy in Latin America is 70 times more likely to be murdered than a boy in the UK. When violence becomes endemic in a society it is very hard to see how it can be stemmed and – as always – it seems that children suffer the most. But change can happen when people come together to say ‘enough is enough’. It did in 1960s America when the states of Mississippi and Alabama rang with the sound of freedom songs; it did in Berlin in 1989 when thousands walked in peaceful, prayerful protests and the Wall came down. It did last year when a million people signed a petition to save Sudanese Christian Meriam Yehya Ibrahim from a death sentence for apostasy. She is now free.

Joanna Mitchell Fundraising Manager In a society in which violence is normal, they are challenging accepted ways of (mis)treating children and reaching tens of thousands of adults with a new message about how to treat children well. Their country is listening and a national day has been set aside as the day of Good Treatment. Read more on pages 11 to 13. Turn to page 4 for Dr Rachael Burke’s explanation of how simple but crucial health messages are saving the lives of Ugandan mothers and babies. You’ll also find on page 14 nine tips for keeping children safe online, and a report on work in Nepal to protect children from trafficking on page 6. Together we are helping to keep children safe from harm – your support in this is vital, and much appreciated.

It is possible to change the script. This is starting to happen in Bolivia, where thousands of children have been taking to the streets for the last eight years.

WIN Email me at to let me know what you think of this issue of ‘life’ magazine and you could win two great books to help you celebrate summer with the children in your life: courtesy of CICO Books and Ryland Peters & Small ( 3


Peer educators give advice to mothers

Simple but so effective: Dr Rachael Burke explains the inspiration behind our child and maternal health programme in Uganda, which is saving lives every year. It was 2010 and I was nearing the end of my Masters course in Global Health at Oxford. I had worked hard, learnt a lot, and – to be honest – spent too many hours working on a statistics programme. I was really keen however to put my knowledge and skills into something that would bring about real change and help people. Little did I know what the next few months would bring… A chance meeting at church with Patrick McDonald, founder of Viva, and a conversation with Ted Lankester, founder of Community Health Global Network after a lecture sparked off a course of events that has taken me to Uganda, challenged how I think about working in public health and opened my eyes to the realities of urban poverty. 4

I’m from Ireland, a country where a woman has a one in 5,000 risk of death due to pregnancy. In Uganda, this statistic is one woman in 44, whilst six out of 100 children born in Uganda don’t survive until their fifth birthday (in Ireland, it’s three in 1,000). There are complex medical, economic, social and political reasons why this is the case but one thing we know is that if women and young children had access to a few very simple healthcare interventions, these numbers would improve dramatically. Unlike in villages, the main problem in a city like Kampala isn’t that all the health centres are too far away. The problem instead is that people lack basic information like what vaccines their children need or how to register with a doctor.


The programme is improving women’s knowledge about child health

Since 2010, it has taken some big dreams and hard work to start addressing these big-city health problems. Together with an amazing team at CRANE, Viva’s partner network in Kampala, we’ve come up with a simple programme to increase people’s knowledge about child health and to encourage the appropriate use of health facilities. At the programme’s heart is a group of inspirational peer educators. These are men and women, linked to network members, who share a common focus on health in the community. After planning and learning together through a Viva-designed training course, they were ready to go out into the slums together and start sharing nine key health messages with mothers, pregnant women and young children. Today, CRANE has 21 peer educators working in two Kampala slums: Bwaise and Namuwongo, reaching more than 24,000 people during the last year. They have shown people how to make up oral rehydration for babies when they’re sick, explained to people why vaccines are important and that they’re free, told people about how to get mosquito nets and even accompanied their neighbours on clinic visits. We have also been working with local church leaders and those responsible for providing care in health centres. Our peer educators were all selected by CRANE members, which means that even before this programme started they were already involved and embedded in the communities we are trying to reach. Collaboration through sharing training resources

and supporting each other is vital; our peer educators are so much more effective working together. In fact, on their own, it is unlikely they would have begun at all. It’s been amazing to see how a lot of praying and planning has emerged into a programme where we reach a thousand people each month, and are making such an important – yet simple – difference to community life. Rachael Burke is a junior doctor, currently working in Belfast. All photos © Patricia Andrews

Regular flooding was damaging Carol’s home in Bwaise, putting her and her children’s health at risk. During the dry season, she took the advice of CRANE’s peer educators to build her floor up with soil – and now lives comfortably in a safe home free from the fear of flooding and associated diseases.


of diseases in Kampala could be easily prevented by simple measures like good nutrition, hand-washing and access to vaccines and antenatal care.

Visit to support life-changing programmes like this 5



Women celebrate the completion of their business skills training

Imagine if this year saw your household income rise by 40% and your children’s school results show a 100% improvement? This has in fact been the experience of many of the families helped by our partner network CarNet Nepal to build small businesses, generate a stable income and get their children back to school. And it would be hard to think of anyone who needed or deserved it more. Life has been very difficult for these families, whose poverty left them unable to provide for their children’s basic needs.To make things worse, traffickers deliberately target the poorest households to find children to traffic for sexual exploitation in big cities. 6

But CarNet Nepal has also been identifying and

targeting these struggling households – with a radically different offer: business skills training. Over 250 women in 21 groups are being trained in how to set up and run a small business, and have received loans and peer support in a savings group.These groups also give them an opportunity to hear key messages about trafficking: how to spot the risks and take preventive action to keep their children safe.


The women have chosen a variety of ways to generate income for themselves and also provide valuable services and products for their community. They are busy rearing pigs and goats, cultivating turmeric, running small grocery shops and providing tailoring services. More than half have seen their family income rise by an average of 40%. The network is also helping to make sure the women’s children return to school, now that their mothers are earning enough money to send them. In the past, a lack of resources and awareness about the importance of education coupled with gender discrimination meant that many children either didn’t attend school at all, or only went sporadically. Working with the families to reinforce their understanding of the value of schooling to their children’s futures, the network has now helped 38 children to go to school regularly. 22 children have been moved up into higher grades and are almost doubling their marks from an average of 30% to 59%. Crucially, there have been no reports of children going missing from the villages since this work began and their families were shown how to keep them safe. Women whose lives have until now been played out against a backdrop of poverty and hopelessness are now generating a stable income and saving a proportion of their earnings. With this income they can now send their children to school and enjoy the satisfaction of their children’s improving school marks. This in turn significantly reduces the risk and susceptibility of these children to being the prey of traffickers.These women have much to celebrate, as do the volunteers from CarNet Nepal who have worked together with determination and dedication to help make this happen. The bottom line of these businesses really is changed lives.

Problems as deeply embedded and wideranging as those of the trafficking and abuse of children need actions that reach far beyond the addressing of immediate symptoms.They need scale, ambition and concerted, collective action. This is being provided by our inspiring partner network, CarNet Nepal, which brings together 443 churches in collaboration to tackle the root causes of child exploitation in their country. Over the last year: churches were trained in ways 180 dtoifferent protect children from abuse reative awareness-raising campaigns have 86 cbeen run, including street campaigning and drama hildren and over 800 parents now 5,000 cknow how to spot and stop abuse, who to contact and how to get help. Just five years ago, it was against the law to be a Christian in Nepal; now government officials are voicing their praise of the work done by churches in their communities to tackle the exploitation of children.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all those who gave to protect and rescue Nepalese children from trafficking. This is the difference you are helping to make, and it couldn’t happen without your support. 7

8 Š John Cairns

“I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS ” Matthew 28:20


PRAY WITH US When you see the world through the eyes of a vulnerable child it can be painful, frightening and lonely.


children worldwide live in poverty, with


children under-five dying from preventable causes


of children engaged in work And yet we believe that God is a God of protection, provision and promises. In Jeremiah 29: 11, the Lord declares, ‘For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ The 2015 World Weekend of Prayer for children at risk campaign on 6-7 June is focused on the words of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel: ‘I am with you always’. This annual prayer event, inspired by Viva, unites hundreds of thousands of adults and children in 40 countries. Each of Viva’s 34 partner networks will be praying for each other, for the situation of children around the world and that the global Church can respond in even greater ways. We know that during the weekend thousands of children across the world will turn to God in prayer – thanking him for his goodness and faithfulness, and asking for change in their situations.



girls married before they reach 15 years old


primary-aged children out of school

How can you and your church join us for WWP 2015? Go to to download our suite of resources, including activities for children, videos and reflections. Email to order prayer postcards for your church, Sunday school, youth group or homegroup.

THIS JUNE, PRAY WITH US FOR: • Children who are afraid to know God’s protection • Children in need to know God’s provision • Children who feel insecure to remember God’s promises

©John Cairns




VIOLENCE An adolescent boy in Latin America is 70 times more likely to be murdered than if he was living the UK. For many children, the home is a place of violence and abuse

Fear of violence, abuse and exploitation looms large in the lives of millions of children, particularly the poor and marginalised. It doesn’t have to be this way. Andrew Dubock explains how Viva’s partner networks are changing adult attitudes and helping transform communities into safer places for the next generation. Violence claims a child’s life every five minutes. It’s a jaw-dropping statistic; the sort you have to read twice.Yet, don’t imagine that this is only happening in the public arenas of city streets and warzones – the majority of attacks on children happen in private. Last year’s study by UNICEF UK, Children in danger: act to end violence against children, found that more than three-quarters of child deaths due to violence are the result of violence between people already known to each other, rather than conflict. In 58 countries, more than half of younger children are violently disciplined in their homes or at school. And in the UK, seven per cent of UK children are victims of violent crime. Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s Child Protection Chief, says, “What’s shocking is that we’re really talking

about everyday acts of violence, including sexual violence, bullying in playgrounds, and violence in the online community. This is part of everyday life for children everywhere. But none of it is inevitable: it is preventable.” According to the report, only 41 countries have an explicit ban on violence against children, while a tiny two per cent of countries have a comprehensive legal framework to prevent violence. It is urging governments to make a firm commitment to child protection as they draw up Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the Millennium Development Goals at the end of this year. Failure to agree and support such a target, says UNICEF, risks reversing any gains made in health and education.


Keeping children safe from harm is fundamental to Viva’s global work and the foundation on which our 37 partner networks’ programmes are built. Our capacity-building Quality Improvement System is used widely to teach members how to implement robust child protection policies whilst our Celebrating Children Course helps to positively change the attitude and behaviour of people working with children, showing many a different way to love and care for them. Having a collective vision of keeping children safe from harm can transform whole communities. Our partner network CarNet Nepal uses a simple, picture-based resource called the Daughter Toolkit that teaches people how to prevent trafficking in their own communities and how to intervene once they recognise that violent abuse or exploitation is taking place. It aims to reach 12,000 children and parents in three years, with more than 5,000 reached in the first year alone. The local church is at the heart of this campaign, and their momentum has motivated schools and the Chamber of Commerce to get involved too. Crossing continents, Viva’s partner network CRANE has established Safe Communities in 40 locations across Kampala. A total of 400 children have formed Safe Clubs to listen to the needs of young people in their area and speak up for them, alongside adult Child Advocates who work with local authorities to identify and report child abuse cases to the police. Just a few years ago Mukono district in central Uganda was infamous for the practice of child sacrifice. Now it is leading the fight against the abuse of children. Much of this turnaround is down to Evacap Development Agency, a CRANE member. Church pastor George Kanyiike says, “We are being empowered by CRANE and are grateful for Viva’s help. It has helped us a great deal especially in improving our child protection in this community. We have a vision to see a community free of intolerance and torture.” CRANE’s groundbreaking work is being widely recognised and the network participates in different government initiatives such as the recentlylaunched child helpline.


Public advocacy campaigns are proving particularly successful in Latin America – where six million young people suffer severe abuse each year and where an adolescent boy is 70 times more likely to be murdered than if he was living the UK.

A Child Ambassador supported by a project leader stops a driver in Bolivia to issue a license for good treatment

Using the Daughter Toolkit to learn about the dangers of trafficking

The Buen Trato (Good Treatment) Campaign has been shifting mindsets in seven cities in Bolivia for eight years – an example of how Viva’s partner networks are working for the long-term, with the aim of scaling up programmes wherever possible. As part of the campaign, children take to the streets, supported by project leaders, to talk with adults about how they treat their children. A national police campaign checks up on valid driver’s licenses and the campaign takes this as an inspiration for its message, issuing licenses for good treatment of children. Adults who have behaved badly towards children pledge to change their ways. Last September alone, 11,000 children reached more than 60,000 adults with the message of how to treat children better. The campaign has also taken off in Paraguay,



“Child violence is happening everywhere and someone needs to stand up and say ‘enough’. Who better than a united Church speaking out on relevant issues which touch so many families in our communities?” Brian Wilkinson Viva’s Head of Network Development

Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – with plans for networks in other parts of the world too. Inés Caballero, Viva’s Network Consultant in Bolivia, says, “The Good Treatment campaign is about children saying, ‘Enough: no more violence’. My dream is that together, we can all be that community of protection, that community of support, for children and adolescents.” The campaign has had a significant impact on authority figures. September has now been declared the month of good treatment of children and is recognised by city leaders. Child advocates have had the opportunity to pray with government officials, and members of the National Assembly have reported that the campaign has brought unity between members of different political parties. Words and attitudes are powerful. As Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

“The number one priority of Viva’s partner networks in Africa is to keep children safe. They are seeking to promote God’s heart for children, as a father and a protector, and to help children know how to protect themselves. No child lives in a safe box of their home environment alone so there needs to be a co-ordinated strategy across a city to protect and track children, and provide a safety net for them.” Mim Friday Viva Network Consultant in Africa “The most effective way to reach more children is if those who care work together in a structured, unified way. It’s a proven model in the Philippines and Cambodia and we are thankful for how significantly children’s lives have been changed as a result.” Justine Demmer Viva Network Consultant in Asia

Thoughts, followed by words, and then by concerted collective action. Through Viva’s work, thousands of children are leading the way in changing attitudes and behaviour, and, we hope, helping to change the destinies of their countries, to somewhere in which children can grow up in safety; hopeful of life, rather than fearful of death. Andrew Dubock is Viva’s Communications Manager

Violence is defined as “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse”. (Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) 13


A recent survey of parents in the UK with children aged between four and 12 found that 45 per cent had never spoken to their children about internet safety. The web means young people can explore and engage with the world around them in exciting ways and improve their education. On the flip side, it allows them to access unsuitable content and form unhealthy or dangerous virtual relationships. Here is Caroline Hurst’s advice on how to make the internet a safer place for your children.

1. TALK TO YOUR CHILD Just as you ask your child about their day at school, if they spend a few hours on the internet in the evening then have a chat about what they’ve done and seen online.

2. NEVER BAN TECHNOLOGY We ran a teenagers’ focus group and asked why they might not tell an adult about cyber bullying. Their number one response was that they wouldn’t want the technology they love to be taken away.

3. SET UP PARENTAL CONTROLS Internet service providers have free parental controls that you can switch on from the router, and any device connected to your internet will be filtered.

4. REPORT CYBER BULLYING If bullying is suspected, ask the child to save evidence and to block and report that contact to whichever social network was being used.

5. TALK ABOUT INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT If you catch them looking at something inappropriate, don’t go in screaming and shouting. Instead, have a conversation about what they’re doing. If they’re embarrassed, ask them why. That way, you can talk about how something like pornography can affect real relationships. 14

6. PROTECT AGAINST ONLINE GROOMING Talk to your children about the dangers of talking with strangers online. Make sure they know that they should never give out personal information or arrange to meet with people they don’t know. If necessary, report to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

7. MAKE SURE ONLINE GAMES ARE AGE-APPROPRIATE Some parents who would never let their children watch an 18-rated film might think it’s OK to play an over-18 game. But the violence is just as graphic. Be familiar with PEGI – the rating system for games that you can buy in stores.

8. KEEP AN EYE ON SOCIAL NETWORKS Parents should understand how to install the right privacy settings. Children under 13 shouldn’t be on social networks at all, so tell younger children to wait until they’re older.

9. ONCE AGAIN – TALK TO YOUR CHILD If you’re concerned about your child’s internetuse, talk to them – or ask a family friend, older cousin or sibling to chat.You can’t keep your child safe unless you know what might be troubling them. Caroline Hurst is education manager at Childnet, a charity that works to make the internet safe for children.

DO YOU AGREE WITH CAROLINE? What works with your children? Email us at with your reflections on this article.


‘ONCE UPON A TIME...’ It’s not just a phrase that introduces a story. It’s an invitation. It’s an open door that says, ‘Come on in. Something strange or exciting or funny or surprising (or maybe all of those things!) is about to happen in here. And we want you to join us.’ Who wouldn’t want to go on an adventure like that? Who wouldn’t want to leave behind what is familiar and to spend time every day in a new place, with new friends, and new challenges – to see and hear and experience something that has never been a part of your experience before? And if that should somehow feed back, inform and enlighten the ‘familiar’ and the ‘everyday’, better still! The children to whom I tell stories – in schools and churches and conferences and community events – would not be able to explain any of this. But they understand it. And that’s why they lean forward, cross-legged, chins on hands, eyes wide open, when the story begins. Because there is nothing better than walking through that door. I help them. Of course I do. I’m the one who opens the door. I choose stories that I love. Because it’s almost impossible to tell a story well if you don’t love it. I give them things to do. Words to repeat. Actions to share in. And while I sometimes ask one or two of them to come to the front and join me, most

of those actions are for everybody. Because when you do more than just watch and listen – when you speak and when you move – you are drawn even deeper into the story. It becomes increasingly yours. And I want that for everyone, not just a few. Finally, when I open the door, I have a cheeky grin on my face. A grin that says, ‘This is going to be good. We’re going to get up to something here!’ And that’s because story is, at its heart, a kind of ‘play’. It’s you and your mates in the woods with sticks and the odd cobbledtogether costume, making your own stories, exhausted and wild and outrageous, playing till someone called you in for tea. That’s what’s in my eyes and in my heart when I open that door. And then the children join me, and we’re off. Together. Bob Hartman has travelled the world telling stories for over 25 years and is the author of over 50 books for children, including the best-selling Lion Storyteller Bible, The Wolf Who Cried Boy, and You Version’s Bible App for Kids.




An acre of wasteland in one of Zimbabwe’s most deprived areas has been turned into a sustainable agricultural business, bringing new hope to hundreds of vulnerable children and their families. Viva encourages the networks – and the churches and organisations within them – not to just rely on outside donors but to take every opportunity to help themselves.

“The agribusiness has changed the face of the community here in Rugare,”

Profits made from sales of tomatoes and cucumbers ensure more children can be fed and educated at the Rugare Orphan Care project in Harare, a member of Viva Network Zimbabwe. The project is also providing the only source of clean water for the community.

says church pastor Henry Zihove, who has seen the benefits of being in the network by learning from other projects in the city. Inspired by this success, an agreement has been made to expand the business to generate funds for the network’s collaborative activities.



Viva, Unit 8,The Gallery, 54 Marston Street, Oxford, OX4 1LF t: 01865 811660

FACEBOOK.COM/VIVATOGETHERFORCHILDREN Mixed Sources Product group from well-managed forests, controlled sources and recycled wood or fibre. Cert No. SA-COC-09174 Front cover: main and inset photo © John Cairns



Viva is an operating name of Viva Network. Viva Network is a company limited by guarantee no. 3162776, registered charity no.1053389, and registered in England at Unit 8, The Gallery, 54 Marston Street, Oxford, OX4 1LF.

Life magazine 2 (UK version)  

With the theme 'Keeping children safe from harm', Viva's latest magazine features articles about stemming violence towards children, child a...

Life magazine 2 (UK version)  

With the theme 'Keeping children safe from harm', Viva's latest magazine features articles about stemming violence towards children, child a...