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Viva Review 2009

l amaulatant K y s r Ga k Con or Netw India a v i V

People often think that research is a boring job, but I love it! How can you connect people if you don’t know where they are? This year the Viva Locate research has made great partnerships possible. Let me explain how...

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The first part of Viva Locate is all about finding people. We need to know who is working with children at risk in a given area, what they are doing, and how. This can take me anywhere between 10 days and a month, and it is as simple as searching the Internet, visiting churches and other community bases, and talking to local contacts.

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Once I have a list of approximately 15 people or projects I will start to get in touch with them. This often takes a lot of time, and to begin with people can be suspicious of what I want. I have to explain to them exactly what a network is, and the ways in which we can benefit from working together. Then if they are interested I tell them I will come and meet with them in person.

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At the meeting we talk about what their project is doing, and I get them to fill out a Contact Profile form so we can see what needs they are targeting and which children they are reaching. These meetings are not always successful, but if the project is interested in getting involved with us then they will come and meet with other network members and we will go forward from there.

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Viva Locate has been used in 20 different cities around the world, meaning that hundreds of organisations who were previously unaware of one another are now able to work together.

This network meeting is my favourite part. All of the information so far is useful, but a simple directory by itself will not do the work. Now I have to envision people about the purpose of the research – working together. This meeting is the point at which the projects get inspired about the new knowledge and connections gained from Viva Locate, and what we can now accomplish together.

The Blossom Network, our partner in Hyderabad,

began using the Viva Locate programme fairly recently. As they were doing their research they began to realise that although there was great work with children and families dealing with HIV/AIDS there was little provision for the many children who were orphaned as a result of the disease. This realisation led the network to focus their efforts on developing projects that could house and care for these orphans, and also on providing counselling for those left feeling traumatised and alone. This is why mapping is so important - the Blossom Network were capable of addressing the problem, especially with support from Viva, but if it had not been for the Locate programme then they never would have known that they needed to address it. It’s such a basic thing, but hundreds of children’s lives are changed every year because people have the right knowledge about where the needs and the responses really are.

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Viva Locate in action