From the Field

How World Vision fights the secondary effects of COVID-19

Twelve-year-old Collins in Mwala, Kenya, was one of the first children to choose his sponsor. He chose Joel from Chicago. Sponsorship is transforming children’s lives in his community.

The coronavirus pandemic is challenging the world, and we’re answering the challenge. For the first time in World Vision’s 70-year history, we are engaged in an emergency response in every country where we work. We’re fighting the secondary effects of the disease — the economic, social, and long-term health impacts. Our top priority is to meet the needs of children and families most at risk, so we’re aiming to support 72 million people, including 36 million children.

Ours are big goals indeed, but in every community and country the work looks different. Join us on a quick world tour to see examples of the challenges we face, how we’re fighting COVID-19, and prayer points you can use to support our work.

Mother and child health

African parents receiving training
Malawi (©2020 World Vision/photo by Kondwani Jere)

CHALLENGE: The coronavirus prevents some women from traveling to health centers for prenatal care and counseling.

HOPE: Though Florence, 42 and two months pregnant, can’t travel to the nearest health center in Zambia for prenatal checkups, she is confident in the care she gets from Jenala, one of 220,000 World Vision–trained community health workers. Jenala provides timed and targeted pregnancy counseling for Florence. She also shares information about COVID-19 so Florence knows that with proper care, she can avoid infection and deliver her baby safely.

PRAYER: Jesus, we commit vulnerable mothers and children to Your care and embrace the opportunity to serve as Your hands and feet to meet their needs.

Child protection

World Vision is taking additional actions to protect children during COVID-19.
Zambia (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

CHALLENGE: Because of coronavirus-related school closures, children are spending more time alone with the people who perpetrate violence or sexual abuse against them, says Zambian Public Health Specialist Cosmas Minyoi Kalwizhi. In three days, he had four cases of children who were sexually assaulted.

HOPE: Cosmas and fellow child protection committee members supported by World Vision use radios to let children and other community members know how to report abusers. They are also enlisting village leaders and pastors to join the committee in intervening to prevent abuse. Child protection committees around the world are finding new ways to stay connected and support children at risk.

PRAYER: Jesus, You welcomed little children into the safety of Your arms. Protect those who are isolated and in danger because of the coronavirus, and give us courage to act on their behalf.

Economic empowerment

a World Vision–supported sewing group in Mongolia retooled their production to make personal protective clothes for medical staff. World Vision staff G. Altantuul, left, and sewing group leader A. Munkhtuul work out details of their new production plan.
Mongolia (©2020 World Vision/photo by Otgonkhuu Dashdorj)

CHALLENGE: Millions of people have lost their jobs and livelihoods as COVID-19 has spread worldwide, making it hard for parents to provide for their children.

HOPE: In Mongolia, World Vision helped women who’d lost their tailoring business find new work making and marketing medical gowns. The women are happy to contribute to virus prevention as well as generate an income to support their children. World Vision’s entrepreneur training and continuing support enable people to adapt their businesses and find new income opportunities.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, just as You give good gifts to all Your children, enable parents everywhere to safely preserve their livelihoods so they can provide for their families.

Disaster response

Though 12 World Vision program areas were affected, families showed the resilience they had developed with help from World Vision. They benefited both from preparedness training and World Vision’s quick response, serving hot meals and providing solar lamps, mosquito nets, tarps and rope for rigging shelters. Families used personal hygiene supplies and cleaning materials we supplied to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
India (©2020 World Vision/photo by Thomas Abraham)

CHALLENGE: Cyclone Amphan hit the east coast of India and Bangladesh in May 2020. Families — many of whom had been out of work for months because of the coronavirus — saw their fields flooded and houses destroyed.

HOPE: Though 12 World Vision program areas were affected, families showed the resilience they had developed with help from World Vision. They benefited both from preparedness training and World Vision’s quick response, which included serving hot meals and providing solar lamps, mosquito bed nets, tarps, and rope for rigging shelters. Families also used personal hygiene supplies and cleaning materials we provided to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, our lives are in Your hands. Give us Your heart of love so we may live in solidarity with people who face seasonal storms and other disasters, and for whom the coronavirus is just one more life-threatening hazard.

U.S. poverty

World Vision works with nonprofits, including long-time partner MountainHeart Community Services in West Virginia, to provide fresh fruit and vegetables so children missing school meals can get a balanced diet at home. Our Family Emergency Kits include household goods as well as staple foods.
United States (©2020 World Vision/photo by Kris Wamsley)

CHALLENGE: Even before the spread of COVID-19 forced the closure of many U.S. businesses and fueled new levels of unemployment, more than one in four West Virginia children lived in poverty.

HOPE: World Vision works with nonprofits, including long-time partner MountainHeart Community Services in West Virginia, to provide fresh fruit and vegetables so children missing school meals can get a balanced diet at home. Our Family Emergency Kits include household goods as well as staple foods.

PRAYER: God of plenty, we reach out to help others to show Your love to all. Teach us how to give as You have given to us — freely and selflessly.

Refugees and fragile contexts

In Peru, World Vision is supporting doctors, nurses, and medical technicians who have fled unrest in Venezuela to achieve accreditation to practice medicine in Peru. We hope to register as many as 80 physicians by year’s end so that they can help curb the coronavirus outbreak.
Peru (©2020 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

CHALLENGE: Poverty, insecurity, and health systems that lack enough staff and adequate equipment make it hard to stop COVID-19 from spreading in fragile contexts and among displaced people.

HOPE: World Vision is supporting doctors, nurses, and medical technicians who have fled unrest in Venezuela to achieve accreditation to practice medicine in Peru. We hope to register as many as 80 physicians by year’s end so they can help curb the coronavirus outbreak. In each context where we are fighting the coronavirus, we look for local resources and innovative ways to maximize the impact of our response.

PRAYER: Dear God, we face a global health crisis, but we don’t face it alone. You are our Great Physician. Equip and inspire us to use every skill we possess to bring healing in Your Name.

Hunger and food insecurity

World Vision is helping families improve their livelihoods by helping them grow more resilient crops and raising healthier livestock.
Bangladesh (©2020 World Vision/photo by Golam Ehsanul Habib)

CHALLENGE: Job losses due to the coronavirus are driving families to go into debt and cut back on meals to cope with financial insecurity.

HOPE: In Myanmar, we’re seeing the results of World Vision’s years of helping families build resilience. When Ohab, 48, lost his job as a day laborer, he joined his wife, Khadija, in caring for their livestock, garden, and rice crop. Despite his loss of income, they are eating well and selling milk, eggs, and produce, and they also have enough to help their neighbors.

PRAYER: Father, we pray You would provide families with plentiful, nutritious food so they can stay healthy.

Disabilities

Xiao Geng, 15, learns to carefully wash his hands from Ma, his teacher and nurse at a group home in Tianjin, China. World Vision assists staff and children at the center with training, personal protective equipment, and cleaning supplies to help prevent the spread of the disease.
China (©2020 World Vision/photo by Xu Wen)

CHALLENGE: People who live in group settings like nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are in close contact with others and at higher risk for COVID-19. So are their caregivers.

HOPE: As the outbreak began, World Vision prioritized children’s group homes, training staff and giving them masks, soap, disinfectant, and thermometers. Xiao, 15, who is paralyzed, was alarmed at first, but now he’s confident that he can wash his hands properly and help prevent the disease.

PRAYER: Dear God, show Your love and protection through us to people who may feel marginalized or excluded because of differences and disabilities.

Gender-based violence

A girl-power group in India organized by World Vision stands together for children’s rights. They’ve rallied support in their community that saved nine girls from child marriage since the COVID-19 lockdown closed schools. Even under physical distancing, our child protection teams worldwide are helping children stay safe from harm.
India (©2020 World Vision/photo by Neola D’Souza)

CHALLENGE: With families under increased financial pressure because of the coronavirus, millions of women and girls are at risk of child marriage or sex trafficking.

HOPE: A girl-power group in India organized by World Vision stands together for children’s rights. They’ve rallied support in their community that has saved nine girls from child marriage since COVID-19 closed schools. Even under physical distancing, our child protection teams worldwide are helping children stay safe from harm.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, families are hurting because of the coronavirus pandemic, and millions of women and girls are at risk of violence and exploitation. Give us the comfort and strength of Your presence as we help them stand up for their rights.

Sponsorship

Radio presenter Patwell Nkhoma shares COVID-19 prevention information that came to his Malawi community from World Vision. Through funds from provided by child sponsors in the U.S., children, church leaders, World Vision staff, and community leaders are taking responsibility for helping prevent the spread of the disease.
Malawi (©2020 World Vision/photo by Kondwani Jere)

CHALLENGE: Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a key priority of World Vision staff around the world. They’re challenged to care for their own families and personal health while serving others.

HOPE: In World Vision’s U.S.-funded Nkhoma area development program near Malawi’s national capital, Lilongwe, World Vision staff have inspired community members to take the lead, set goals, and carry on the work in health, education, and livelihoods programs even when staff are unable to be present. Together, they reinforce COVID-19 prevention. God bless and uphold World Vision staff and volunteers who are making personal sacrifices to serve others. Give them strength and confidence to do Your will.

PRAYER: Jesus, You welcomed little children into the safety of Your arms. Protect those who are isolated and in danger because of the coronavirus, and give us courage to act on their behalf.

Clean water

With support from World Vision, refugees formed water committees so they can maintain the water pumps, latrines, and bathing spaces World Vision constructed. And our hygiene training has taken on life-saving importance since COVID-19. “Staying clean helps keep my family safe from disease,” says committee member Ajhar.
Bangladesh (©2020 World Vision/photo by Himaloy Joseph Mree)

CHALLENGE: In the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees depend on aid for water, food, sanitation, and other necessities. In overcrowded living conditions, the coronavirus is an enormous threat.

HOPE: With support from World Vision, refugees formed water committees so they can maintain the water pumps, latrines, and bathing spaces World Vision constructed. And our hygiene training has taken on life-saving importance since COVID-19. “Staying clean helps keep my family safe from disease,” says committee member Ajhar.

PRAYER: Lord, we ask that all children and families will have the clean water and sanitation to help them stay safe from the coronavirus.

Education

World Vision started a remote version of its remedial education program for refugees in April. Parents said their kids needed slower presentations, more explanations, and practice. That’s what they’ve gotten through worksheets, teachers’ videos, and conference calls. Nahed, who teaches English to refugee children, says she’s trying to recreate the supportive classroom experience. She’s seen her students’ reading and writing skills improve.
Jordan (©2020 World Vision/photo by Elias Abu Ata)

CHALLENGE: COVID-19 school closures have tested the will and ingenuity of students, parents, and teachers around the world. In Jordan, the public education system accommodates Syrian refugee children by running schools in two shifts a day. Overcrowding has made it hard for children who need extra help to keep up. They face a higher risk of falling behind and dropping out. Though the Jordanian government has provided classes on TV and online since schools shut down in March, 76% of refugee parents said their kids need extra help.

HOPE: World Vision started a remote version of its remedial education program for refugees in April. Parents said their kids needed slower presentations, more explanations, and practice. That’s what they’ve gotten through worksheets, teachers’ videos, and conference calls. Nahed, who teaches English to refugee children, says she’s trying to recreate the supportive classroom experience. She’s seen her students’ reading and writing skills improve because of it.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, infuse us with Your divine grace and power that we may do Your will in the world for the sake of children.

Disaster Relief

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Coronavirus prayer: A new coronavirus is spreading rapidly around the world. As infections and the death toll rise, we turn to God for wisdom and comfort.
Prayers

Prayers for people affected by the new coronavirus