How coronavirus is affecting sponsored children and communities

How coronavirus is affecting sponsored children and communities

COVID-19 sponsorship updates 

The coronavirus pandemic affects us all and the situation is changing rapidly. But each of us has the power to care for the people around us and those most in need.  

Through child and community sponsorship, our supporters are helping to protect vulnerable communities around the world.   

In every community where we work, our staff and community partners are closely monitoring developments. Below, you’ll find the latest updates from each sponsorship country on how we’re working to keep children and families safe. We will update this page regularly with new information. 

You can also check out the most recent impact updates from our global coronavirus emergency response.  

 

Last updated on 7 June 2020.

Communities supported through sponsorship


Africa

Burundi

Burundi


Burundi has confirmed cases of COVID-19 and is at high risk because of reported cases in neighbouring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Public places like schools, churches and markets remain open, but handwashing is encouraged and three hospitals have been designated for treating COVID-19 cases.

Most World Vision staff are working from home, focusing on increasing awareness of how to prevent COVID-19. They are also educating children online, training community health volunteers and faith leaders on psychosocial support, and assessing COVID-19 needs in health facilities and schools. We have distributed cash transfers and hygiene kits to more than 5,000 vulnerable households and provided medicine and personal protective equipment to the Ministry of Health.  

All the communities we partner with in Burundi are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays.

 


Chad

Chad


Chad has confirmed cases of COVID-19. The government has closed schools, bars, restaurants, markets, churches and mosques, stopped public transport and banned public gatherings of more than 50 people.

Our response includes prevention awareness and distributing handwashing kits, soap, bleach and face masks. We are working with the government to help coordinate the national response and training faith leaders to share COVID-19 information with their communities. We’re also providing 1,300 students in quarantine with food assistance and have provided a further 200 people in quarantine with hygiene supplies.

All the communities we partner with in Chad are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. All staff are working from home but continuing to reach vulnerable children and families through community volunteers – while following safety guidelines.

 


Ethiopia

Ethiopia


Ethiopia confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on 13 March. The country is also managing cholera outbreaks in two regions. The government has closed all land borders and introduced mandatory quarantine for all travellers arriving by air. Schools have closed and university campuses have restricted student entry. Public gatherings at sports venues and religious institutions are banned. The number of passengers on public transport has been restricted.

World Vision is assisting the government with COVID-19 prevention to help keep children and communities safe, working closely with the Ethiopian Public Health Institution and supporting the broadcast of COVID-19 and child protection messages on television. We have also trained 5,000 faith leaders on prevention messages, so far reaching 45,000 people. We are assessing needs in the health sector and have provided protective equipment for staff in five health facilities. We have also distributed food to people in quarantine and provided 20 water tanks that will help more than 12,000 children and 8,000 adults practise good hygiene.

All the communities we partner with in Ethiopia are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays.

 


Kenya

Kenya


Kenya has confirmed COVID-19 cases. The government has stopped international flights, banned public gatherings, introduced a night-time curfew, and closed schools, churches and other places of worship, as well as some markets and industries.

World Vision is partnering with the Ministry of Health, faith leaders and community health workers to educate families and communities on ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We’ve mobilised more than 730 faith leaders to share prevention and child protection messages and trained more than 800 faith leaders in psychological first aid. We’re also installing handwashing facilities in high-traffic areas, such as markets and health facilities, promoting handwashing and distributing soap to vulnerable families. 

We’re supporting health facilities and community health workers by providing training and more than 11,400 personal protective equipment kits for use in isolation and quarantine centres. We’re also equipping community health workers with knowledge and supplies to identify, refer and monitor COVID-19 cases in their communities. 

We’re identifying and supporting vulnerable children with access to food, nutrition and water purifiers. We’re also equipping frontline staff, volunteers, faith leaders and teachers with tools to address distress caused by this crisis and bring hope to their communities.

All the communities we partner with in Kenya are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Most staff are working from home, with the exception of some essential staff.

 


Malawi

Malawi


Malawi has confirmed cases of COVID-19. The government has declared a State of Disaster, closing schools, banning public gatherings and restricting the number of people on public transport.

World Vision has provided 41 health facilities with gloves, face masks, theatre gowns, soap, chlorine and buckets, and trained 141 health workers on COVID-19 prevention measures. In addition, personal protective equipment and handwashing kits have been provided to airport staff. We have trained staff, community volunteers, local leaders and more than 2,100 faith leaders on sharing COVID-19 prevention measures with their communities, and they have so far reached over 7,400 people. 

We are also producing COVID-19 programs for national and community radio stations, sharing COVID-19 information with children through our programs and supporting government efforts to reach communities with COVID-19 information.

All the communities we partner with in Malawi are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Staff are working from home and we have suspended all visits to communities.

 


Mozambique

Mozambique


Mozambique confirmed its first cases of COVID-19 in late March. The government has closed all schools, restricted gatherings to fewer than 50 people, closed most borders and stopped most international flights. The health system is under increasing pressure and public hospitals are only attending to emergencies, pregnant women and chronically ill patients. World Vision has been recognised as an “essential service” allowed to provide support to communities during the pandemic and we have supported the Ministry of Health to set up COVID-19 isolation wards. 

World Vision is working with the local government to coordinate response plans and train police to work with vulnerable groups, including children. We’ve produced COVID-19 prevention radio programs and trained 150 faith leaders from local churches and mosques on prevention measures. We’ve also adapted our child sponsorship activities and are including education on COVID-19 prevention in all our activities. 

All the communities we partner with in Mozambique are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays.

 


Rwanda

Rwanda


Rwanda confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on 14 March. The government has introduced a total lockdown, closing national and district borders, schools and workplaces.

World Vision is working with the government to share information about how to prevent and protect against COVID-19; complete five essential water systems to supply communities with clean water; construct handwashing facilities at schools, hospitals and refugee camps; set up radio-based school programs to facilitate remote learning; and register vulnerable families, including sponsored children’s families, in a cash transfer program to ensure they can continue buying food throughout the lockdown.

We have been part of 47 live radio talk shows to raise awareness about child protection during COVID-19 and our media campaign on radio, TV and YouTube has reached a combined audience of more than five million people.

All the communities we partner with in Rwanda are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays.

 


Tanzania

Uganda

There are confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tanzania. The government has closed all schools and universities and restricted public gatherings and international travel. World Vision is supporting the government to respond in areas with confirmed cases and continuing to distribute food in refugee settlements as an essential service.

We are distributing COVID-19 prevention brochures, posters and banners and training faith leaders to raise awareness about COVID-19 in their communities. We have held a virtual meeting with other Christian organisations to discuss COVID-19 prevention and how to protect children from abuse, child marriage and early pregnancy during the pandemic. We are also setting up public handwashing stations and other hygiene facilities, providing health centres with disinfectant kits and training community health workers.

All of the communities we partner with in Tanzania are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays.

 


Uganda

Uganda


There are confirmed COVID-19 cases in Uganda and the government has introduced lockdowns and restrictions. World Vision is working closely with the government to prioritise food distributions to children in vulnerable families and to raise awareness about the new education guidelines for online and home learning. 

We are sharing information about COVID-19 by training village health volunteers and 1,200 faith leaders in prevention messages, and distributing flyers and special messages for children. We have also trained 5,200 community health workers, provided health facilities with medical supplies and personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, and set up public handwashing facilities.

We are advocating for child protection and gender-based violence prevention to be integrated into the government’s district taskforce activities.  
 

All of the communities we partner with in Uganda are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays.

 


Zambia

Zambia


Zambia recorded its first case of COVID-19 on 18 March. The government has closed schools, restricted public gatherings and imposed quarantines on people arriving from high-risk areas. 

World Vision is partnering with UNICEF to assist 134 health facilities to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene and infection control measures, and we have provided them with 40,000 face masks and 20,000 gloves. We’re training faith leaders on prevention measures so that they can share information with their communities and via community radio programs. We have started sharing messages about the importance of protecting children during the crisis through social media and a district child justice forum. 

All communities we partner with in Zambia are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. We’re continuing our work to support vulnerable communities but have adapted activities to meet government guidelines, including restricting international and domestic travel. Some activities are being carried out in small groups and others are taking place online.

 


Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe


Zimbabwe’s government has imposed a national lockdown. World Vision is partnering with the World Food Programme to distribute food assistance and mobile cash transfers to more than 1.4 million people, including the families of 69,000 sponsored children. We have also partnered with local churches, businesses, professional bodies and civic organisations to provide communities in five areas with food and water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

We’ve provided protective equipment, including gowns, gloves and respirators, and information materials to provincial health facilities. We are raising awareness about COVID-19 and child protection on radio and TV. We have also trained more than 1,400 faith leaders to share COVID-19 information with their communities, and to monitor domestic violence reports and provide counselling to help protect children and other vulnerable people.

All the communities we partner with in Zimbabwe are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Our offices are closed and key staff are working from home, using WhatsApp and similar communications channels to help keep children and communities safe.

 



Asia

Bangladesh

Bangladesh


More than 387,000 people in Bangladesh have been affected by Cyclone Amphan, which hit the region on 20 May, compounding the challenges of COVID-19. The government has imposed a national shutdown, restricting people’s movements across the country. These restrictions make it very challenging to assist cyclone-affected communities.

World Vision's COVID-19 response has reached over two million people, including one million children. We have been educating children, families and communities in prevention methods, with a special focus on Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, an area affected by the cyclone. We’ve already reached over 600,000 people through awareness posters and social media and have trained 1,200 faith leaders how to share prevention messages in their communities. 
 

We’ve provided more than 170,000 people with soap and buckets, set up 1,200 handwashing facilities, trained community health workers and child protection workers, distributed food packs and cash vouchers, and provided vulnerable children with psychosocial support.

All the communities we partner with in Bangladesh are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Most staff are working from home. We have put planned learning events and gatherings on hold so we can adapt our program in response to COVID-19 and help keep children and communities safe.

 


Cambodia

Cambodia


Cambodia has confirmed cases of COVID-19. The government has closed schools, cinemas and other public gatherings. Public transport was suspended, travel between provinces banned, and land borders with Vietnam and Thailand closed. 

World Vision is working with community networks to promote COVID-19 awareness and prevention, provide more than 726,000 people with basic hygiene kits, and provide medical facilities with equipment like thermometers, gloves and hand towels. We are partnering with the UN World Food Programme and the local government to distribute emergency food supplies to more than 21,000 vulnerable children. And we have launched a positive parenting and home-based learning social media campaign.

All the communities we partner with in Cambodia are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Most staff are working from home, but remain in contact with community members to monitor sponsored children’s wellbeing, as there is a risk of health and child protection issues increasing throughout the crisis.

 


India

India


Tens of thousands of people in eastern India were affected by Cyclone Amphan which hit the region on 20 May, compounding the challenges of COVID-19. India has thousands of confirmed cases of COVID-19. The government imposed a 40-day national lockdown on 24 March and only select activities like agriculture and health services were allowed to continue. Several states have introduced laws against public gatherings and non-essential movement, and to enforce social distancing. Rail, road and air transport passenger services have been suspended. The restrictions are making it very challenging to provide much-needed assistance to communities struck by the cyclone.

World Vision’s COVID-19 response has reached over one million people, including 300,000 children. We are also providing relief to 20,000 cyclone-affected families. We are working with the government, faith leaders and other community-based organisations to slow the spread of the virus by educating and equipping over 675,000 families with the knowledge and supplies they need to practise proper hygiene. We have trained more than 1,200 community volunteers, distributed 34,600 handwashing kits and are broadcasting handwashing and child protection messages on radio. 
 
We are also supporting local health workers by providing personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves and thermometers, and have provided over 10,600 vulnerable families with food rations, including 177,000 nutritional meals for children.
 
All the communities we partner with in India are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Staff are working from home but continuing to meet online to help keep children and communities safe.

 


Indonesia

Indonesia


Indonesia’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on 2 March and thousands of cases have been confirmed since. The government declared an emergency response, appointing provincial task forces, restricting travel between provinces, imposing a travel ban on countries with high case numbers, and requiring other travellers to present a health certificate on arrival. 

World Vision is working to limit the spread of COVID-19 by educating communities about proper hygiene practices, installing handwashing facilities in high-traffic communities, providing soap to vulnerable families, providing personal protective equipment to health facilities and training community health workers. 
 
We’re providing families who have lost their income source with access to food and nutrition support. We have partnered with the government to prepare educational materials and promote remote learning, and successfully advocated for the government to adopt community-based child protection guidelines for the COVID-19 response. We’re also partnering with a local university to help identify online/remote learning opportunities and develop online classes with tips on helping children at different ages to learn.
 
All the communities we partner with in Indonesia are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Staff are working from home. Our emergency response teams, who had been working on earthquake and tsunami responses, will now focus on COVID-19. We’re working to support the government and our other partners with preventative measures and establishing a system of care for children whose families are confined by COVID-19.

 


Laos

Laos


Laos has confirmed cases of COVID-19. The government ordered people to stay home and work from home where possible. Schools and universities closed, travel between areas was restricted, and all public gatherings banned.

World Vision is now preparing early recovery activities focused on child protection, education support and cash transfers for the most vulnerable children and their families. We are working in collaboration with local authorities, frontline health workers and community leaders. We have shared information about COVID-19, hygiene and child protection through loudspeaker messages and phone calls to our community networks. We are also providing health facilities with personal protective equipment and medical supplies like digital thermometers, face masks, gloves, soap and sanitiser.

All of the communities we partner with in Laos are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. All staff are working from home but staying connected to the communities we work with through regular phone calls.

 


Myanmar

Myanmar


Myanmar has confirmed cases of COVID-19. The government ordered people to stay home and avoid travel between villages, banned gatherings of more than five people, imposed a curfew, and asked non-government organisations not to conduct activities in communities with COVID-19 cases. 
 

World Vision is training more than 5,000 community group members on child protection during COVID-19, conducting child protection risk assessments in 35 towns, and advocating for the government to ensure child protection services and helplines for children. We are also training 50 frontline staff and service providers on psychological first aid for children facing stress. During the crisis, we have also worked with the government to distribute personal protective equipment and medical supplies like masks, gloves, disinfectant, thermometers and sanitiser to health facilities.

We are providing internally displaced people with food supplies, cash, water purification tablets, soap, buckets and COVID-19 information. And we have developed education kits for children and online home schooling training for caregivers.  

Several of the communities we partner with in Myanmar are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays.


Nepal

Nepal


Nepal’s first COVID-19 case was recorded on 23 January. The government has closed all non-essential operations, suspended all domestic and international flights and long-distance public transport, and closed its borders with India and mainland China. 
 
The impact of COVID-19 on the country is high. Many people have lost their jobs and income sources as a result of the government restrictions. World Vision is now preparing for early recovery activities.
 
Throughout our response, we have provided health workers with protective equipment and other medical supplies. We’ve reached 15 million people with prevention and child protection messages through radio broadcasts on over 300 radio stations. Another 31,400 people were reached through digital platforms. We've distributed soap to 5,100 families and food supplies to 2,000 families most affected by COVID-19. We are also assisting 32 local governments to set up and operate quarantine centres and develop online tools so children can continue learning through lockdown.
 
All the communities we partner with in Nepal are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Staff are working from home but continuing to monitor sponsored children via mobile phones. 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka has recorded cases of COVID-19 and some deaths. The government imposed an island-wide curfew, prohibited movement between districts and asked all people to work from home.

World Vision is focused on combatting the spread of the virus and working with the government to educate communities on COVID-19 prevention. We’ve provided four mobile toilets and 1,500 water bottles to the quarantine centre in Chilaw and provided masks to a COVID-19 testing lab in the Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital. We’ve also distributed over 650 dry food ration packs to vulnerable families in Batticaloa. 
 

Partnering with UNICEF, we are advocating for the government to develop online platforms so that children can continue learning and to provide children with psychosocial support. 

All the communities we partner with in Sri Lanka are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Staff are working from home.

 


Vietnam

Vietnam


Vietnam has confirmed cases of COVID-19. The government closed all schools and banned large public gatherings. However, small gatherings are permitted. This means some child sponsorship activities can continue, while others will be delayed. 

World Vision is  now focused on early recovery activities and will conduct a needs assessment in June. Throughout the crisis, we have been sharing information on COVID-19 prevention and handwashing, and helping children cope with stress in the communities where we work. We have also been working with the government, health workers and police to establish incident reporting mechanisms in quarantine and isolation centres, to help protect children and other vulnerable people.

Most staff are working from home. We have worked with our partners to adjust activities to meet safety guidelines while maximising effectiveness.

 



Middle East

Jerusalem-West Bank

Jerusalem


The Palestinian Authority declared a State of Emergency over areas under its administration on 22 March. The Israeli Government has restricted all movement that is non-essential throughout the rest of the West Bank and Israel. 

In partnership with the World Health Organization and UNICEF, World Vision is distributing information material promoting COVID-19 prevention measures. We’re also supporting health workers by providing medical equipment, hygiene products and protective equipment. 

All the communities we partner with in this region are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause operational delays. Most staff are working from home, with the exception of some roles essential to the COVID-19 response.

 



Other countries

Haiti

Haiti


Haiti’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed on 19 March. There is great concern because of the country’s weak public health system. Many health workers who have not been paid for months have gone on strike and have not been trained how to manage the virus. 
 
The government has closed schools and universities, factories, churches, airports and seaports, banned gatherings of more than 10 people, and imposed a night-time curfew. However, hundreds of protestors have staged public demonstrations against the shutdowns because of the economic impacts. 
 
World Vision is working to educate families on prevention measures, including social distancing, handwashing and isolation, using trucks with loud speakers, TV and radio, and working with church leaders. We are distributing food vouchers, hygiene kits, vegetable seeds and other household essentials to families most in need. We are also providing communities with handwashing supplies and home schooling guidance.
 
All of the communities we partner with in Haiti are experiencing restrictions due to safety measures, which will likely cause some operational delays. Most staff are working from home, with the exception of some essential staff.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua


Nicaragua has confirmed cases of COVID-19, but the government has not declared an emergency and there are no restrictions in place. However, people have taken their own preventative measures and many companies have asked their employees to work from home. 
 
World Vision is focused on delivering hygiene kits to communities, teaching people about handwashing, and training health workers on COVID-19 prevention to help keep children and communities safe. 
 
Most staff are working from home, with the exception of some essential staff.

Your questions answered

The safety and wellbeing of the children we serve is our highest priority. If your sponsored child becomes seriously ill from coronavirus or any other illness, we will contact you with known information as soon as it’s operationally possible. 
We know from experience in the Ebola crisis and other disease outbreaks, that the secondary impacts of the coronavirus can be devastating for children living in poverty, specifically losing a parent or older caregiver. If your sponsored child loses a parent/caregiver to coronavirus or any other illness, we will contact you with known information as soon as it’s operationally possible. 

In each community where we work, World Vision staff and volunteers are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and adjusting our programs to respond to changing needs. There are three different scenarios for the 54 countries where sponsored children live:  

  1. Our child sponsorship programs are operating as usual without restriction. In these communities we’re focusing on preventing the spread of the virus and mitigating its effects, in addition to our usual child sponsorship activities.
  2. Our child sponsorship programs are operating, but with some restrictions. In these communities, we have paused some of our less time-critical work to limit close contact between children and other people. We’re carrying out COVID-19 activities as well as our usual work where possible.
  3. Our child sponsorship programs are on hold and an emergency response is underway. Staff and volunteers are focused on keeping children and their families safe. We’re raising awareness about COVID-19 prevention, strengthening local health systems and prioritising child protection. Most of our communities are in this category. 

Yes! Now more than ever, communities need support to help protect children and their families from COVID-19 and the social and economic hardship it can create. Thanks to ongoing support from sponsors like you, World Vision was on the ground helping communities prepare for and stop the spread of the virus from the very first days. 

For the foreseeable future, we’re combining 20 percent of your sponsorship contributions with those of other sponsors to support our COVID-19 response in your sponsored child’s country. 

In the immediate term, our project work is focused specifically on providing essentials like clean water, to enable effective handwashing; nutritious food, to help parents provide for their families while they’re unable to work in lockdown; healthcare and supplies; educational opportunities, even when schools are closed; and so much more. In due course, we will refocus on other critical areas of need, specific to each community, to continue helping the most vulnerable children thrive – both now and into the future. 

There hasn’t been a day that our work to care for children has stopped, even when restrictions have prevented our staff from visiting communities. Through our community networks and the use of mobile phones, WhatsApp, social media and any other locally available technology, we’ve been able to continue monitoring children’s health and wellbeing and respond to their needs. 

The support we’re providing families includes information about COVID-19 prevention; resources to enable continued learning from home; and online counselling or psychosocial support, or even intervention from local police in cases of family violence. We’re also delivering desperately needed food, hygiene supplies, cash vouchers and other assistance to the most vulnerable families and communities to help them get through this time.  

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 Organization. In many countries, our staff are working from home and using mobile phones or online channels to continue caring for children. Most of the support we’re providing for children and families is being delivered by community-based volunteers and organisations, who are carefully following social distancing and handwashing protocols in any face-to-face interactions.  

We can’t know when the COVID-19 risk will pass and restrictions will ease in your sponsored child’s country. We do know that in many of the places we work, recovery from COVID-19 and its economic, nutritional, social, educational and many other impacts will be long-lasting. Your support will be more critical than ever. 

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 in line with new realities. And some of the innovations we’ve developed to cope with this crisis – like connecting children with online support groups, creative projects and educational resources – may become a permanent part of our work because of their effectiveness.  

The spread of the coronavirus across the globe, along with emerging data on infection, mortality and health impacts, provided clear evidence that COVID-19 could prove devastating. 

World Vision made the declaration because we are deeply concerned about what could happen if the outbreak reaches vulnerable communities. This includes those in countries with weak health systems, where there are refugee and displaced populations living in crowded and often unhygienic settlements, and in urban slums and informal settlements.   

Coronavirus transmission in dense spaces, including refugee camps and urban spaces, could affect a significant number of people in a very short time. This is due to crowded environments, shared dwellings, limited access to safe water or soap and shared toilets.   

There also are sponsored and non-sponsored children living in many of these contexts. 

World Vision’s COVID-19 global response initially focused on 17 countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil (Venezuela Border), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, mainland China, Mongolia, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Syria and Thailand.  This number has now expanded to more than 70 countries.

We are supporting our First Nations partners, the communities we work with and young people during the COVID19 crisis, by adapting how we deliver our existing programs. We will continue to support initiatives that reinforce community wellbeing, education and health during this difficult period. We recognise that First Nations communities are not only highly vulnerable to the virus, but also to the social change and restrictions put in place to stay safe.

We are calling on the Australian Government to prioritise the protection of these communities, who are often in remote areas and already experiencing disadvantage. You can support our ongoing work with First Nations communities.


You can also donate to World Vision’s Coronavirus Appeal to help fund life-saving preventions and interventions