I am writing to you as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to afflict people, especially the poorest we serve around the world by the twinning program.
As you know, communications between twinning partners remain an important part of a productive partnership. Communications can be by email, telephone and, to a lesser extent, mail and fax (fax). Computer communications tools pose a challenge for many recipient twins due to a lack of access to a computer. The use of Internet Cafes is not always possible and their use is not free. International telephone calls are too expensive. A few communicate by Zoom or Messenger. I note that communications difficulties by recipient twins remain the main issue of the twinning program. Let me suggest to you an additional method of maintaining contacts with your twins, WhatsApp.
The WhatsApp application is widely used in countries of the Caribbean, Central and South America. It’s a simple, fast and free means to communicate by cellular telephone anywhere in the world. You can also install the application on a desktop or laptop computer. It can be used to send short text and audio messages, photos and videos.
I have consulted the Presidents of the National Councils of recipient countries on this matter and the majority of them confirmed that Vincentians, like most people in their country, regularly use the WhatsApp application. Some twinning conferences from the United States are already using this contact tool with their friends from southern American countries.
You could download this Internet tool on a smart phone or computer of your conference or council. I am confident that the beneficiary conference/council twins, already using WhatsApp, will agree to interact with you through this international communications medium. This new method of making contact with your Vincentian friends abroad will certainly improve the content and frequency of communications.
Download link: https://www.whatsapp.com/download?lang=en
Please contact me, if you need my help obtaining your twinning partner’s phone number.
Wishing a you a Holy Lent,
Clermont Fortin, Chair National Twinning