In its ten years of existence, the Religious Information Service of Ukraine has achieved many firsts, going from little public awareness to the number one religious news agency for Ukraine.
And now for the first time RISU has become a mother. The screaming little info-baby was born just two months ago-in Africa. A group of development communicators (including yours truly) with RISU experience launched RelZim.org, a web portal on religion in Zimbabwe.
Why follow the RISU model? The lack of reporting on religion in Ukraine and its one-sidedness were a meaningful reason to diversify the mediascape of our country. The Southern African country of Zimbabwe has been suffering from all-pervasive one-party-propaganda for almost three decades and is one more example of how religion gets downplayed by politics and sports reporting.
Some of the goals of RelZim are to make information about Zimbabwe more widely available to the international audience (both diaspora and donors to social and mission projects in Zimbabwe) and to help build connections and information flow in the local Zimbabwean communities of faith.
Internet-based social initiatives are still underdeveloped because of the low internet accessibility rate and high costs-15 times more than Ukraine! Add in scarce computer literacy of the population outside big cities. So part of what we are offering is to create a free web page for any religious group or organization that would like one.
RelZim is also meant to serve scholars (or students) of religion of Zimbabwe and give them a chance to publish research and ideas to a wide audience.
Happy Mother’s Day, RISU!
©2012 Centre of Ukraine African Research