Rimma Dorozhkina, Chairwoman
Difficulties of the transition period to a democratic society in today's Russia are particularly acutely reflected in relations within the family. Every third person in the town of Irkutsk is a child. However, not all of them live in a family. State institutions dealing with children without families (more often than not, however, having parents) are overcrowded.
An Information and Analytical Centre of Social Programmes, "Dialogue", a non-governmental organisation, has been set up by journalists, psychologists, lawyers, and teachers deeply disturbed by the lowering of the value of the family and loss of parental instincts. Its main activities are directed towards maintaining the family as an ancient and irreplaceable institution.
Realisation of the proposed project, "The Institution of the Family in the Mass Media" by the Centre "Dialogue" - the first of its kind in our region, will enable us to contribute towards a solution of this problem, draw attention to problems of the family and unite the efforts of state and voluntary organisations in support of the family.
The aim of the project is to inform and consult citizens in the mass media on questions concerning the family, campaigning for improvements in social politics and the work of relevant local services.
The first steps towards realisation of this project have already been made. The Centre's materials on this subject have appeared in a number of regional newspapers (in the columns "Family matters" and "Advice for the Family") where consultation is given by psychologists, lawyers, doctors and teachers, that is, an information system and specific data bank is being created on the theme of the family and personal identity. Such a system, making professional information and consultations available, is vital in today's conditions.
The Centre aims at giving what can be termed "general assistance", that is, not telling people what they should do, but helping them to help themselves to overcome their own problems and take responsibility for them. The notion of education is included in the task, as our aim is to give the maximum possible information on everything concerning the individual and his or her everyday life.
An exchange of experience and methods between the Centre and organisations abroad will assist greatly in making the work more effective.
In addition to information services, the project includes a study of social problems that affect family relations.
The project also aims at:
- the setting up of a laboratory of family politics, the aim of which will be to collect and analyse information on problems of relationships within the family (sociological research, tests, questionnaires and so on). On the basis of the data obtained, recommendations (literature on methods, reference literature), consultations, seminars, lectures, and publications for the mass media will be made. The results will be distributed not only amongst educational establishments, but also other interested organisations and the general public.
- work of a permanent 'round table' involving specialists and representatives of the mass media (a combination of social sciences and social journalism).
The project is being developed together with the local Department of Education.
In the event of the project being realised, the resources will be used to continue the activities of the Centre "Dialogue" in Irkutsk Region, and to set up a Baikal Institute of the Family.
Last updated: July 1998
A print version of much of the information contained in this NIS Third Sector Organizations section can be found in the The Post-Soviet Handbook (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1999).