The largest Ukrainian project on the pandemic «Coronavirus_info» cooperates with the Ministry of Health on a volunteer basis

The «Coronavirus_info» project now has more than 3.5 million subscribers on Viber and more than 817 thousand on Telegram. These are the largest communities in Ukraine by the number of subscribers.

The project is created by the team of the Institute of Cognitive Modeling on a volunteer basis, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

Viktor Berezenko, founder of the Institute, and Svitlana Paveletska, CEO of the institution, talked to Hromadske about how it was created, how much time it takes to manage and how many people are working on it, how the information is verified, and what will happen to the channels after the pandemic.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Institute offered its assistance to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry supported the initiative and signed a memorandum of cooperation. After that, «Coronavirus_info» was able to contact all structures and partners to build effective strategic communication. The project uses only official data from primary sources; the information is verified and confirmed by the Ministry of Health.

Viktor Berezenko stresses that the «Coronavirus_info» project does not work at public expense:

«Technically, «Coronavirus_info» is only about the «expenses» of creating a Telegram channel: it doesn’t cost anything, it’s your phone number and the phone itself. That is, you spent money on a smartphone, on a SIM card-and now you can also create a Telegram channel.»

Seven people work on all channels, including related ones such as «Expert doctors» and «Coronavirus in the regions». These are employees of the Institute who received an additional workload. On average, the team works 16-18 hours a day seven days a week.

The authors of the project stress that these channels will continue to operate even after the epidemic decreases.

«Channels cover a certain need of the people for information. The need for information will always remain. How to get out of quarantine, and what to do after? We are still talking there about the economic crisis caused, among others, by the coronavirus. What people should do, how to adapt to new economic conditions: all these channels help people survive the crisis. After the medical (crisis), the economic one will come. As long as these channels are popular and people need them, we will invest time and effort,» Paveletska explains.

In general, the Institute of Cognitive Modeling is a commercial company that deals with social communications. The Institute advises on the strategy of image formation, marketing campaigns, and public positioning.

«We are not a purely PR or digital agency or a political technology agency, we are engaged in the whole complex. This does not mean that for some we provide only digital, and for others only PR support. No, we always have a scientific approach, each of our strategies is based on studying the audience, on sociological research, and on studying the psychological models of our client’s target audience. Whether it is business, politics, or government agencies,» explains Paveletska.