Closing of the first phase of the awareness raising campaign on inclusion of children with disabilities “It’s about ability”
PODGORICA, DECEMBER 20, 2010 – Mr. Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister and Ms. Noala Skinner, UNICEF Montenegro Representative, together with children, will present the key results of the three month awareness raising campaign “It’s about ability” in the Gradska kafana in hotel “Crna Gora” in Podgorica on Monday, December 20 at 10.30am. The event will begin with children and young people, who will speak about what inclusive society means to them and about their experiences during the “It’s about ability” campaign. A video evaluation of the campaign will be presented at the event together with the results of the evaluation survey about the campaign’s impact, which was conducted among 1,000 citizens in all parts of Montenegro in December. Before the event, Prime Minister Djukanovic and Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Suad Numanovic will visit Komanski Most institution to meet the children currently living there, and to highlight the importance of family and community-based alternatives for children with disability currently in institutional care.
The aim of the campaign “It’s About Ability” has been to promote inclusion of children with disabilities into society by stimulating changes in attitudes and practices of the general public towards children with disability. The campaign was based on a knowledge, attitudes and practices survey conducted among 1,000 citizens in all parts of Montenegro in August, which showed considerable social distance towards children with disabilities. During the three month campaign, 100 billboards and city lights all over the country showed Montenegro’s children with disabilities as active members of the society – athletes, friends, musicians, dancers, students, daughters, sons, brothers and sisters and transmitted the key messages - Where many see difficulties, we see opportunities; where many see obstacles, we see friendship; where many see weakness, we see courage; and where many see burden, we see love. Thanks to partnership with media, all TV stations broadcasted the TV commercial showing a child with disability in a loving family environment and print media published newspaper ads with the campaign’s key messages. Primary schools across the country began organizing sessions of the school parliaments on inclusion based on UNICEF publications for students and teachers “It’s about ability”. 8 out of 21municipal parliaments held special sessions on building inclusive local communities together with the representatives of the local school parliaments and parents’ associations. Through one minute juniors, - films produced by Montenegro’s children with disabilities and shown on national TVs and at municipal parliaments’ special sessions on inclusion, voices of these children reached key decision-makers and thousands of citizens. More than 30 children from the school parliaments in northern municipalities and Ambassadors participated in an inter-generational dialogue on inclusion in Kolasin. More than 150 children with and without disabilities played basketball together in the Sports centre “Moraca” in the capital. The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Suad Numanovic and high level officials from this and the Ministry of Education participated in a study visit to UK centres for children with disabilities and inclusive schools. The Government of Montenegro, UNICEF, EU Delegation, Council of Europe, UN system, OSCE, Embassies, Associations of Parents of Children with disabilities, Centre for Child Rights and other civil sector organizations promoting rights child rights, all print and electronic media, the private sector, children with and without disabilities and parents from all over the country joined a broad coalition of over 100 partners supporting “It’s about ability”.
As a result, according to the evaluation survey conducted among 1,000 citizens in all parts of Montenegro in the first week of December, many citizens started to change their way of thinking and their behaviour towards children with disabilities. Key findings of the evaluation survey show that:
• Before the campaign, 40% citizens were of the opinion that absolutely all children with disabilities should be in special institutions, while after the campaign this percentage is almost half as it decreased to 21% of citizens.
“What started as a campaign, has evolved into a movement supporting full inclusion of children with disabilities into all aspects of life in Montenegro – families, schools, communities and hearts. We cannot and will not stop here. ‘It’s About Ability” will continue, and grow. There is a lot of work in front of us, but the results of the campaign evaluation show that we are off to a great start” says UNICEF Montenegro Representative Noala Skinner.
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