The children


Early years

Breastfeeding in Montenegro

Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey (MICS) 2005 found that only 19% of Montenegro’s women exclusively breastfeed their children within the first 6 months and only every fourth woman breastfeeds her baby within the first hour after birth. To put that into a comparative perspective, Montenegro’s average of 19% is below the developing world average of 38% of infants under 6 months of age who are breastfed. If we are to compare this with the developed countries like Norway for example, then it is interesting to know that 98% of women leave the hospital breastfeeding, while 75% of them still breastfeed after 3-4 months. Eighty-five percent of parents do not know that breast milk meets all the needs of the child for nutrients according to the knowledge, attitude and practices survey conducted in June 2009 among 1,000 of Montenegro's parents of children under 6.

Involvement of Montenegro's fathers in early childhood development

Key results of the knowledge, attitude and practices survey conducted in June 2009 among 1,000 of Montenegro's parents of children under 6 show that:

  •  When asked who primarily takes care of the child in 82% of cases the answer is the mother
  •  41% of mothers state they mainly visited the doctor alone during pregnancy
  • Only 7% of fathers attended the child birth
  • 37% of breastfeeding mothers say no one helps them with nutrition and breastfeeding, cleaning and bathing the child
  • 59% of fathers do not know how their child was fed
  • Only 7% of fathers teach a child his/her first moral principles – what is good and what is bad
  • Fathers participate less in education activities, as they more often watch TV and go for walks with children

Physical punishment of Montenegro's children

Key results of the knowledge, attitude and practices survey conducted in June 2009 among 1,000 of Montenegro's parents of children under 6 show that:

  • 55% of guardians say that they had to hit their child at least once during the past week. 8% of guardians hit the child 3 and more times.
  • When a child does something considered inadequate, 46% of guardians do not explain the child why this should not be done. Instead, they say “no”, distract the child’s attention to something else, put things out of the child’s reach or slap the child on the hand.
  • Although mother is mainly the one who punishes (69%), this role is, however, taken by a certain percentage of fathers (21%).

Campaign "The Early Years - An Opportunity of a Lifetime"

Based on the findings of the reserch, UNICEF Montenegro and the Ministry of Health started a 3-month awareness raising campaign called "The Early Years - An Opportunity of a Life Time" on 1 August, 2009. Key messages of the campaign address the main issues identified by the knowledge, attitude and practices survey conducted in June 2009 among 1,000 of Montenegro's parents of children under 6:

  • A mother’s milk is the most complete form of nutrition she can offer her newborn
  • Every child deserves the best possible start to life
  • Being a father is an opportunity of a life time
  • Active fathers strenghten self-confidence
  • Children always have time for a story
  • Children always have time to play
  • Baby always has time for a cuddle
  • Children always have time to laugh
  • Children learn how to behave by imitating the behavior of those closest to them 
  • Talk to children whenever they have done something wrong 
  • Help your child learn rules, limits, and values by explaining them

A number of sports and music celebrities supported the campaign: basketball player Djuro Ostojic, waterpolo player Milos Scepanovic, singer Andrijana Bozovic, football player Vukasin Poleksic, music bend Pljevaljski tamburasi, UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador Rambo Amadeus and Ulcinj basketball club. The campaign ended on October 31, 2009 and a new research was conducted among 1,000 Montenegro's parents of children under 6 in November 2009 in order to evaluate the impact of the campaign. According to the key findings of the evaluation research conducted immediately after the end of the campaign:

  • 75% of parents noticed the campaign;
  • average grade for the promotional material on the scale 1-5 was 4.7;
  • almost 2/3 of parents were stimulated to think seriously about the campaign topics;
  • almost every second parent was under the impression that this campaign was addressing him/her directly;
  • campaign brought new information to 40% of parents;
  • majority of the population (80%) liked this campaign in general;
  • if they had another child, average duration of breast-feeding would be 12 months, while in the research before the campaign it was 9 months;
  • 26% of parents agree that breast-milk contains all nutrients a baby needs, while before the campaign only 15% knew this. The percentage of those who disagree with this dropped from 63% in the first survey to 53% after the campaign;
  • when asked what attitudes were changed, parents most often refer to father devoting more time to children 18%, to talking more with children 17.6% and not hitting their children 17.4%.
  • behaviour changes most mentioned are: father devotes more time to children 16.8%, parents talk to children more 11.7% and parents don't hit their children any longer 15.3%.

Presentation about 3 month awareness raising campaign "The Early Years - An Opportunity of a Lifetime"

Watch the video adverts which were broadcast from 1 August – 31 October 2009 on Montenegrin TV stations with national coverage here:


Watch the vox populi video on "The Early Years - An Opportunity of a Lifetime" campaign






Key messages - The Early Years - An Opportunity of a Lifetime



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