Child poverty reduction starts with quality early childhood development

Finding sustainable ways to support every family in Montenegro with quality services so that parents can provide children with adequate care starting from conception is the foundation of Montenegro’s fight against child poverty

UNICEF Montenegro
Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro representative
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
23 July 2021

PODGORICA, 23 July 2021 – One in three Roma and Egyptian women aged 20–24 and living in Montenegro gave birth at least once before the age of 18. Slightly less than one-third of Roma children up to 2 years old receive an adequate, minimum variety of nutrition. Just 15 percent of Roma and Egyptian children 3–5 years old attend preschools in Montenegro. This is what the most recent UNICEF MICS research discovered in 2018.

The global pandemic can only have worsened this situation in the meantime. For this reason, UNICEF and the Austrian Development Agency are supporting the Institute for Public Health and Red Cross in organizing regular workshops about healthy lifestyles for Roma and Egyptian families all over the country.

Roma mother Violeta Stanković from Konik
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
A mother Violeta Stanković from Konik explaining how workshops helped her raise her children, in Podgorica, in July 2021.

During these workshops, I learned a lot that has helped me raise my children, when they were babies and later on, when they had to go to kindergarten, and later still, to school. I would recommend these workshops to everyone – if mothers can't, then their daughters should come, because here I can learn what I can't learn at home.

mother Violeta Stankovic from Konik

As a result of the workshops, the Red Cross states, first of all, there has been an improvement in the position of women, and then in that of the rest of the Roma and Egyptian populations.

What we are paying special attention to is health, because women and their families have realized that, by learning about it, they are gaining a lot when it comes to the growth and development of their families.

Jelena Dubak, Secretary General of the Red Cross of Montenegro
Jelena Dubak, Secretary General of the Red Cross of Montenegro
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
Jelena Dubak, Secretary General of the Red Cross of Montenegro, speaking how there has been an improvement in the position of women, and then in that of the rest of the Roma and Egyptian population, in Podgorica, in July 2021.

Hundreds of Roma parents and young people in Podgorica, Tivat, Kotor, Niksic and Berane are learning about reproductive health, pregnancy and delivery, adequate child nutrition, protection of children from various diseases including by means of different vaccines, the importance of regular health check-ups for children from birth to ensure their adequate development and the ways to access health care in the local community.

dr Agima Ljaljevic, a medical doctor from the Institute of Public Health
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
dr Agima Ljaljevic, a medical doctor from the Institute of Public Health speaking how health education should be priority measure at all levels of the health system, in Podgorica, in July 2021.

Therefore, all the developed health systems consider health education a priority measure and the task of providers at all levels of the health system

dr Agima Ljaljevic, a medical doctor from the Institute of Public Health

Austrian Ambassador Ana Janković and UNICEF Montenegro Representative Juan Santander joined the health workshop in Konik today.Jankovic points out that social inclusion and Jankovic points out that social inclusion and

Jankovic points out that social inclusion and addressing the social risks in the environment of most vulnerable children, improving their access to health and social services, assisting children with developmental delays and access to early education opportunities are the main goals of this project.

Austrian Ambassador Ana Janković
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
Austrian Ambassador Ana Janković speaking about the aims of this project, in Podgorica, in July 2021.

Santander points out that it is essential for Montenegro’s development to find sustainable ways to support every family in Montenegro with quality services, so that parents can provide their children with adequate care, starting from conception. This is the foundation of Montenegro’s fight against child poverty and a precondition for building an inclusive society that provides equal opportunities for every child.

Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro representative
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro representative, pointing out that it is essential for Montenegro’s development to find sustainable ways to support every family, in Podgorica, in July 2021.

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world. It is also one of the most beautiful. Through workshops like the one we attended today at Konik, but also through parenting schools and similar services, future and current parents learn about best parenting practices and healthy lifestyles to give the best possible support to their children’s development.

Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro Representative

Health workshops for Roma and Egyptian families will continue to be organized throughout the year, together with a series of other activities aimed at increasing these children’s preschool enrolment rates and strengthening home visitation services for Roma and Egyptian families.