The Duchess of Cornwall visits UNICEF Montenegro
The Duchess of Cornwall learning about #WeProtect from UNICEF Montenegro
PODGORICA, 18 March, 2016 - Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visited Montenegro to see how UNICEF is using a new digital application to help children stay safe on the internet and protect themselves from online sexual exploitation.
The app was developed through UNICEF’s work with #WeProtect – a global initiative created by the UK government to tackle online child sexual abuse and exploitation that includes UNICEF’s programme to address the issue in 17 countries.
The Duchess of Cornwall met with UNICEF and Ministry of Interior representatives to see an exclusive preview of the new app and to discuss how it will protect children online.
UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks said that it was an honor for UNICEF and broader United Nations to host Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.
We hope it will bring attention to the important human rights issues we are seeking to address in the UN family. She looked at three areas where we have strong collaboration with the United Kingdom. The first one is the promotion of foster care. Number of foster carers has increased dramatically in recent years. The second thing she saw was the character education which is about building socio-emotional skills in schools which are relevant to labor market and life in the 21st century. And the third thing she looked at was the whole area of increasing awareness of the community of the dangers that come to children from the internet around online child abuse.
The Duchess of Cornwall also met children in foster care and their foster families as part of UNICEF Montenegro’s Every child needs a family campaign conducted by the Government of Montenegro in partnership with UNICEF and support of the EU.
Nicholas Lyndhurst, famous British actor and a friend of this campaign, and the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Zorica Kovacevic joined the Duchess at this meeting. The campaign aims to encourage more people to become foster parents so that vulnerable children are not placed in institutions.
"It was really nice to be able to welcome Her Royal Highness here, to just highlight the wonderful work UNICEF is doing, promoting foster care in Montenegro. The foster parents that I have spoken to so far are absolute enchanted with what they are doing, being foster parents. I think the country, as forward looking as Montenegro, is probably going to lead the way in the Balkans to promote foster care, and that is what I was lucky enough to tell the Duchess about,“ Nicholas Lyndhurst said.
Montenegrin Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Zorica Kovacevic, pointed out that the government is investing huge efforts in achieving better results in relation to foster care and thanked UNICEF in Montenegro for helping and supporting the government in the field of child protection.
On her visit The Duchess of Cornwall also met with a classroom of children to find out how UNICEF is supporting them develop values, virtues and skills which are necessary for their success in school, life and career.
The programme, developed and conducted in partnership with the Jubilee Center of the University of Birmingham, aims to help children grow into thriving adults with strong social and emotional skills as well as a formal education.
"Today we did some thank-you cards and notes, posters. We have done some work related to optimism, empathy and tolerance, where we have learnt how to act when we grow up,“ said nine-years old Zorica Vukovic from the Elementary school "Branko Bozovic“.
"Today we spent time with the Duchess and well-known actor Rodney. It was so much fun and we showed them our work and those values, virtues and skills that we learned. We were having such a great time, we made some thank-you notes for UNICEF,“ said 10 years old Balsa Popovic from the Elementary school "Savo Pejanovic“.
Deputy Minister of Education, Arijana Nikolic Vucinic, explained that the Ministry of Education is currently carrying out two reform initiatives in cooperation with UNICEF.
"The first initiative relates to the development of non-cognitive skills, such as tolerance, respect and other skills, which we consider to be of same importance as cognitive skills, and that will greatly contribute to better education of our children. Another initiative is being developed together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the University of Birmingham, and it is related to the development of application for the protection of children on the internet,“ she said.
The Duchess of Cornwall visited UNICEF’s programmes as part of a visit to the Western Balkans alongside The Prince of Wales from 14 - 19 March 2016.