Employment for single parents to reduce child poverty

UNICEF young reporters ask: How to reduce child poverty in Montenegro?

UNICEF Montenegro
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
17 October 2021

PODGORICA, 17 OCTOBER 2021 – How to reduce child poverty in Montenegro? – was a question posed by UNICEF young reporters to the UNDP Representative Daniela Gasparikova, a single mother Sabina Krnić and an unemployed father Burim Bećaj, on the occasion of the World Poverty Day, celebrated on October 17.

UNICEF Montenegro

In Montenegro, starting a family, or having a family, is one of the most cited reasons why employers are refusing to employ women. This doesn’t happen to men. So only if women are able to pursue jobs, if they are able to enter the labour market, will they be able to earn an income which then will be used to improve the lives of their children.

Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Representative

She also pointed out that providing equal opportunities to women to work will not only increase the income of the family and thus decrease child poverty, but it will also lead to a reduction in the number of women and children who are victims of family violence, as working women will be able to break the cycle of violence. Living in violence is also a form of poverty.

If we are, as people, experiencing violence, we cannot concentrate, we are stressed, we are in pain. Nobody who is in pain can learn; nobody who is in pain can earn money and nobody who is in pain can live a good, prosperous life.

Daniela Gasparikova, UNDP Representative

Sabina Krnić, a single mother, thinks that greater support needs to be provided to single parents living in poverty in particular when it comes to providing them with a house and a job that will allow them to pay the bills regularly.

More attention should be paid to the poverty of single mothers, single parents, to avoid making them homeless like I am. It's impossible to pay utility bills or satisfy the needs of children who go to school with €105 per month.

Sabina Krnić, a single mother
UNICEF Montenegro

Burim Bećaj, an unemployed father of ten children living in Konik, highlights the need to support families so that they can have heating during the winter, as well as to provide children with a playground and a park in Konik.

UNICEF Montenegro

There is no wood, it gets really cold for those who live on the ground floor. I don't work anywhere, I live off whatever I can find in dumpsters. I hope that things will get better in the future and that some institutions will take matters in their hands to make sure it gets better.

Burim Bećaj, an unemployed father

Every third child in Montenegro was at risk of poverty before the COVID-19 pandemic and this number is now even greater due to the coronavirus crisis.

The poverty rate for a single-parent family with children is 35 percent compared to the national average of 25 percent. While the coronavirus crisis has significantly worsened the lives of all children, those who grow up in poverty and in single-parent households are among those most affected and most in need of effective public support systems.

Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro Representative
Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro representative
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro representative, in the UN building in Podgorica, 2021.

Poverty is more than just income-deprivation. To reduce poverty, the state needs to provide both cash assistance and quality health, education, social and child protection services to every family in Montenegro.