It’s about ability campaign in Montenegro makes every fourth citizen change behaviour
PODGORICA, 22 January 2013 – Every second citizen (49 per cent) learned something new about children with disability from the It’s about ability campaign, while one in five (19 per cent) changed attitudes and one in four (25 per cent) changed positively the behaviour towards children with disability according to the latest KAP survey conducted in December 2012.
Most people learned that it is possible for children with disability to make progress in their development and that they can grow up to become successful athletes and artists. It’s about ability TV campaign in 2012 contributed to this significantly, as 67 per cent of citizens noticed the campaign’s TV commercial about two young Paralympic athletes and most of them say that they liked it because it demonstrates the courage, strength and abilities of children with disability.
Citizens who noticed this TV commercial are more interested in enrolling their child into an inclusive sports club (50 per cent) compared to those who did not see it (16 per cent). In addition, every second citizen (45 per cent) noticed the music video It’s about ability made by the UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador Rambo Amadeus together with children. Most people liked this video because it shows happy and smiling children with and without disability having fun together as young artists - dancers, singers, pianists, guitarists, etc.
The campaign also raised awareness of citizens that children with disabilities can develop a true friendship with peers without disability. One of the campaign innovations in 2012 was the establishment of inclusive young volunteers’ clubs where children with and without disability can meet, become friends and hang out regularly in the local community. Every third citizen (33 per cent) heard about these young volunteers and only 1 per cent has a negative opinion of them.
More importantly, almost two thirds (64 per cent) are willing to have their child join such a club and become friends with children with disability from the local community. In addition, one in three citizens (32 per cent) remembers the first TV programme in Montenegro made by young people with and without disability. Most of them appreciated the most the friendship of the young TV reporters with disability with their peers.
Finally, the percentage of citizens who find it unacceptable for a child with disability to be the best friend of their child fell from 77 per cent before the campaign to 67 per cent.
Majority of the people who changed attitudes towards children with disability say that they now make no difference between these and other children. In particular, the percentage of citizens who think that children with disability are equally valuable members of society increased from 74 per cent before the campaign in August 2010 to 90 per cent in December 2012.
There has been a significant shift in attitudes towards inclusive education. A much greater percentage of citizens believe that it is good for children with disability to attend mainstream schools since that affects positively their development (increase from 57 per cent before the campaign to 71 per cent in December 2012) and helps make other children more tolerant and sensitive to diversity (increase from 59 per cent before the campaign to 67 per cent in December 2012).
Further, there is a smaller percentage of citizens who think that children with disability are better off in special schools than in mainstream ones (decrease from 50 per cent before the campaign to 37 per cent in December 2012), as well as that their inclusion into the mainstream schools leads to the neglect of other children by the teachers (decrease from 41 per cent before the campaign to 32 per cent in December 2012).
Finally, the percentage of citizens who find it unacceptable that a child with disability goes to the same class with their child fell from 64 per cent in August 2010 to 39 per cent in December 2012.
Attitudes towards placing children with disability in institutions have also changed. 46 per cent of citizens believed that children with disability are better off in special institutions than with their families before the campaign, while now 36 per cent thinks so. At the same time, the percentage of people who think that children should be placed in a foster family instead of an institution increased from 51 per cent to 58 per cent.
25 per cent of the citizens who changed behaviour under the influence of this campaign explain that they now communicate with children with disability more easily and feel less uncomfortable when doing so.
The survey shows that the citizens who have no contact and are not informed about the children with disability are the ones who have most prejudices against them. Their number is constantly decreasing as the campaign is raising awareness and creating opportunities for citizens to see the potential, strength, courage and love of children with disabilities.
It’s about ability campaign was initiated by UNICEF and the Government of Montenegro in September 2010 to address the social exclusion and discrimination of children with disabilities revealed in the survey conducted in August 2010. To harness both public and political support, under the slogan “It’s about ability. Join us”, more than 100 partners joined the campaign from the international community, media, government, civil and private sector and they actively contributed to the campaign’s success.