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The EKOS project brought together 10 non-governmental organizations in northern Montenegro into an active network striving for greater gender equality in the region. In 2023, an Academy on gender equality rights, violence prevention, and promoting economic independence of vulnerable groups of women and girls was conducted. The training aimed to empower 16 members of the EKOS network to provide appropriate advice and assistance to vulnerable groups. The training included the participation of 5 men, which is very positive considering the patriarchal local community. Four experienced experts, two from Slovenia and two from Montenegro, conducted 3 interactive modules in Podgorica, Berane, and Rožaje. The involved volunteers enhanced their abilities to understand, recognize, tackle, and  support victims of violence with the acquired knowledge.

The online 'Handbook for Gender Equality and Violence Prevention' compiles all the essential topics addressed during the training sessions." The handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the legal and strategic framework for achieving gender equality and preventing violence in Montenegro. It focuses on theoretical understandings of inequality in various life contexts for women, including limitations on decision-making in personal life and exercising rights in private and public environments. Emphasis is placed on identifying and addressing violence against women and girls, including cyberbullying, and legal protection in Montenegro. It also offers practical strategies for preventing gender inequality and violence, including advocating for equality, raising awareness of rights, promoting economic independence, and supporting vulnerable groups of women and girls. Finally, it presents soft skills and tools for working with victims of violence, along with conclusions and recommendations for preventing violence against women and girls in Montenegro. The handbook can be accessed on Zavod Krog/Institute Circle website.

In 2024, an online Academy will also be launched.

By raising awareness among women and men about various forms of violence such as physical, emotional, and verbal, and highlighting their consequences, we can promote societal changes. Understanding gender equality is also crucial, as education can reduce inequality and foster respect and fairness between genders.

Trained volunteers, along with employees from non-governmental organizations, can provide support and assistance to victims of violence and act as advocates for awareness. NGOs often have established better trust and connections within local communities, allowing them to access vulnerable groups, respond more rapidly to specific needs, and implement targeted programs. Collaboration between non-governmental organizations and relevant institutions is crucial in creating a safe and equitable environment for all community members, enabling a comprehensive approach combining expertise, resources, and experiences. Partnerships have a broader impact and promote more effective action.

The project EKOS "Education and Economic Empowerment of Vulnerable Groups of Women and Girls in Montenegro," implemented by the  Zavod Krog/Institute Circle,  NVU Impuls and NVO Ikre, is financially supported by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia within the framework of international development cooperation.


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