From poverty to sustainability through creating opportunities

Unlocking potentials of citizens to work and to generate their own income was highlighted as the most powerful way of combating poverty at the opening of the kilims exhibition, organized on the occasion of marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

United Nations System in Montenegro, in partnership with the German NGO HELP and nongovernmental association “Center for Rural Development” from Petnjica near Berane organized the exhibition of handmade kilims and rugs, made by women from the underdeveloped northern region of Montenegro, in order to raise the awareness of the possibility to fight poverty through economic activity, and to highlight the importance of the need for reduction of regional disparities in Montenegro.

“We are aware that we cannot eradicate poverty over night, but through using our potentials more, we can definitely pave the way out of it. I am sure that huge potential lies in rural areas” said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tarzan Milošević at the opening of the exhibition. He highlighted the reduction of regional disparities as one of Montenegro’s top priorities and stressed Government’s commitment to continue to support the poorest population through creating employment programs aimed at reducing poverty. Minister thanked the UN Family in Montenegro and the German NGO HELP for the support to this project, emphasizing the importance of partnership in tackling poverty. “I am confident that the Government of Montenegro has serious and committed partners in those two entities, and we are grateful for your support to our efforts to eradicate poverty”, said Minister Milošević.

Kilims, rugs and other handmade products displayed on the three-day exhibition were also offered for sale, so that the women who made them had an opportunity to directly generate income out of their work.

At the opening ceremony, Jasmina Cikotić from the NGO “Centre for Rural Development” on behalf of the women who made the kilims, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to place their unique products on the market. “We sincerely hope that these traditional handmade products will find their buyers, as well as their place in Montenegro’s tourism industry”, said Jasmina.

The UNICEF Representative to Montenegro Benjamin Perks reminded of the world leaders’ commitment to fight poverty through Millennium Development Goals. “Poverty is a challenge for all countries in the world. Poverty is more than lack of income: it results in poorer outcomes in education and health and blights families from one generation to the next”, Perks stated and emphasized that kilim exhibition is a great example of combating poverty through providing opportunities. “A group of women from the poorest part of the country combined tradition, their talent and hard work with the possibility to provide income”, said Perks and added that all Montenegrin citizens have potential to contribute to the country’s future. “We need to ensure that through empowering those in poor communities we unlock their human potential to contribute to building a Montenegro free of poverty”, Perks concluded.

The exhibition also included a presentation of the very process of making kilims and rugs by the women from the North. Preventing that traditional technique to fall into oblivion is also high on the agenda of the NGO “Center for rural development”. Head of the NGO, Enver Rastoder highlighted the importance of proper management of potentials of the North of Montenegro. “We don’t have sea and beaches, but we have ecological food production and traditional fabric production. There lies our great potential and we all should focus on proper use of it”, he said.

This year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is being commemorated around the world under the slogan “From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development”. United Nations are shifting agenda of addressing poverty challenges towards putting people at the centre of our work. “Together, let us listen to people – and stand up for their hopes and aspirations. That is how we will build a world free of poverty”, said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his message on behalf of 2011 Poverty Day.