Pursuing Vox Populi in Montenegro

Blog post by Vlatko Otašević, UN Communications Analyst in UN Montenegro

February 2014

When I first heard about the global Post-2015 campaign, I could hardly assume that people of Montenegro would make 2% of all the people around the globe who took part in designing future development agenda.

And yet, it happened.

A tiny Mediterranean country, home of 620.000 people, managed to mobilise more than 8.000 of its people to actively participate in shaping the global future. Getting on board 1,3% of national population, obviously, made the process pretty much participatory, with an unprecedented nationwide outreach within the Post-2015 globally.

The fact that so many people shared their opinion about the future they want (through a quite sophisticated methodology) may not surprise you.

...unless you know that all has been done in less than three months.


We asked the right questions, the questions people care about: “What concretely would people need to live better?”

We pursued vox populi through quite sophisticated methodology, using number of different techniques, such as on-the-ground survey, focus groups, face-to-face interviews, thematic panel discussions, round tables, etc.

And we got the response, loud and clear. Eight development challenges were recognised by the people in the early phase of consultations.

But we did not stop. We dug deeper, wanting to find out more, so we can, collectively, do more. Series of thematic consultations which followed witnessed fantastic grass roots driven consultative process, a sort of Mini-Rio-Summits on steroids.

Scrutinising development challenges in depth led to concrete conclusions:

  • People are very worried about the state of economy and are complaining about job prospects, highlighting rapid decrease of living standard and difficulties in providing existence for their families;
  • People believe that very efficient fight against corruption and nepotism is the solution for many problems;
  • People recognised access to medical care and its quality as an important issue;
  • People clearly spoke about inequalities, expressing particular concern about growing gap between the rich and the poor, but also about gender inequality, discrimination of minorities, homosexuals and people with disabilities;
  • People care about environment, feeling endangered by pollution and natural resources not being utilized sustainably;
  • People want better infrastructure - roads, water supply systems, electricity supply systems, housing – one of the main priorities in the forthcoming period;
  • People worry about accessibility and quality of education, striving for the society based on knowledge;
  • People wish more solidarity, promotion of family values, tolerance, respect for others, non-discrimination - a society for all.


Well, quite simple - we just brought on board those we needed!

A broad partnership has been built, forming a strategic outreach campaign aiming to 1) educate people about the process, 2) stimulate them to join, as well as to 3) encourage partners to take ownership of the process.


Launching official website of national Post-2015 consultations

Apparently, we needed to launch an official website to channel where a discussion is taking place. An attractive, dynamic and informative web-portal was developed to serve as an on-line hub for national consultations. Specific components of this Post-2015 web-gate were crafted “to guide and to serve” - thematic questionnaires allowing anyone to submit opinion on specific development topics, interactive timeline allowing real-time insight in consultations progress, news module, twitter module, video gallery, as well as number of supporting links and documents.

Bringing on board public figures

Short video clips have been taped with three popular Montenegrins, who invited people to join Post-2015 consultations. Concise, personal video messages of famous national water polo team playermusiciannational handball team player were distributed through a number of channels – via websites, web portals and TV stations.

Bringing on board all TV stations along with state Agency for Electronic Media

TV stations agreed to join the process and to contribute by broadcasting three video clips free of charge during the consultations period. Previously, state Agency for Electronic Media has been asked to support the process through excluding broadcasting quota from regular monitoring of TV commercials for all TV station. The Agency responded very positively, going a step further and sending an official letter to all broadcasters encouraging them to support the campaign by broadcasting videos.

Bringing on board three most influential web portals in Montenegro

In order to reach as much population as possible, a partnership has been established with three most influential web-portals: Vijesti (est: 60.000 visits per day – targeting all groups), Café Del Montenegro (est: 25.000 visits per day – targeting youth), Portal Analitika (est: 10.000 visits per day – targeting decision makers). Portals placed campaign banners on their homepages, linking visitors to the thematic on-line questionnaires.

Bringing digital community on board for #Post2015me – Massive use of social media! 
Strong partnership has been established with the NGO Digitalizuj.me, the leader of digital community in the country, who sparked focused discussions on development challenges via number of social media platforms. Targeted web advertising, such as Facebook ads and Google ads proved to be powerful tool for success of this outreach component.


All those fragments shaped a comprehensive campaign “Crna Gora kakvu želim” (The Montenegro I Want) which helped reaching out for the opinion of many. People in remote and urban areas, voiceless people who live on the margins of society, young and elderly, children, employed and unemployed, lawmakers, NGO representatives, sports people, environmentalists, employers, health workers, and many others. 

Now, looking back to late December 2012 when we gathered to discuss Post-2015 consultations for the first time, one thing seems interesting: Hearing the voice of people on development challenges was quite an inspiring challenge itself!

Vlatko Otašević
UN Communications Analyst in UN Montenegro