Between 2018 and 2021, WwB implemented its ‘MotherSchools: Parenting for Peace’ Model in Montenegro, with three groups convening in Podgorica, Nikšić, and Tuzi. This impact report offers an overview of the project in Montenegro, presents WwB’s impact findings, and concludes with a series of recommendations.
The threat of violent extremism in Montenegro has remained comparatively low when viewed in a Western Balkan context. Yet the presence of internal drivers that are known to heighten an individual’s susceptibility to radicalisation on a domestic level, coupled with the risk of ideological spill-over from more affected nations nearby on a regional level, have made efforts to counter and prevent the spread of extremism a government priority. Given the distinct possibility of a resurgence of toxic ideologies and terrorist recruitment across the region, Montenegro is now in a critical period during which effective prevention efforts could work to reduce the necessity for hard power intervention measures further down the line. In response, Women without Borders (WwB), in cooperation with local implementing partner organisation Forum MNE, introduced its global ‘MotherSchools: Parenting for Peace’ Model to three Montenegrin communities. In so doing, WwB brought into the fold security allies who had been missing from contemporary security strategies: concerned and affected mothers of adolescents and young adults whose environment had made them prone to various forms of extremism.
Ahead of convening MotherSchools groups in Podgorica, Nikšić, and Tuzi—all running in parallel—WwB trained a pool of twelve local professionals as prospective MotherSchools Teachers and Notetakers. Six of the qualified Teachers across three groups went on to deliver the Curriculum to three groups of mothers who had joined to develop their parenting and safeguarding skills. Despite numerous challenges and setbacks brought about by the global pandemic, three MotherSchools groups succeeded in graduating from the programme. On average, the mothers as Participants each received at least forty hours of training geared towards becoming role models and prevention stakeholders in their families and communities.
This report offers an overview of the MotherSchools project in Montenegro and presents WwB’s impact findings with respect to the programme beneficiaries. Applying a qualitative data analysis to the 88 semi-structured Entry (47) and Exit (41) Interviews conducted before and after the programme, WwB identified impact on three levels. On the personal level, the mothers developed their self-confidence, knowledge of threats, and individual capacity to recognise and begin to explore their security role in their homes and everyday environments. At the familial level, mothers began to restructure dynamics and adopt constructive parenting techniques. At the community level, they developed new networks and disseminated their learnings and awareness. Montenegro is now one of sixteen countries to have joined WwB’s global effort to equip mothers with the knowledge and skills to become central violence prevention allies in at-risk communities around the world.