Mongolia is a landlocked country between Russia in the north and China in the south, with particularly difficult climate conditions. In the winter, the temperature can drop to minus 40°C in some areas, while in the summer, the heat can be unbearable, exceeding 40°C.
Almost half of the country’s population – 3 million people – live in the capital. Rural-urban migration is a major problem in Mongolia, generating entire neighborhoods made out of yurts on the outskirts of Oulan-Bator. Unfortunately, migrants have very few job opportunities and live in extremely precarious sanitary conditions.
According to the Mongolian National Statistics Office, in 2018, 29.6% of Mongolians were poor according to the national poverty line. An additional 15% of the total population is just above the national poverty line, at risk of falling into poverty in the event of unforeseen shocks, such as COVID-19, which has resulted in successive periods of containment since 2020. Seven out of ten poor people did not have access to any of the basic infrastructure services (improved drinking water, sanitation, or a sustainable heat source).
BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF POVERTY
Lack of economic opportunities, adverse weather conditions, disease, poor housing… the poorest people in Dornogovi face a variety of complex challenges.
THE STRENGTH OF OUR APPROACH : ADDRESSING THE MULTIPLE CAUSES OF EXTREME POVERTY
Addressing the issue of income is not enough! Tackling only one of poverty’s causes, through partial aid, is an insufficient solution to sustainably overcome it.
Our Economic and Community Development FXBVillage Model allows us to provide, in three years, a complete response to the fundamental causes of poverty by simultaneously acting on 4 predominant factors.
The fundamental pillar of our model is economic strengthening. Its main innovation is the donation of seed capital—in lieu of loans—thus allowing families to achieve economic autonomy. Families are also given training in business management and financial literacy, enabling them to start income-generating activities (microenterprises) and gradually earn enough money to meet their daily needs, facilitate their financial inclusion, and continue to prosper after the program ends. Along with economic strengthening, FXB ensures that every family member of the supported families can significantly improve their quality of life through 3 other axes
For FXB, combating poverty also means fighting against all forms of discrimination, particularly gender discrimination, in order to balance relations between men and women so that the latter, who are more exposed to poverty, can access the same economic and social opportunities.
1 – Develop the socio-economic capacities of families
- Establishment of Saving, Credit and Support Groups to provide services to beneficiary families who do not have an easy access to formal financial services. The Saving, Credit and Support Groups help create social bonds, provide space to share challenges and solutions and foster participants’ entrepreneurial spirit
- Comprehensive training in financial management and entrepreneurship.
- Training of participants in the creation of more productive and sustainable livestock and agricultural systems, through the creation of greenhouses.
- Donation of a seed capital of $250 to each family in order for them to launch an economic activity in agriculture or another field of their choice.
- Accompaniment of families to develop, diversify, and ensure the sustainability of their economic activities.
2 – Restore the psychosocial status of participants and improve their resilience capacities
- Psychosocial support to help families deal with the consequences of poverty, alcoholism, disabilities (many in the region), or various gender-based violence and domestic conflicts.
- Creation of youth clubs in order to prevent young people from falling into delinquency. Such clubs are also useful for raising awareness on specific issues affecting young people such as sexual and reproductive health, vocational guidance, drug and alcohol abuse, disease prevention and gender-based violence.
3 – Improve the professional skills of women and young people
- Targeted vocational training for women and adolescents by creating a network of different stakeholders in Dornogovi, FXB bridges the gap between labour needs and the supply of skills in the community. In addition, FXB ensures that families are aware of all the resources available locally in terms of employment opportunities and support.
4 – Reinforce participants’ knowledge and encourage behavioural changes
- Awareness-raising campaigns and group trainings related to a healthy nutrition, early childhood development, children’s and women’s rights, gender-based violence, disease prevention, sexual and reproductive health, hygiene, water and sanitation, and prevention of alcohol-related dangers – are organized throughout the three years of the program to address the lack of basic knowledge and to bring about behavioural and practice changes
- Participants learn how to manage their family budget. The aim of this strategy is to ensure that they have a correct vision of their income and how they will use it to cover all the costs related to the specific needs of the families. Simultaneously increasing income, improving capacities through education and instruction, and helping them manage their family income ultimately results in a substantial improvement in their quality of life.
- The 500 participants are trained to manage their family budget. The aim of this strategy is to ensure that they have a correct vision of their income and how they will use it to cover all the costs related to the specific needs of the families. The simultaneous increase in income, the improvement of capacities through training and instruction, as well as assistance in the management of family income will ultimately result in a substantial improvement in their quality of life.
FXB provides an ongoing coaching and mentoring activity throughout the three-year program to ensure that participants develop their confidence and empowerment and acquire the economic and social skills necessary to successfully move out of extreme poverty.
THE STRENGTH OF OUR ACTION : ENSURING SUSTAINABLE AUTONOMY
All dimensions of the FXBVillage model have been designed to ensure impact sustainability. FXB builds capacity, rather than creating dependency on external aid.
Through their work and commitment, participants ensure the sustainability of results on their quality of life.
At the heart of our model is the human being: we help each person express the potential that lies within. Thus, as our intervention progresses—and each participant’s ability to meet the needs of his/her family grows—FXB’s financial support gradually decreases.
Our work in Mongolia would not be possible without the support and trust of our partner Badrakh Energy CSR.