In July 11-13, all Mongolians will celebrate Naadam, the most important festival and national holiday in Mongolia. Origin of the festival dates back to the great Khunnu empire of 1-2 century. The festivities kick off at the Central Stadium in Ulaanbaatar with a colorful parade of athletes, actors, soldiers marching in perfect uniformity, musicians performing powerful tunes, and Mongolians dressed in warrior uniforms.
For three days Mongolians will be watching Three Games of Men: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. The festivities start in Ulaanbaatar and then expand to all aimags and soums throughout July.
Mercy Corps wishes our staff, partners and beneficiaries a Happy Naadam!
Hovd aimag is famous for its watermelons, cucumber, tomatoes and other vegetables. For more than 300 years, the local residents have been growing vegetables along Buyant river. Fertile soil, abundant water resources and hard-working people are main factors of success.
Hovd aimag leads all western aimags in terms of vegetable production. On the national level, the aimag is behind only Selenge and Tuv, main agricultural regions of Mongolia. In autumn, the market gets oversupplied and vegetable prices drop. Hovd has difficulties finding a big market for its produce. It supplies all neighboring aimags but the real market is in Ulaanbaatar, thousands of km away.
Camels have developed unique biological mechanisms that help them to adapt to harsh and extreme environment and go without water and food for weeks. Camel’s humps consist of stored fat that support them when food and water is scarce. Body temperature of camels fluctuates throughout a day from 340C to 41.70C. This allows the camel to conserve water by not sweating as the environmental temperature rises. When water is available, they can drink up to 57 liters of water at one drinking session. Another difference is their ability to drink salty water.
Size of camels helps them to find and eat tall grass and trees that no other animal can reach. Faced with lack of food, camels can increase size of their stomachs and slowly digest food. These unique abilities of camels help them survive dzuds and other natural disasters more than any other animals. It was observed that herders lost less than 4% of camel herd during any major dzud occurred in the last 60 years, whereas losses of other types of livestock were between 15% and 40%. So camels are crucial for local communities to support their livelihoods, protect against natural disasters and develop their resilience skills.
MOR2 project assessed performance of formally organized herder groups, or community based rangeland management organizations (CBRM) in 10 aimags. Their research showed that CBRM communities have higher social outcomes than communities without formal CBRM organizations. These communities use more traditional and innovative rangeland and livestock management practices, are more pro-active in solving problems and communicating with local authorities, have larger social networks, and higher levels of trust and mutual assistance.
Local organizations, government and non-government, frequently invite our staff to help conduct trainings, provide consultancies, share best practices and lessons learned, evaluate bids and give presentations at different meetings and conferences. According to the data, collected by the aimags, our rural staff participated in 89 activities organized and funded by local organizations during the first five months of this year. 2568 individuals directly benefited from these activities. More than half of these activities (46) were meetings and 54% of all meetings were organized to evaluate bids. Our staff provided 28 trainings and consultancies (31%) to rural residents.
We are proud for being able to contribute to local development, even though most of our projects ended. This trust our local partners place in us proves that Mercy Corps is highly valued and respected by rural people. We would like to thank our field teams for their level of commitment and dedication in building and maintaining our reputation.