On-Demand Weather Information via Mobile SMS is Now Available to Mongolian Herders

Mercy Corps launched the first short message service (SMS) system in Mongolia to deliver weather forecast information to herders in remote rural areas. After a successful pilot, which was funded by the Office of United States Foreign Assistance (OFDA/USAID) under our LTS-2 program, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on October 12, 2017 by Mongolia’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Communications Information and Technology Authority with executives of all of the four mobile service providers in Mongolia (Unitel Group, MobiCom Corporation, Skytel LLC and G-Mobile LLC) to extend the reach of the system.

The SMS system, tested from June 2016, has already reached 57,000 herders. A follow-up survey indicates that 51% of the users use the system as main source of weather information, 90% of the users appreciated the accuracy and 81% rated the service as "good".

The MoU marks a milestone for opening an opportunity for 160,000 herder households in all 21 provinces of Mongolia to access the weather information on their mobile phones. The herders will be able get weather information, as well as early warning messages by NEMA at any time through on-demand simple text message. Moving forwards, the system has full potential to disseminate information on animal disease outbreaks, snow depth, pasture carrying capacity and meat market price etc. During his speech at the signing ceremony, Prime Minister of Mongolia U. Khurelsukh expressed his appreciation to Mercy Corps, NEMA and the four mobile operators for introducing the SMS service to reach out to the rural communities.

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