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People in Need and Mercy Corps supported herders in Mongolia in disaster risk reduction through early warning SMS system and capacity building.

Ulaanbaatar – On Monday, June 24th, the international NGO People in Need (PIN), in partnership with Mercy Corps Mongolia, organized a closing conference for the Leveraging Technology and Tradition for Resilience in Rural Mongolia (LTT4R) project at the Mongolian University of Life Sciences (MULS). The project funded by the European Union’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Czech Development Agency (CzDA) and PIN Club of Friends aims to increase herder’s resilience to drought and dzud, and climate change across rural Mongolia.

As a part of the LTT4R project, PIN and Mercy Corps conducted planning and training sessions across 38 soums and 200 baghs, building local capacity to strengthen resilience in the face of disasters and has provided weather forecast information to herder using SMS system.

In order to improve and expand access to weather forecasts, a platform developed by Mercy Corps and now owned and managed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to share weather and pasture information via SMS services was expanded to serve more provinces. The LTT4R project enabled NEMA and Mercy Corps to take the system nationwide. “Herders in 38 more soums in four provinces are now able to access weather, drought, dzud, and pasture yield information that can help them plan and reduce the risk of livestock losses from disasters” said Marc Tasse, the Country Director of People in Need in Mongolia.

Through the project, local government officials took part in Livestock Emergency Response Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) training, as well as a program on Dzud Preparation and Recovery Actions at the herder and household levels that supported the leadership capacity of 698 local officials. “The integration of LEGS standards into local planning and response processes has the potential to really make a difference in mitigating some of the most critical dzud risks faced by herder communities and households,” said Wendy Guyot, Country Director at Mercy Corps.

The Dzud Preparation and Recovery Action training focused on preventing dzud risks through preparation, improving the quality of livestock products, and the improvement of pasture management. Training was organized for 3,892 herders from 38 soums in four provinces.

In partnership with the government of Mongolia, a disaster management plan was developed in 38 soums in four provinces where drought, dzud, flood, and forest and steppe fires are frequent. The plan template was approved and is now widely used by the provincial emergency agencies. “The plan is being modified and improved at the soum(local?) and provincial levels and it will be the main tool to prevent, reduce the impact and respond quickly to future disasters” said Marc Tasse.

The project also included research work, such as development of the Multi-Indicator Dzud Vulnerability Index (MDVI), to define the problems faced when experiencing dzud conditions. In addition, a Household Economic Assessment (HEA) report was the outcome of research work conducted in three provinces where the LTT4R project was implemented.

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