Success Stories

Dornogobi Aimag. Citizens' Voice: Local Citizens Get Involved with Governing

Zamyn-Uud is a border town located in Dornogobi aimag, Mongolia. This town is the main gateway to China and every day thousands of Mongolians and Chinese cross the border back and forth. Most goods and raw materials from and to China are shipped through this town. The population has rapidly expanded since 1990 and Zamyn-Uud has become a key hub for Mongolia's development.

In 2013, the APPEAL project announced a bid to select local NGOs to promote good governance and increase transparency of government activities. The local branch of the Liberal Women's Brainpool (LEOS) NGO established in 2001 was selected by the APPEAL project. In order for the government to be open and transparent, discussions needed to be held with local citizens on issues hampering the soum's development (Note: A 'soum' is a regional subdivision, roughly equivalent to a 'county' in western systems).

With the support from partners, LEOS launched a project called "Citizen's Voice" and provided a series of targeted trainings and discussions on good governance, corruption, civic participation, government transparency and openness for local citizens. LEOS also monitored activities of the soum development fund, and developed and shared recommendations with all citizens on how to improve their activities.

Every year the soum Hural and citizens convene and develop a detailed work plan of subjects to discuss. The soum government makes decisions only after first discussing them with citizens. In addition to that, the LEOS project proved that partnerships between government and non-government organizations could have a real impact on the lives of citizens.

"I saw the ads about a Call for Proposals on TV and decided to submit our application. Mercy Corps greatly helped us to write a project proposal and always supported with implementation. We believe that our project helped to establish new linkages between CSOs and government organizations. Also my team members learned new skills and gained knowledge" stated D. Saran, the project manager.

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