Weather forecast and pasture information SMS system extended to reach an additional 21,654 herders in Mongolia to protect their animals and livelihoods.

Weather forecast and pasture information SMS system extended to reach an additional 21,654 herders in Mongolia to protect their animals and livelihoods.

15. 10. 2018

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – Dzud is a winter disaster in which deep snow, severe cold, or other conditions that render forage unavailable or inaccessible lead to high livestock mortality. Until recently, it only occurred once or twice a decade. Today, climatic changes and human induced environmental degradation have intensified the frequency and intensity of disasters, including dzud. Such environmental shocks rapidly erode herders’ traditional coping strategies.

“For herders like us, it is very important to be informed about the weather forecast. This helps us manage our livestock and be prepared in anticipation of bad weather conditions such as strong winds and snow storms,” said Gantuya Rinchengochoo (44). Her family herds animals owned by four different families, mostly their relatives in Khalzan soum (county), Sukhbaatar aimag (province). 

Gantuya immediately contributes some recent examples on how the SMS service helped them. “We registered to the service in December, and on April 5th we had a very strong wind throughout the country but we knew in advance that we would have strong wind for several days. As a result, we were able to protect our animals.”

Under the “Leveraging Technology and Tradition for Resilience in Rural Mongolia” (LTT4R) project, an SMS platform providing real-time, on-demand weather information has been extended to Dornod, Sukhbaatar, Arkhangai and Uvurkhangai aimags by People in Need (PIN) and Mercy Corps to expand coverage to all 21 aimags. The SMS system enables herders in rural areas of Mongolia to protect themselves and their families proactively by accessing weather forecast and pasture information. Funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, LTT4R 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 are also conducting training sessions across 38 soums and 200 baghs, building local capacity to build resilience in the face of disasters. In addition, the project develops and delivers training for soum and bagh leaders on household dzud preparedness and mitigation; helps local authorities to create disaster management plans, and increases knowledge of local leaders on disaster risk reduction (DRR)—to reach a total of 21,654 people with disaster management plans, 6,700 people with the SMS platform and local leaders in 38 soums across the four target provinces with trainings.

At the national level, management of the SMS system was handed over to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in spring 2018, which will coordinate with other agencies to work towards the nationalization of the system. “One of the things we’re most proud of as a project team is developing a SMS system that not only really helps the rural populations in Mongolia, but also is something the Government can run for years into the future so that herders rely on and use it for years to come” added Laurel Hanson, Head of Programs at PIN. She added, “Transitioning the platform over to NEMA and to a public access number means that it will be available long into the future, with our continued support.” 

The European Union with its Member States is a leading global donor of humanitarian aid. Through the European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), the EU helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, ECHO provides assistance to the most vulnerable people solely on the basis of humanitarian needs, without discrimination of race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.

Marc Tasse, PIN Country Director in Mongolia: Tel: 976-70111501, 

email: marc.tasse@peopleinneed.cz

Yamuna Hopwood, Communications and Development Specialist, Mercy Corps Mongolia

Tel: 976-11-461045, email: yhopwood@mercycorps.org 

Author: People in Need