Mongolia: Sustainable Livelihoods and Environment
Mongolia is a country with exceptionally harsh climatic conditions. With an annual average temperature of - 2 °C, Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital city in the world. This makes heating the biggest concern in terms of energy performance. Energy efficiency, insulation and energy savings are important priorities in this harsh winter climate. 72 % of the entire population of Mongolia live in their own houses or yurts. However, the methods used to build most houses do not meet even basic standards due to excessive heat losses caused by high consumption of heating fuels, consisting mainly in locally mined brown coal with high levels of pollutants and CO2 emissions.
Currently, these dwellings have very feeble heat insulation. Harsh conditions of the winter and insufficient insulation have an impact both on the Mongolians and their livestock. Ulaanbaatar is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Aware of this situation in the pastoral country of Mongolia, People in Need captured the potential of a large amount of affordable sheep’s wool and began to produce building insulation from this material, with the aim of creating and implementing a sustainable supply chain for local and ecological building insulation.
Switch Off Air Pollution (SOAP)
Right to Breath (R2B)
Leveraging Technology and Tradition for Resilience (LTT4R)
1) increasing the availability of early warning through an SMS platform,
2) assisting local and national authorities in disaster management,
3) research and advocacy around herder’s household vulnerability, the barriers they face for new and old coping mechanisms and advancing early warning systems and
4) developing disaster management plans, proactive pasture management plans and a dzud vulnerability index for use the Government of Mongolia and humanitarian actors in-country.
A key activity is the development in our target areas of local disaster management plans that include pasture management, and a vulnerability index for Mongolian herder population. Accessing weather information and an increased knowledge of the new challenges facing them will increase the resilience of Mongolian herders to shocks and stressors. At an institutional level, increased planning and sensitization will enable local and national authorities to better to respond to hazards in Mongolia. Working at these levels and advancing research on the challenges facing Mongolian herders, PIN Mongolia aims to increase the viability of the herding livelihood, a tradition in Mongolia, in the face of a changing climate.
Sheep’s wool as insulation material
Sheep’s wool is an important resource in Mongolia. 90 % of it is raw wool which is in low demand, and generates almost no profit for suppliers. For this reason People in Need focused on this unused potential in a project for processing sheep’s wool as heat insulation construction material. Special emphasis is laid on development of a supply chain involving small and medium enterprises, individual sheep farmers and institutional consumers in the form of schools and state authorities. The programme therefore represents not only an interesting business opportunity for the inhabitants of Mongolia, but also an environmentally-friendly energy-saving alternative.
Supporting plant production in the Gobi
A promising alternative in the local conditions is plant production. The advantage in this lies not only in further potential income for individuals, but also potential for long-term development of the area. People in Need offered agricultural advice during which the emphasis was placed on economical management of scarce irrigation water and orientation in plant species with market potential. In this, PIN followed up on previously implemented programmes and built the Agrocentre advice centre which also serves as a model farm for plant cultivation, irrigation and storage.
The Agrocentre is also a distribution centre for quality seeds and seedlings and provides expert knowledge to existing and potential farmers not only about cultivating plants, but also about the subsequent phases of the business. In addition to this, it helps farmers form cooperatives and provides them with all the necessary agricultural data involved.