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close this bookEnvironmental Public Awareness Handbook - Case Studies and Lessons Learned in Mongolia (EPAP, 1999, 88 pages)
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View the documentPreface
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Open this folder and view contentsChapter One: Designing and Establishing the Programme
Open this folder and view contentsChapter Two: How to Develop an EPA Project
View the documentChapter Three: Case Studies and Lessons Learned in Mongolia
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex One: Environmental Links
View the documentAnnex Two: The Mongolian EPA Programme
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex Three: Environmental Issues in Mongolia
View the documentAnnex Four: EPA Projects in Mongolia, 1997-98

Chapter Three: Case Studies and Lessons Learned in Mongolia


From May 1997 to August 1998, EPAP sponsored 91 small pilot projects all over Mongolia. In May and June of 1998, 48 of these completed projects were evaluated by en independent review team. Most of the comments, insights and lessons learned that follow came from this report.

Here are 10 case with related lessons reamed from their experiences. While most of these projects were success stories, not all of them were. It is important to note that many other EPAP small projects not included here were implemented with varying degrees of success. See the complete project list in Annex 4. The case studies here represent the most interesting examples of project implementation from which some lessons can be learned.

1. Gazelle: Hunters Association of Dornod/Dornod Branch of the Mongolian National Association for the Conservation of Nature and Environment

Issue: Biodiversity conservation protection of the Mongolian gazelle.
Extent of the problem: Hunting regulations are poorly understood and enforced in Mongolia and fines imposed at random. The problem is vast the expansive land and seemingly endless supply of wild species and the traditional lifestyle of the herders all make enforcement of the hunting regulations difficult. Adding to the problem, rangers and environmental inspectors are poorly trained, poorly paid and few in number. The Mongolian gazelle, while not endangered, is subject to unrestricted hunting, which is leading to a great decline in its numbers.
Objective: To prevent the illegal hunting of the gazelle a species frequently hunted out of season.
Target Group: 1500 herder and rural residents.
Location: Matad county in Dornod province of eastern Mongolia.
Cost: $2367 (90% EPAP funded)

NGO profile: Mongolian Hunters Association of Dornod was established in 1958 and has a membership of 1800. The organization works to protect threatened animal species and its activities includes breeding and reintroduction of threatened species and training on hunting laws and proper use of firearms

Summary: The target group of this project received training and awareness materials on the duration of the hunting season and permissible numbers allowed to be hunted each year. An event day was held, covered by the local media information given out and warning signs erected in the target area.

Evaluation: The project successfully changed the attitudes of 70% of the target group The number of illegal hunting cases declined in the area.

Lesson Learned:

1. The successful protection of a threatened species is associated with the benefit that a local community can obtain by protecting that species. Outside threats, in this case a petroleum plant operating in the area, can stimulate a community response to the problem. Beneficiaries become empowered if they perceive themselves to be guardians of the threatened species. Community-based wildlife management can provide an approach that will ensure sustainability of protection measures.


2. Health - Air Pollution - Women: Women and Development Movement

Issue: Urban air pollution.
Extent of the problem: In Ulaanbaatar, the combination of 35,000 vehicles, 63,000 gers (traditional Mongol tents) that use coal-burning stoves, over 150 small electric boilers, 3 large coal-fired power stations and blowing dust from dirt roads and vacant areas produces over 84 tonnes of pollutants a year. The city's population inhales about 89,8 kg of poisonous chemicals every day.
Objective: To give understanding and knowledge of air pollution and its consequences on health to housewives and children.
Target Group: 2000 housewives and children.
Location: Two poor "ger" districts of Ulaanbaatar.
Cost: $4514 (90% EPAP funded)

NGO profile: Women and Development Movement was founded in 1994 with a mandate to protect women's rights, strengthen the role of women in society and increase the knowledge and education of women. With 5000 members and three employees, the association is developing into an effective movement lobbying local government to improve living conditions for poor women

Summary: This project began by surveying the target group to determine the level of public awareness of the problem. Workshops and training followed. Public discussions were organized, presentations given at different events and training manuals, brochures and T-shirts produced and distributed. A series of TV and radio lessons and an educational TV programme with entertainment and TV warning messages were broadcast.

Evaluation: The project accomplished its goals. Good quality awareness materials were produced and information was disseminated effectively. The project succeeded in incorporating policy initiatives in order to address the causes of the problem. It was well managed, cost-effective and its sustainability good. It has potential to be duplicated in other urban areas with an air pollution problem.

Lessons Learned:

1. An intervention approach to problem, providing lots of information, gets the target group to take action. This was done through the establishment of an "Activists' Group" consisting of 20 representatives of the target group who were responsible for the implementation of the project.

2. Sharing responsibility improves implementation. The roles and responsibilities for different phases of the project, shared by different members, can ensure good implementation.

3. A good mixture of dissemination techniques reaches the target group and beneficiaries. For example, a survey was conducted personally by target group members providing not only direct contact with the beneficiaries allowing opportunities for them to air their views on the problem, but also to promote the project and its activities and deliver warning messages and announcements. This "house-to-house" approach was very effective in reaching the beneficiaries and motivating them to take part in the project.

3. Soil Fertility Management in Small Scale Farming: Mongolian Soil Fertility Association

Issue: Land rehabilitation and health.
Extent of the problem: Mongolians traditionally have had little experience of soil cultivation and vegetables are not generally part of the herders' diet. Most vegetables are imported from China and Russia. Growing their own vegetables provides inexpensive sources of nutritional food, encourages a higher level of self-sufficiency and better food security. Further, land subject to degradation, can be successfully brought under cultivation using organic fertilizers that do not damage the land.
Objective: To help low income families in Ulaanbaatar to plant, grow, store and process vegetables successfully using organic fertilizers.
Target Group: 60 mainly unemployed and single female-headed poor households.
Location: Songinokhairkhan, a poor "ger" district of Ulaanbaatar.
Cost: $8019 (42% EPAP funded)

NGO profile: The Mongolian Soil Fertility Association, founded in 1994, supports activities that improve soil fertility. They organize training workshops on soil cultivation, correct use of organic fertilizers and exchange information with others working in this area.

Summary: The project began with training seminars and the establishment of a demonstration vegetable garden. Families were provided with gardening plots, seeds, seedlings and a booklet outlining how to grow and store vegetables. TV, radio and newspapers were used to disseminate information.

Evaluation: This project successfully accomplished its goal of training poor families on how to cultivate vegetables successfully. The good yield obtained by the beneficiaries is an indicator of project success. The project encouraged the target group to take action. These families are continuing to grow vegetables. There was no information on the impact on living conditions or income levels in order to assess benefit in these areas.

Lessons Learned:

1. Select a well identified target group that addresses an issue relevant to them. The target participants in this project all indicated both a need for improved nutrition and a desire to undertake the growing of vegetables. The target group was motivated to act as the problem affected them directly. Specific benefits for the target group such as income, inexpensive food and satisfaction in growing healthy food should be clear at the start of the project.

2. A baseline survey provides information about the extent of the problem and the specific actions necessary to resolve it. This was not undertaken here and weakened both the training component and the means to evaluate the impact of the project. Understanding the extent of the problem for the target group at the beginning should bring a higher success rate in implementation

3. Linkages with other related projects increases the benefits for all projects. Other EPAP projects being implemented in this area and other agricultural and land management projects in Mongolia would undoubtedly have benefited from closer ties and exchanges of information. Wider support from more sources should improve overall sustainability of such projects. Cooperation between similar projects often requires specific initiatives at the early stages of the project and may head off competition which may be detrimental rather than beneficial.


4. Blue Bag Campaign: Chingeltei Women's Council of the Mongolian Women's Federation

Issue: Urban waste disposal, recycling and management.
Extent of the problem: In Ulaanbaatar, all 6 companies engaged in transportation of urban waste are increasing unable to do the job (in mid-1998, 53% of the trucks were out of order). The waste that does arrive at the city's three dumps is routinely sorted by poor people who collect bones, glass, cans, iron and wood which they sell to earn a living. Industrial waste is transported to the same sites creating health risks. In addition, waste from toilets, sewage pipes and livestock are the main sources of soil pollution in Ulaanbaatar and a survey indicated this is leading to the spread of serious infectious diseases, especially in the spring.
Objective: To raise public awareness and increase community participation in solid waste management through recycling, and in the long term, to reduce land pollution.
Target Group: 100 low income women.
Location: Chingeltei, a poor "ger" district of Ulaanbaatar.
Cost: $4419 (90% EPAP funded)

NGO profile: Chingeltei Women's Council of the Mongolian Women's Federation, established in 1924, aims at developing principles of democracy, honesty, equality and respect for Mongolians laws and to express and defend women's rights regardless of their nationality, political or social status or religion.

Summary: This project conducted training on waste management at the community level. Green and blue bags for different types of recyclable waste were hung on fences in the target area. These were collected, taken to a depot and sold for recycling. The target group of women competed to recycle the most waste. A special rally at the end of the project provided a means to disseminate information on the project throughout the neighbourhood and the city.

Evaluation: The objectives were well achieved. The beneficiaries were effectively reached, awareness of waste management raised and the level of community participation in waste management increased.

Lessons Learned:

1. An income-generating component makes the project more relevant to the specific needs of the target group. In the case of a project like this direct benefit in terms of income generation can be a powerful incentive to undertake activities designed to alleviate the environmental problem. This project also demonstrates a need to clarify a market situation - are there sufficient supplies of recyclable waste? Is there a demand for such by-products? Are businesses in place to facilitate the process? An initial market survey of these factors should be undertaken to determine the situation in an area before such a project is implemented

2. A link to the affected private sector can ensure sustainability of certain EPA projects. In this case, it is in the interest in the recipient company to ensure that the women keep recycling these by-products and providing a supply for them. Therefore, they could be approached to help support the on-going activities by paying for costs of recycling receptacles, training and media coverage.


5. How to Plant a Tree: Mongolian Foresters' Association

Issue: Deforestation.
Extent of the problem: Forests cover 17 million hectares of Mongolia, about 10% of its land area, mostly in the northern regions of the country. These forests are threatened by logging operations and the collection of firewood. The increase in the price of coal has triggered an extensive cutting of trees near urban areas and in forested regions accessible to towns and cities. In the Gobi, slow-growing saxaul groves are disappearing. Forest fires, often caused by human carelessness, are damaging watersheds and leading to serious erosion.
Objective: To raise awareness of deforestation, promote reforestation and provide training on treeplanting among adults and young people.
Target Group: 100 adults and secondary school children in Ulaanbaatar- a further 5000 people benefited through watching the training video.
Location: Ulaanbaatar.
Cost: $2845 (86% EPAP funded)

NGO profile: Mongolian Foresters' Association was founded in 1992. Its mandate is to encourage protection, economical use and rehabilitation of forests for resource use and for hunting.

Summary: This project produced a 26-minute training video on treeplanting which was shown to students in several secondary schools in Ulaanbaatar. Following the training, these children planted trees and maintained them.

Evaluation: The project accomplished its objectives. Beneficiaries increased their knowledge and skill in treeplanting. The video produced was of good quality and was entertaining enough to encourage participation in the project.

Lessons Learned:

1. Focus on a specific issue and provide practical and enjoyable how to information on it. This project succeeded because of its simplicity - the problem and the solution were both abundantly clear. The means to achieve the goal - the planting of trees - was demonstrated in an effective and fun way, stimulating the target group to enjoy the activity.

2. National campaigns can be built around practical "how to" demonstrations. For example, Government Environment Ministries could sponsor annual tree-planting campaigns using national TV to disseminate the information as a means to enforce and support their forestry policies. Mining, timber and other companies could be asked to support the campaign. Following the training, a "one tree per citizen" campaign could encourage participants to both plant and maintain one tree each, stimulating greater sustainability of the activity.

6. Gobi Bear Among Nature and Children: Sono Cooperative

Issue: Ecological education for children.
Extent of the problem: Poor teaching materials, inadequate training of teachers and the lack of a clear national ecological curricula have resulted in inconsistent and low standards for ecological education in Mongolia. While a romanticized view of nature is popularly held and reinforced by movies and television programmes, children have little understanding of the serious issues threatening the natural environment today.
Objective: To raise ecological awareness and disseminate information on wild animals to children in several summer camps and secondary schools.
Target Group: 5000 children at 4 summer camps and 5 secondary schools.
Location: Ulaanbaatar area.
Cost: $5737 (87% EPAP funded).

NGO profile: Sono Cooperative was established in 1991 with a mandate to improve the skill of children's writers and to produce illustrated children's publications. They have produced children's magazines, textbooks and booklets and organized educational events for rural school children.

Summary: Two issues of a children's magazine were published and distributed to children's camps over the summer. A special event day was held including a drawing contest and an exhibit of the best work - the winners were awarded prizes. Posters and calendars were produced from the best artwork and distributed with T-shirts and caps TV and radio programmes broadcast awareness messages related to the project.

Evaluation: All activities were successfully implemented and the target group increased their awareness of ecology, especially wildlife. The two issues of "Gobi Bear" magazine were of high quality and provided lots of information about environmental issues in a good format for children. School children, their parents and teachers all benefited from the project.

Lessons Learned:

1. Publishing an ecological journal on a continuous basis provides a practical and effective ecological teaching resource. Sustaining the publication Gobi Bear is possible through links to the private sector and to other ecological education organizations.

2. Linking the ecological publication to TV and radio can complement and strengthen the educational component. The Gobi Bear theme could be picked up and used in cartoons and in special messages about the environment for kids. For example - "Gobi Bear says, when you collect berries, don't break off the branches of the bushes or next year you won't find any berries!"

7. Environmental Journalists Club: Press Institute of Mongolia

Issue: Environmental education for Journalists.
Extent of the problem: The media in Mongolia is going through a painful transition along with the economy. Private newspapers are proliferating but few cover the environment seriously. The state no longer has much money to support TV and radio productions. Broadcasters want money for production and money to air the programme as well. The commitment to environmental programming under such situations is minimal and, despite a strong interest in the environment generally in Mongolia, since the move to a market economy there has been, with a few notable exceptions, little in the way of good productions on important environmental issues.
Objective: To improve the quality and quantity of media productions on ecology, nature and the environment and to encourage and support journalists covering environmental issues.
Target Group: 15 journalists working in different media with a strong interest in the environment.
Location: Ulaanbaatar.
Cost: $3297 (73% EPAP funded).

NGO profile: The Press Institute of Mongolia was established in 1995 through an agreement between the Mongolian and Danish governments. The objectives of the organization are to upgrade and maintain the professional skills of Mongolian journalists in order to support a free and pluralistic media in Mongolia.

Summary: This project embarked on the re-establishment of the club. Workshops and meetings were conducted, study tours and fact-finding missions arranged. An ecological database was established. A contest for best environmental reporting and an exhibit were held, articles written and published and TV programmes produced and broadcast.

Evaluation: This project successfully re-established the club and made a good contribution to training 15 journalists on environmental issues. However, it in did not obtain a good involvement with its potential beneficiaries. It was not open to all journalists which hindered its potential impact.

Lessons Learned:

1. Linkages with international organizations provide access to environmental information, training and useful contacts. The Environmental Journalists Club could benefit from contacts with such organizations as the International Federation of Environmental Journalists for work attachments' training, access to articles for publication and other resources.

2. Environmental organizations should be open to all interested members. Exclusive clubs limiting their membership will not provide the widest support or encourage the production of the best overall media coverage of environmental issues. The Environmental Journalists Club would benefit from encouraging all interested journalists covering the environment to join. Charging a small membership fee might ensure that those that join are really committed.

8. Ecological Training Centre: Ministry of Education

Issue: Ecological education for students, teachers and professionals.
Extent of the problem: Mongolia has an insufficient number of teachers trained in ecological education, and a shortage of books and teaching materials on the subject. During the transition period, pressures on the environment have deepened, especially in Ulaanbaatar where a third of the country's population now live. The education system has been unable to keep up with the new threats to endangered species, the rapid increase in air and land pollution, the encroaching desertification and the decline in water resources. Understanding these issues is essential if the next generation of Mongolians is to be able to manage their economy in a way that balances development with the environment.
Objective: To improve ecological education in the country through formal and nonformal teaching methods that focus on replenishing natural resources.
Target Group: 750 students, teachers and professionals.
Location: Ulaanbaatar.
Cost: $29,232 (37% EPAP funded)

Organization profile: The Ministry of Education established the Ecological Training Centre in the premises of the former Nature Resource Centre. Its mandate is to provide primary and secondary school teachers with ecological training and teaching materials and to conduct formal and non-formal ecological education.

Summary: This project provided new equipment to the Centre (computer, printer, VCR) and repaired the facilities in preparation for training. Teachers were selected on a competitive basis and 100 students were tested and enrolled in training courses. Training materials such as video films, textbooks, manuals and a photo album all concerned with ecology and environmental problems were produced. Ecological workshops were conducted and vegetable gardens maintained by the students who sold the produce.

Evaluation: Activities were all successfully implemented contributing to a strong level of achievement of the project's objective. The target group was reached effectively, increasing their knowledge and awareness of ecology. The Ecological Training Centre was established and it is continuing to conduct formal and informal ecological education.

Lesson Learned:

1. Establishment of an Ecological Training Centre provides a basis for national ecological curricula. The Centre was successful in its training because its teaching methodology was continually improved through learning from practice. Provincial secondary schools throughout the country are also benefiting from the Centre as they are being equipped with training materials and with teachers now skilled in how to use them.

9. Ecological TV Olympiad: Biological Olympiad Committee of Mongolian State University

Issue: Ecological education for young people.
Extent of the problem: The Mongolian Government's educational policies involve the development of broad-based ecological education in both schools and among the general public. Industrialization and the recent decline in living standards are contributing to the destruction of eco-systems, damaging public health, causing the extinction of plant and animal species and weakening the relationship between nature and society. Ecological education must focus on these issues and popular misconceptions concerning the impact of these problems.
Objective: To increase general knowledge and ecological understanding of children and youth, and through them reach the general public.
Target Group: 31 238 secondary school students.
Location: Ulaanbaatar city, Orkhon, Selenge, Darkhon and Tov provinces.
Cost: $4176 (88% EPAP funded).

Organization profile: Biological Olympiad Committee of Mongolian State University was established in 1991. Its members include ecologists, environmental conservationists and biologists. The Committee sponsors annual ecological TV Olympiads for high school students so they will see clearly the failing conditions of some Mongolian eco-systems and understand the seriousness of environmental problems.

Summary: This project provided ecological education through a popular game format. Each team of students selected a Mongolian eco-system and defined its characteristics through photos, paintings, video and models. They competed through discussions, questions and analysis of their knowledge. The best teams took part in a final competition, the "Eco-TV Olympiad," broadcast countrywide as ecological education for children and the general public. As well, a free art competition was held and the most creative work exhibited.

Evaluation: The game format proved an effective means to increase ecological knowledge to children, youth and the general public. The project provided abundant information on ecology, and the dynamic approach through direct involvement of students and teachers were key factors in the project's success. TV was used very effectively to disseminate ecological information in an entertaining way

Lessons Learned:

1. Ecological education can be fun. The game show format works well and can be a model for other organizations that wish to reach a broad target group with information that otherwise might be dull.

2. Promotional ecological events can be linked to the private sector for sponsorship to ensure sustainability. In order to enhance the sustainability of such projects, the private sector could be asked to sponsor these events. Potential for their support is high considering the visibility and popularity of such events.

10. The People's Eye: Hentii Liberal Women's Brain Pool/Hentii Women Lawyers' Association

Issue: Understanding of environmental laws on water, wildlife and land use.
Extent of the problem: Comprehensive new environmental laws came into effect in 1994 and 1995. While the new laws cover a complete environmental framework including laws on land, protected areas, underground and mineral resources, and natural disasters, there are problems related to public understanding of these laws and in lax enforcement.
Objective: To increase awareness of relevant environmental laws among rural residents.
Target: Group 2500 school children, women and herders.
Location: Omnodelger county, Hentii province.
Cost: $3191 (88% EPAP funded).

NGO profile: Hentii Liberal Women's Brian Pool, established in 1995, has 500 members and aims to develop women's knowledge and strengthen their capability. They train women on how to live in a market economy and how to maintain the health of their families. Hentii Women Lawyers Association was established in 1997 and is committed to developing women's knowledge of legal makers.

Summary: This project disseminated information and messages on environmental laws. Awareness activities included proclamations about the laws relevant to women, a special event day that included competitions for school children, a workshop to explain the laws and an ecological art exhibit. Local rangers and herders on horse patrol monitored the impact of human activities on nature and assessed the effectiveness of the training on the laws. An environmental law corner was established in the community centre providing information on the laws and entertainment was provided. Posters, flyers and articles in the local paper disseminated information on the laws and the project

Evaluation: The objectives of the project were achieved. The target group was effectively reached and they increased their awareness of the laws, especially those related to water, land and wildlife. The horseback patrol revealed five violations of the environmental laws. This activity provided direct contact with the target group and disseminated the information effectively among them.

Lessons Learned:

1. Direct contact with the target group confirms the significance of an environmental problem. The project's horseback patrol provided an effective means to bring the reality of the environmental laws right to the people. The violations served to reveal the seriousness of the problems and the necessity of the laws.

2. Empower the target group to take proactive measures to protect the environment. Under this project, the community became proactive in seeking changes in their environment. Children's environmental protection groups were established and are still functioning. Local seniors set up an environmental association. The community started a movement to protect a mineral water source.