Integration of disaster risk reduction into development has been at the heart of the Disaster Management program intervention strategy. The program has been mainstreaming disaster risk reduction where people’s livelihood has been continually threatened by drought, desertification, soil erosion, sand storms and climate change. The primary strategy in vulnerability reduction has been to increase the capacity of these communities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the impact of disasters. The program has been implementing the SPADE project in Zavkhanaimag. The project has had activities in the key areas of agriculture, pasture and stock management, community health, cooperative development and income generation.
The project implemented in the program have focused on strengthening of “BATITS ZA” Cooperative Union, the respective organization of the cooperatives, providing a series of capacity building activities among cooperative leaders in organizational management and workshops in a VMGO setting, business planning of Cooperative Union. The project distributed turkeys, as they have a high level of cold weather tolerance. We also conducted training on turkey and chicken farming and cooking. The project also continued some agricultural field training and organized “Potato production and Value chain” workshop in the Selenge aimag with cooperation of Asian Farmers Association and “Mongol Potato” National wide program, and “Rural Economic Development” project of ADRA. After the workshop the participants were able to visit to places in Darkhan and Selenge, where they learnt best practices in agriculture and poultry farming. The project continued to support cooperatives with mixed vegetables and fodder seeds, along with the provision of hand tools and funds to cover the cost of land preparation. In 2012, SPADE also provided funding for the construction of root cellars and a demo barn. A total yield of 123 tons of vegetables, 143 tons of green fodder and hay was harvested in 2012 across active seven cooperatives. During2008 – 2012, a total yield of 463 tons of vegetables, 685 tons of green fodder was harvested. Volume has increased for4.3% of whole Zavkhan aimag harvest in the same period. The projects developed a contract with cooperatives to repay some of the physical investments in their saving bank account. Through the repayment scheme, the cooperatives were able to generate savings fund in amount of 66,018,000 tug. This fund will be the main resource of the cooperatives to fund other businesses of their members. In addition, the project continued to maintain its animal breeding program, which will help to strengthen the bloodlines of existing livestock to help survive harsh winters in the future.
ADRA Mongolia’s Disaster Management program also aims to respond to and mitigate against disasters such as ‘dzud’ or successive ‘disastrous weather events’ that have killed over 8 million livestock, the mainstay of the rural economy in recent years.
Whilst dzuds can be expected in a pastoral system in this climate, the frequency of such disasters, and the combination of drought (black dzud) and vicious winters (white dzud) has plunged thousands of families into poverty. These recent dzuds have exposed the apparent inability of herders, emerging from a state-controlled economy, to cope with the greater risks that the transition to a market economy dictates. Pastoralists have no longer guaranteed access to the Soviet markets, nor can the state provide free hay and fodder reserves. Access to education and health services is limited and increasingly inaccessible for the poorest families. Herd sizes have decreased affording little margin of error and herd migration out of dzud areas (otor), a key disaster prevention strategy, becomes prohibitively expensive for the poorest and further increases the risk of livestock loss.
The projects are based upon monthly SITREP statistical reports to ADRA Mongolia’s funding partners. The relief operation is an extension of ADRA Mongolia’s previous involvement in the dzud’s disaster in Zavkhan and this project uses and builds upon knowledge learned from these previous interventions. It describes and evaluates the objectives of feeding 290 families and 600 vulnerable herds and presents findings from a survey on the health of the dzud-affected population.