ADRA Mongolia has high institutional capacity in food security programming in many Aimags in the country. ADRA’s Food Security program has improved access to food for many rural households through establishing agriculture cooperatives in Zavkhan, Dornogobi and Bayankhongor provinces. In addition, the Food Security team has helped hundreds of households in Bayan Ulgii to learn the basics of organic vegetable gardening in order to help provide a sustainable access to food. For food security projects, specific methodologies have been tailored to the realities of Mongolia’s extreme climate, and the population’s lack of agricultural experience. The Food Security program is innovative in its use of permaculture principles to tackle the mentioned problems. Needs assessment, government priorities, and internal planning as well as capacity-building has resulted in permaculture as the foundation for food security programming, with strong links to micro-economic development activities.
Due to weather conditions and other factors in Mongolia, many families don’t have enough food available throughout the year, especially vegetables. ADRA addresses this challenge by teaching them how to grow vegetables using appropriate methods for cold weather conditions. It also assists them to build green houses and root cellars and to get the necessary equipment for the gardening. The cooperatives also learn how to prepare healthy and nutritious dishes. These are ways ADRA helps farmers to maximize production, as well as to protect the environment and to improve health, contributing therefore to overall community development.
The Food Security Program has been implementing a micro economic development gardening project by working with1100 households in five districts of Ulaanbaatar since October 2012. The MEAL project was started to help vulnerable home gardeners, particularly women, in the 20 khoroos of Bayanzurkh, Khan-Uul, Songino-Khairkhan, Chingeltei and Sukhbaatar districts of Ulaanbaatar. In 2013, with financial support of ADRA-Canada/CFGB permaculture, agriculture extension, nutrition and life skill trainings were conducted for 1100 households as a part of the project.
Vegetable seeds, water carts, water irrigation systems and hand tools were also provided for the cooperative gardeners. As a result of the project intervention the beneficiaries were able to produce a total of 196.000 kg vegetables. The project staff and trained trainers were able to reach all 1100 households, providing training on the permaculture approach to agriculture, nutrition, and life skills. All trainings were aimed to raise knowledge about food safety and security. During the coming year, the project will continue to support these households by providing advanced agriculture trainings. In addition to this intervention, business development training and self help groups are planned to be established.