As part of Mirror’s NextGen International project, Khash-Erdene investigates why young people are moving from rural Mongolia to the city
Image: Erdenemunkh Renchinnyam)
There is a high migration rate from rural to urban areas in Mongolia.
I come from a town in Bulgan province.
Our hospitals are inadequate and have little equipment, so our people have to go to larger cities to diagnose and treat serious illnesses.
Recently during Covid-19 there were not enough hospital rooms and only one doctor and one nurse who had to be in isolation with all their patients for seven days in a row.
There are no dentists, ophthalmologists and visceral doctors in the remote provinces, so people have to go to the big cities to get serious diseases diagnosed and treated.
Our local schools do not provide good education because rural teachers are lagging behind their urban counterparts.
Since there are not enough teachers, at least two different subjects will be taught.
Differences between urban and rural educational quality are often reflected in foreign language levels.
These are just some of the factors that are driving more and more families and young people to move to the cities.
On a tree planting mission with Raleigh Mongolia in January, I met 46-year-old Enkhbaatar Nyamdorj, a herder from Selenge Soum, Bulgan Aimag, to learn why young people are moving away from the countryside.
In the past 30 years since the fall of the old regime in Mongolia, ecological and economic changes have brought many of these unknown problems to his village.
He explained: “Recent natural changes, such as slow grass growth in spring, less rain in summer and late frosts in autumn, are reducing pasture yields and overgrazing is making them worse.
“In general, we are becoming unfamiliar with the climate, so we need investment in new skills and equipment.
“In the past, nomadic herders only needed livestock and pasture, but now we need equipment for growing and harvesting forage.”
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia transitioned from communist rule to a democratic capitalist state in the 1990s.
This had a domino effect as communities adjusted to a new regime.
“During the socialist era, the Selenge region was agricultural and my parents were converted from herdsmen to farmers,” says Enkhbaatar.
“After the turnaround in the 1990s, all socialist structures were dismantled, causing the economy of our villages to collapse between traditional nomadic cattle breeding and post-Soviet agriculture.
“These changes have confused our lives, especially our children.
“Today, young people from our villages are moving to the big cities in search of work, and less than 20 percent of young people stay in their villages to maintain their traditional lifestyle.
“They don’t imagine their future in the village. For example, the village lacks professionals of working age, the current doctors and veterinarians are all retirees who have to continue working despite their retirement.
“Our community is now looking at ways to revitalize the village.”
One such opportunity involves a tree planting program with Raleigh Mongolia, a civil society organization run by Mongolian youth in partnership with Raleigh International.
The program supports the local forest community of Selenge-Buren Soum in Bulgan Province to set up their own tree nursery, which not only addresses the problem of deforestation but also creates a sustainable green business for the local community.
Another herder involved in the forest program, Bat-Ulzii, says: “To support nature, our forest group has planted many tree seedlings since 2015, up to 10,000 seedlings per year and planted on several hectares of land.
“The cycle begins with carefully picking the tree seeds from the forest in winter, nurturing them in nursery soil until they become seedlings, and planting them where needed.
“This nature-based solution requires time and resources. Due to financial difficulties, our forest group had to stop their tree planting campaign in recent years.
“However, we are pleased to resume tree planting with the support of the Raleigh Mongolia Initiative and are committed to contributing to the President of Mongolia’s Billion Trees Campaign.”
Raleigh International is a youth action organization that supports a global movement of young people to take action on the issues that matter to them.
Young people are at the forefront of building a fairer, more inclusive and greener world, and actively addressing the planet’s most pressing crises.
Action Not Excuses is Raleigh International’s global youth-led environmental campaign, empowering 100,000 young people to create green jobs, fight for zero waste and pollution, and reverse deforestation.
Action Not Excuses connects young people around the world to build the knowledge and skills to build a more sustainable world and has supported young people in Nicaragua, Mongolia, Nepal, Tanzania, Malaysia, Costa Rica and the UK to run climate campaigns start taking urgent action For the environment.
Urban Nomads is the Action Not Excuses campaign led by young people in Mongolia to reduce the flow of migration from Mongolia’s rural areas to the cities. High migration rates are leading to rising air pollution and overpopulation in Mongolia’s capital, as well as underpopulation of young people in rural areas.
Through Urban Nomads, Mongolian youth are inspiring young people to see the potential of the resources they can access in their own rural hometowns to reduce migration and support the wider Mongolian environment.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/planting-trees-holds-key-revitalising-26639221 "Planting trees is key to revitalizing the landscape and improving air quality" - World News