UNICEF in Mongolia
Mongolia’s rate of economic growth is one of the highest in the world. Substantially increased income for both the Government of Mongolia and the private sector, primarily from mining, brings increased opportunities for economic diversification, improvements in education, infrastructure development, and boosted social programmes. However, challenges remain including persistent poverty and growing socio-economic and geographic disparities, which poses a major challenge not only for the Government but for all development partners towards achieving the MDGs at sub-national level and with equity.
Indicators remain stagnant, with use of improved drinking water sources at 68%, use of improved sanitation facilities at 58% with large disparities between urban and rural areas – 69% in urban and 29% in rural areas.
The disparities affecting children are alarming. The under five mortality rate disparities are large and worrisome. For instance, a child is four times more likely to die before his or her fifth birthday is he or she is born in the Western regions compared to children in Ulaanbaatar (40 v 11 deaths per 1000 live births). Disparities are equally concerning when analysing the gaps between aimag centers and remote soum areas – in some cases, this gap means that a child born in a soum is more than three times more likely to die before age five compared to a child born in the aimag center (70 v 20 deaths per 1000 live births). Finally, there is a socio-economic aspect of child mortality, as it is almost four times higher for poor children than for children in the wealthiest quintile (44 v 12 per 1000 live births).
As Mongolia moves towards Middle Income Country status, the challenge is to ensure that economic growth contributes to poverty alleviation and offsets the widespread socio-economic disparities.
Government of Mongolia - UNICEF Country Programme Action Plan (2012-2016)
The Country Programme is designed to accelerate Mongolia’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 by supporting the Government of Mongolia to pursue pro-poor social policies and address inequality.
It is aimed at advancing the rights of children, women and poor families through a series of targeted and integrated interventions, as well as enhanced technical assistance to the government so that it is better able to develop appropriate response mechanisms and policies and more effective and targeted social sector budgets.
The Country Programme Action Plan was signed jointly by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade on behalf of the Government and UNICEF, whereas detailed annual workplans are signed by the respective sectoral Ministries.
The Country Programme features two key programme components:
1. Social Policy, Investment and Advocacy for Child Rights, which is aimed at ensuring that children are given importance under national priorities and that there is a sufficient allocation of financial resources. This component of the Country Programme covers the cross-cutting issues, such as promotion of evidence-based pro-poor policies, greater investment for children, use of data analyses, advocacy and partnership, as well as knowledge management and communication for development to spread best practices of the inclusive interventions and documentation.
2. Integrated and Inclusive Interventions for Children, which targets those children most affected by disparities, reaching them with cost-effective integrated services. The component is composed of two key programme areas namely child friendly community and child friendly school.
The integrated and inclusive interventions target Khuvsgul province and Nalaikh district with ultimate goal of making these two places child –friendly communities by 2016. In order to achieve the goal, the following programme areas will be implemented:
Child friendly community: Child-friendly community (CFC) initiatives aim creation of healthy and safe environment for children at home and communities through child-friendly services and strengthening of local governance system. The component covers the following programme areas:
Pre-school education: This programme component aims to increase accessibility of quality pre-school education for all children. Promotion of alternative forms of pre-school education for marginalized herder and per-urban children is a focus area.
Health: The health programme aims at improving the use of basic health services among parents and families, particularly in the peri-urban areas of Ulaanbaatar city. The key target of the health programme is to ensure that 75% of disadvantaged children and women benefit from the Reaching Every District (RED) Strategy. In addition, introduction of pneumococcal vaccines and a pneumonia-prevention plan and newborn care services through telemedicine and the use of mobile technology will be supported in focus areas.
Nutrition: The nutrition programme supports high-impact, low-cost nutritional interventions, including promotion of food fortification policies and support for improved nutritional services at health care facilities.
Child friendly school: The Child-Friendly School initiative, which has been endorsed by the Government of Mongolia, focuses on the principle that schools should operate in the best interests of the child. Educational environments must be safe, healthy and protective, have trained teachers, adequate resources and appropriate physical, emotional and social conditions for learning.
Child Protection: Protection of children in school and family setting from violence, neglect and discrimination is an essential part of the CFS component. Within this area, zero tolerance of violence against children is promoted, as well as policies to ensure every child to live in a family like environment are supported.
Child Participation: Child and youth participation is a key component of all the programmes, empowering children and enabling their voices to be heard throughout society. The programme promotes children’s participation in areas ranging from civic knowledge, life skills and health prevention to community development for social change.
HIV/AIDS: Improving the quality and coverage of sexually transmitted infections and HIV prevention services targeting all schools in focus areas, provision of Voluntary Counseling and Testing services are the key activities under HIV/AIDS programme.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): WASH component contributes to the creation of CFS and CFC. In the targeted communities, WASH component supports improvement of school WASH facilities and creation of open defecation free communities.