Erdenetuul from Mongolia (Asian Girl Ambassador 2012)

ErErdenetuul Batkhuyag is a 15-year-old Mongolian student and youth worker. She lives with her family in a “ger” community outside the capital city of Ulan Bator. “Ger” is the Mongolian word for a traditional home, and large communities of them lie outside the country’s big cities. People from these communities, especially girls and women, often live difficult lives and are cut off from Mongolia’s commercial districts and public services.

Like thousands of other girls in ger communities, Erdenetuul has a lot of responsibilities at home. In fact, a lot have so many household chores to do that they end up neglecting their schoolwork. Erdenetuul feels that her decision to join the local youth development program saved her from this kind of lifestyle. At the youth club, she learned a lot of new skills, including how to operate a computer and work on the internet, and she now helps teach others.

Erdenetuul and the MYDSC

Erdenetuul tutoring a girl in the primary school.

Erdenetuul tutoring a girl in the primary school.

The MYDSC (Mongolian Youth Development Services Center) empowers young people, teaching them life skills and organizing youth social entrepreneurship programs, such as internet and training centers. Erdenetuul helped to establish one of these centers, and she works there four days a week, helping people open email accounts and search for information.

In addition to her work at the internet and training center, Erdenetuul and the other club members have set up a volunteer scheme to help elderly and disabled people in the community, and they’ve also organized competitions and events to raise awareness about the harmful effects of smoking and drinking alcohol.

Erdenetuul’s Future Plans

Erdenetuul says that girls from ger communities have little access to computers and the internet. To change that, she wants to set up a girls’ internet club. She also wants to change people’s attitudes towards the physical and sexual abuse women and girls face in Mongolia.

She has big plans for the future, and most of them involve helping others. (By Andrew Crosthwaite)

You can view her PowerPoint Presentation here

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Munkhjin Tsogt (International Judge of Asian Girls’ Rights Award 2013)

Central Asia_Mongolia_Munkhjin TsogtInternational Judge from Central Asia, Munkhjin Tsogt is a board chair of Mongolian Youth Development Services Center (MYDSC) and she received her Master’s degree in social work from Washington University in Saint Louis, MO, USA in 2008. She has been working in child rights and education, and youth development fields in the last 17 years by getting employed by World Vision International Mongolia, US Peace Corps and National Authority for Children, a principal government agency for child rights, development and protection.

She is a co-founder of MYDSC, a non-government organization in Mongolia, which was established in 2009, to enhance educational and development opportunities for disadvantaged children and youth in Mongolia. She provides leadership and supervision for more than dozen employees of MYDSC and provide technical consultancy for numerous child rights and development projects in Mongolia. She received John F. Kennedy Service Award in 2006 from US Peace Corps in Boston, MA, USA. And she holds numerous awards for being an advocate for child rights protection and development of young people from governmental and non-governmental organizations in Mongolia.

Currently, MYDSC implements following programs:  1) youth development program called “TOP™-youth development program”; 2) youth social entrepreneurship skills development program; 3) integrated community development program.

Youth development program “TOP™-youth development program” is being implemented at the schools and communities in the ger communities of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to expand developmental rights of children and youth living in disadvantaged circumstances. There are 8 schools and 3 communities are involved in the current youth development program which reaches over 700 youth directly. Youth social entrepreneurship program provides support to youth in the establishment and operation of social enterprises e.g. internet and training center and youth photo studio etc. Youth in this program learn key life skills as well as leadership and entrepreneurial skills. In addition, MYDSC is engaged in community development programs in the two rural mining communities in Tuv and Selenge provinces. Social workers are engaged in community groups to plan and implement community development projects and empower youth to gain life skills and get involved in community services and projects.

MYDSC works in cooperation with district government, schools and local authorities. In addition, the projects of MYDSC have been financially supported by World Vision International Mongolia, GIZ of Germany, and US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.  MYDSC promotes evidence based development programs and capacity building of all engaged in youth and community development. It aims to expand its development programs at national level by building capacities of technical and methodological skills of stakeholders.