6 May 2017

Well Refurbishment Project Mongolia - CAMDA NGO

Let's start with a question. Say you're a herder in Mongolia, what do you think is one of the main requirements for your livestock apart from grazing pasture? Yep, you're right. The answer is water. And that's what the focus of this blog post is about.

There are around 150,000 herder households spread throughout the 1.56 million square miles that form the immensity that is Mongolia.

Although personal usage by herders is minimal, of course water is essential for their livestock … all 61.5 million (approximately) of them. 

Those of you that have been to Mongolia will be aware that streams and rivers are only prevalent in certain areas of the country such as the Khangai. Elsewhere, access to water is severely limited due to geography and climate change.

'Climate change has been monitored over several decades due to the country's vast grasslands and equally vast livestock herds. Satellite monitoring and field research by rangeland experts and academics from around the world all find that it is changing there at a faster pace than in most other countries, with warnings of yet greater severity and unpredictability in future. '

Bill Munns, CAMDA

That's why wells ('either deep engineered or shallow bore and drawn from aquifers' - Bill Munns) are so essential. 

CAMDA is a UK based NGO dedicated to  supporting and bringing resources to Mongolia’s herders. It was formed in 2000 following a countrywide severe weather event known as a dzud  - a weather event unique to Mongolia.  CAMDA provides support not just by providing financial aid, but real practical help, the sort that makes a long term difference. Part of their essential work includes the restoration and replacement of fresh-water wells.

Time for a photo. True, probably not one of the most Instagrammed images from Mongolia.

Wells are an indispensable source of water to herders and livestock in Mongolia. To those whose lives revolve around and depend upon their livestock they are absolutely invaluable. 

CAMDA's well project is an ongoing project - aiming to provide about 30 wells each year shared among four provinces in Mongolia. They are created using local labour and materials and when the well is complete, handed over to the local authority with a designated person for maintenance. 

Some of the provinces are in Gobi fringe regions, and most wells there are refurbished. Khovsgol Province is in the north, not arid in the main but due to hilly terrain it suffers rain run-off and localised water shortage. Where herds are forced to travel further to graze or find water, their trampling degrades pasture. A solution to ease this situation was seen by adding new wells, especially in areas where climate change has reduced other natural water sources.

In 2016, CAMDA constructed 20 in Khovsgol (EL's 2016 donation helped to fund the construction of two wells here) - now serving more than 170 herder households with an overall total of livestock exceeding 28,000 heads. A further 5 wells were rehabilitated in Ovorkhangai province, serving some 28 households and their 3,700 heads of livestock. 

2017 should see CAMDA being able to fund 35 + wells.  

If you're considering visiting Mongolia in 2017, maybe you could help the work of CAMDA by making a small donation to their vital work? In the words of CAMDA, funds are not spent on 'handouts rather on a means to bring resources to low-income herders.'  Here's how you can donate.

And, (because there always has to be a 'plug'!) learn more about why we support CAMDA as part of our responsible travel philosophy.

As always, thanks for listening. Jess

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