An ordinary young herder becomes a visionary Bag governor

The achievements of SDC’s Green Gold Project would not be possible without innovative and committed local leaders like D. Dugersaikhan, a PUG leader from Tsagaankhairkhan soum in Zavhan aimag and now a Bag Governor.

While the project supports communities in finding solutions and taking actions to overcome problems, it is the communities themselves and their leaders who ensure there are lasting impacts that extend beyond project outreach. To date, Green Gold’s Animal Health Project (AHP) has supported the establishment of more than a thousand herders’ Pasture-User Groups (PUGs), guided by leaders who are committed to their communities and who work voluntarily to ensure the sustainable management of rangelands - the basis of their livelihoods.

D. Dugersaikhan is one of those leaders. Dugersaikhan was elected PUG leader in 2009. Under his stewardship, PUG members began rangeland planning and subsequently improved grazing management, freeing up for rehabilitation for a five-year period 20,000ha of land that was heavily degraded by overgrazing. He led negotiations with local authorities to initiate soum rangeland and hay land regulations, ensuring herders had access to rangelands and arranging co-funding for the fencing of a haymaking area to improve productivity and prepare winter forage. These were the herders’ first investment projects to receive funding from the local budget.

 

In 2012, with support from PUG members, he was among three herders elected to the Soum Citizens’ Representatives Khural. In the years since, he has launched several social and investment projects that have served as examples for local authorities on how to be more responsive to the needs of the herder community.

One of his most ambitious projects was the construction of a bridge across a mountain river that herders needed to traverse to reach spring rangelands. Crossing the fast-flowing river was a slow process and posed risks for herders, their families and their livestock. Dugersaikhan proposed building a bridge over the river to soum authorities. Following rounds of consultation, the soum governor issued a resolution to allocate MNT 3 million in funding from the Local Development Fund (LDF), with herders contributing a further MNT 1.5 million. This encouraged the community to apply for LDF funding for other local development projects, resulting in the co-funding and construction of another two bridges.

In 2016, D.Dugersaikhan was elected Bag governor. “I was very nervous when I was elected to the Soum Citizens’ Representative Hural, thinking that I lacked the education to be there,” he said. “The only thing that encouraged me was the trust of my community and friends. Now I believe a door for opportunity is open to anyone who is committed to achieving their dreams. I hope I set an example for young herders to follow in my footsteps. I’m only halfway to achieving my dream of spreading good deeds in my homeland.”

Published: 2017-11-06 04:54:53