OneSky – Mongolia

Over half the population of Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, lives in “Ger” districts made up of large unplanned settlements that  lack access to basic infrastructure and services. Ulaanbaatar has grown by more than 30% since 2007, owing to these ever expanding ger settlements that have become home to once nomadic herder families, now urban migrants squatting in massive, permanent tent encampments surrounding the capital city (source).  A need assessment conducted with “Ger”districts residents by Lorinet Foundation in 2018 revealed access to kindergarten as one of the key issues for young children and access to childcare provision as one of the key barriers for mothers to return to employment.

Having partnered with OneSky on Home Based Care providers’ training program in Vietnam , we invited OneSky to Mongolia in September 2019 to jointly conduct a feasibility assessment for a potential Early Childhood Education pilot. The series of focus group discussions with the parents and one on one interviews with the district officials unveiled myriad of gaps in the early childhood development services available to families. These gaps leave young children living in  “Ger” districts further marginalized in reaching their full learning and development potential.

Armed with these insights, Lorinet Foundation and OneSky along with another private donor initiated a pilot “Family Skills Trainingprogram in Mongolia.

The primary objective of the pilot is to develop a sustainable solution that would:

  • engage parents or primary caregivers of children to strengthen their responsive caregiving practices and knowledge, so as to advance the development of their children;
  • offer safe play spaces in the community for children;
  • offer local parents the opportunity to gain skills to become a community early childhood facilitator.

The secondary objective of this pilot is to investigate feasibility of a cooperative childcare model that could be operated by local mothers in and for the community , building an alternative solution to tackling the lack of access to quality early childhood education in the “Ger” districts.

The program began in early 2020 and will be independently evaluated for its impact on caregivers and children towards end of the pilot.