Mongolia has been hugely struck by the Covid-19 pandemic like the rest of the world. Although the lockdown started early and pandemics statistics are more encouraging than some other countries, this meant business operations have been the economy has been hugely restrained. This is a huge shock, for a developing country, where 1/3 of the population lives under the poverty line.
Hence, the reason that we decided to repurpose the district grant to assist 1) marginalized group who, by default live in harsh conditions, and have been most affected by the side effects on the pandemic lockdown as well as 2) the doctors who are working on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.
The first group of beneficiaries, due to quarantine situation due to Covid-19, all schools and kindergarten have been suspended until (at least) September 2020. Although in an effort to avoid Covid-19 infection, this quarantine has caused the following:
- Children needed to stay at home, which means (either of) the parents could not go to work anymore;
- More and more families have jeopardized cash flow – malnutrition and maintaining hygiene was threatened.
The Law of Mongolia on Social Welfare provides for the provision of “food coupons” to those families who require social support. Food coupons, according to the revised regulations are equivalent to MNT 8,000 or US$2.82 per child and MNT16,000 or US$5.64 per adult. Ulaanbaatar, more than half of the population lives, had 9 districts and therein reside 21,271 families (59,040 adults and 57,473 children) are affected. District Sukhbaatar is unique, as it is believed to cover the central part of the city and rather expected to be well-off in comparison to other districts; however in reality it does have poverty-stricken parts.
It has 1673 families (4820 adults and 4593 children), who are subject to receipt of the food coupon. Therefore we decided to work with select khoroo (smallest administrative units) of the district. We, along with the khoroo administrative officers have decided to assist the highest-risk 200 families out of the 1,673 marginalized families and have donated food products and essential items. The assistance package included 10 kg flour, 5 kg rice, 5 l oil, 2 pieces sanitizer, 5 pieces soap, 4 pieces masks.
Secondly, Mongolia’s health sector was hugely hit by the effects of COVID-19. The pandemic has stricken the already-struggling health sector greatly. Lack of masks and other utilities has been so common and as Rotarians, as per our district’s initiative of “Giving Masks”, we have also donated 1,400 surgical masks to the doctors who are working on the front lines of fighting the disease.