With immense open spaces and sparse population, the beautiful country of Mongolia still holds the intrigue of “the frontier”. Spectacular landscapes make way for a land of horses, sheep, goats, camels and yaks, all managed by nomadic families that roam the fence-less country, in search of pasture.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia gained independence in 1990, and was suddenly on its own, faced with new challenges of building government administration, structure and services.  The factories were abandoned, the collective farms collapsed, and virtually the entire nation became unemployed overnight. Many families returned to the time-honoured ways of their ancestors and took up herding. However, the traditional diet was inadequate and as a result, people, especially children, began suffering from immune deficiency diseases.

ADRA Canada began working in Mongolia in 1995.  As many parts of Canada are in the same temperate zone as Mongolia, Canada was in a unique position to assist Mongolia with agricultural expertise.  We began running programs that introduced new seed varieties of vegetables that would mature during their short growing season.  New techniques such as using green houses with straw bale insulation added an extra month.  Education in storage, processing and canning the vegetables helped the people stock food for the long, cold winters.  The new information transformed people’s lives!  They began enjoying foods they never dreamed possible to grow in their country.  All of this not only improved nutrition, but helped people increase their family income as they began to sell their extra produce in local markets.

ADRA Canada has continued working in Mongolia over the years helping people with agriculture, skills training, small business training and other livelihood.