Monday, May 18, 2009

Global Development Village Caravan in Mongolia

The Scout Association in Mongolia began as recently as 1991, with 39 Scouts making their Promise. The Scout Association now has over 8,000 members and in ten years over 56,000 Scouts have passed through its ranks. This success is primarily due to the strong social commitment of Scouting in Mongolia.

Scouts from Mongolia attended the 17th World Scout Jamboree in Korea in 1991 and experienced the Global Development Village. They recognised the potential of activities such as the Global Development Village to take important health messages into the local communities in Mongolia.

Mongolia is a vast country with a population of around 2,6 million, many of whom have a nomadic way of life. In recent years there has been increased urbanisation and industrial growth but this has resulted in environmental problems such as pollution and deforestation. The delicate relationship between the people and their environment is breaking down.

The Scouts recognised that people’s knowledge of health issues is very low, particularly in the rural areas. There is also a lack of awareness of the relationship between health and the environment. The vulnerability of children and young people and the need to educate the younger generation to change attitudes in the future was also recognised.

Therefore, the Mongolian Scout Association decided they could use the Global Development Village concept to take health and environment messages into the local communities. As Mongolia is such a vast country without a very developed infrastructure, it was important to physically take the messages to the people – hence the idea of the Global Development Village Caravan.

The Mongolian government designated 1998 as ‘Youth Year’ so the Scouts teamed up with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF. Rovers organised a bus caravan around the country and took health and environment messages to about 7,000 children and young people in the provinces. They covered a total of 4,500 km over a period of three months.

The following year the Mongolian Rover Scouts teamed up with Australian Rovers to take the Global Development Village Caravan and the important health messages to 5 western and 3 eastern provinces. They travelled 3,900 km and reached more than 10,000.people in the process.

The range of topics that have been included in the project includes:
* Acute respiratory Infections
* Adolescent Reproductive Health
* Body-buidling* Environment
* Human Rights
* Iodine deficiency Disorders
* Nutrition
* Oral Rehydratation Salts
* Prevention of HIV/Aids
* Rights of the Child
* Scouts against Tobacco and Alcohol

The Scout Association of Mongolia Community Development Team is planning to organize the Global Development Village Caravan regularly through the rural areas. Partnerships with various organisations have been developed to achieve this objective:

* Various professional organisations contribute in training Rovers and Scout leaders;
* Scout National Organisations from various countries are committed to support the project:

Australian Scouts, Scouts of China,
Scouts of Denmark (KFUM) and their Rovers will take part in the Global Development Village Caravan..

Scout leaders and Rovers from the various associations involved in this project can really be called “Scouts of the World”.