Research Achievement Report


Graduate Student Researcher Development Grant by

Taikichiro Mori Memorial Research Fund for the academic year 2009


Project name:                         Equity issue among Pastoral Community organizations in Mongolia

Name of the Researcher:   Narangerel Yansanjav

Affiliation:                           Graduate School of Media and Governance

Duration of the research:    Aug, 2009- Jan 2010


Acknowledgement:  I would like to pass my deep gratitude to Taikichiro Mori Memorial Research Fund for providing the fieldwork with financial support, without which the researcher could not afford to make it happen.  Also big thanks to my professor Lynn Thiesmeyer, who gave her extended guidance, without it the researcher could not acquire the essential data and observation for the thesis. 

Achievement 1:

Produced survey and questionnaire for fieldwork (June – July 2009) 

Based on my main advisor professor’s guidance and recommendation, the researcher developed three different survey questionnaire for three different informants; 1)respondents- herders and 2)Community leaders, 3)key informants- Local government officials and related Ministry Authorities.  In order avoid being bias the researcher used triangulation (asking same questions from different type of informants). 

Totally 48 individuals were interviewed.


Box 1



Number of Interviews with individual and Key informants and Group discussion


Individual herders                                                     30

       Barchin Khairkan Community                                    5

       Taliin Bulag  Community                                            5

       Khamtiin Khuch Community                                       5

       Khankhar Community                                                 5

       Taval Tolgoi   Communty                                           5

       Ar Bayan Community                                                 5



Community leaders                                                   4

Key informants                                                          6

Informal focus group meeting                                    8


Total interviewed                                                       48



Achievement 2

Fieldwork conducted in Mongolia (August to September 2009)

The fieldwork was conducted in Arkhangai province (northern Khangai), Tsenkher and Tuvshruulekh soums [1].  Arkhangai province is located slightly west to the center on the northern part of the Khangai Mountain.  Currently Arkhangai covers 55,313.82 km² (21,357 sq mi), and has 89,282 citizens, who live in 19 sums and 99 bags (subdistricts). 

In winter the average temperature is −30 °C to −38 °C (−22 °F to −36 °F) and in summer the high temperature is between 25 °C and 36 °C (77 °F and 97 °F).

The main field of economy in the province is agriculture, predominantly animal husbandry. According to 2007 data, the province has 2,912,500 domestic animals: goats, sheep, cattle (incl. yaks and khainags), horses.

According to the Natural Zone mapping of the country, the province is included in the Mountain steppe area (see map).

Methodology:  The research relied on qualitative approach, where Participatory analytical tools were employed along with “thick description” (Geertz ,The Interpretation of Culture, 1973) where I had tried to keep record on everything I observed as much as I could do using my dairy notes, the camera (photo and digital) and the tape recorder which was recommended by my advisor professor. 



The target groups were herders who live in forest steppe area of the country.  In each Community organization, all the members’ livelihood was identified by local residents (social worker of the village, bag (Admin. Unit within the village) randomly chosen herders (2) using Participatory Wealth ranking tool[2].  The mean criteria that the above local residents used were: Livestock number, number of family members, physical assets (car, truck), relatives in bigger cities, experience in herding, possess winter camps, pension from government, whether any children study at Universities.

Secondly, once the livelihood of the herders were identified the wealthier, better off and poor households were chosen randomly.  Sometimes due to the herders time availability the researcher used snow ball sampling technique, where finding one respondent by asking others than suit for the criteria [3]. 

Semi structured interview:

The main method used during the fieldwork was semi structured interviews.  The research was conducted in the area of nomadic people where group of households live distance (10-20km) from other group of households. In that case this method was most suitable for individual herders to interview rather than group discussion.  Also the fieldwork was overlapped with some of the main activities of local herders such as hay collecting which makes local people busy, the group discussion was not suitable.  Also since some of the respondents were illiterate semi structured interview did not require them to read and write instead it was encouraging them to talk more casual way while researcher can correct immediately when the misunderstandings occur during the interviews.  

The each interview was started with casual icebreaking and introductions. Before starting the main interview I informed every respondent by explaining my research work and it helped them to relax before interview and avoid sensitive issues that might be occur during interview.  Also the open-ended questions allow both researcher and respondents to talk freely and openly. 


During the interview some PRA tools were used to evaluate his/her personal opinion on the Community performance such as H-form. The mobility map was drawn by each respondent to understand respondent households’ annual mobility situation and its usage of pasture.  These exercises were allowed respondents to brainstorm and made the interview more interactive (draw map) rather than asking and answering all the time. 

34 individual interviews were conducted from 5 different Community organizations.   Additionally 18 key informants including focus group meeting participants.  Totally 48 respondents interview were captured.

Key informants interview:

In depth interviews were conducted with key informants from local government and some related development program officers.   

During the interview the government policy issue on Community Organization in local area and its right and responsibility and related law enforcement was discussed.  Additionally, the local pasture use by the herders and role of community organization in nature conservation was deeply illustrated while cross checking questionnaires were attached.  From the local area 1 Vice governor, 1 Natural resource inspector, 1 Social worker was interviewed.  From related development programs the Managing director of UNDP Combating Desertification project, Community Development officer of Altai Sayan, Community based conservation project of UNDP and Director of Policy research center and Director of New Zealand Nature Institute were interviewed. 

Informal focus group discussion:

Due to lack of time availability among herders the focus group meeting was conducted only once during the fieldwork with 8 participants.  During focus group meeting different PRA tools were used such as social and natural mapping, trends on natural resources to capture the group perceptions and attitudes. 

The participation level of the herders was active and it was useful to observe how the individuals react and commented on others view.  Sometimes it was not easy for researcher to capture every single talk during the group meeting so again tape recorder was used.

Collection of secondary data:


The secondary data was collected from the following institutions: Local institutions, National library, National statistical office, Project reports (UNDP, FAO, IFAD, ADRA) Public documents (newspapers, policy papers),             local reports from Arkhangai province (2 soums).





Limitations during the fieldwork:


The number of obstacles has been occurred during the fieldwork:

Time:  Since the nature of nomad people is to move from one place to another looking for good grass for their livestock, I had to travel 40-50 km to find my respondents every day. It was time consuming although it was fun on the horse.  Also sometimes interviews lasted 2 hours and since the housewife had to milk the cows and prepare the dairy products and feed the children the interview took place in between her daily busy schedule.  However for man it was a bit different situation unless he receives unexpected guests from the local area, which took several hours to wait the guest to leave the house.


Due to the heavy rainfall during the summer the water level of big rivers was raisin and gave difficulty to cross the river on the horse to reach the household on the other side of the river. 



Achievement 3


The primary and the secondary data and observation from the fieldwork were analyzed (October 2009 –Jan 2010)


The collected primary and the secondary data and the observation during the fieldwork captured the most essential information for the thesis writing.  The crucial and complicated task is to analyze those data, find relationship between them, look for patterns and came up with actual framework.  The researcher’s next step would be to academically illustrate the case and prove it based on empirical data and on literature review. The following main findings are the key issues to be discussed in the thesis.  Finally and hopefully it would be the recommendation to Mongolian government, to current and future donor funded programs and to herder Community organizations toward improvement of Herding households and of better pastureland management in pastoral land of Mongolia. 


·         The Community organization was established without common consensus of its members.

·         There are no regular meetings or activities within the community

·         Too many member households comparison to the Customary organization in one Community and it not only make the service delivery (from government and the project) slow and inefficient it also creating mistrust among the members.

·         However the herders hope that Community Organization would positively impact on their livelihood, since the pastureland is degrading and poverty is increasing and the customary organization is too weak to support them. 

·         Due to lack of adequate information and organizational and management skill the CO is weak.

·         The pasture land management and its enforcement is not active among members.

·         According to the Community law from the government, members have more responsibilities than rights

·         Poor households are getting poorer when rich herders have more access to pasture.

·         The increased number of livestock causes to land degradation.

·         The Government Policy toward improving herders livelihood is mainly directing to rich herders who own more than 500 animals through developing intensive farming

·         Donor funded projects in the rural area are overlapping and its destructive to Herder Community organization


 Charts from the fieldwork


































Photos from the fieldwork




[1] Administrative unit (District)

ž  [2] Jules N Pretty, Irene Guijt , “Trainer’s guide for Participatory Learning and Action”, 1995


[3] Regina Scheyvens anf Donovan Storey Development Fieldwork, Practical Guide, 2003, SAGE Publication