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Street Children of Mongolia

Street Children of Mongolia

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Street Children of Mongolia

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  1. Street Children of Mongolia Kate Dailey Economics of Development April 20, 2009

  2. Overview I. Basics A. Street children B. Mongolia II. Street Children on the rise in Mongolia A. Fall of U.S.S.R i. Transition to market economy B. Urbanization i. Harsh climates: zuds III. Implications of increase in street children IV. Government’s response V. Development suggestions VI. Questions and comments

  3. Street Children“not a new phenomenon and certainly not unique to Mongolia” Definition of ‘street children’ according to UNICEF “boys and girls under the age of 18 for whom ‘the street’ has become home and/or their source of livelihood, and who are inadequately protected or supervised” Estimatedbetween 100-150 million street children worldwide Typically 70% of street children are boys Regional References Colombia: bed bugs Brazil: little criminals Peru: little piranhas Bolivia: glue sniffers Vietnam: dust of life Rwanda: nasty kids Cameroon: mosquitoes Mongolia: sewer kids/manhole children

  4. Causes of Street Children • Family breakdown • Armed conflict • Poverty (36% classified as poor in Mongolia) • Natural and man-made disasters • Famine • Physical and sexual abuse • Exploitation by adults • Urbanization and overcrowding Estimated that between 3,700-4,000 street children in Mongolia 48% of children live in vulnerable families where parents highly likely to be unemployed To understand the context of these causes, one must investigate the economic, political, social, and environmental circumstances of each. Data from Mongolia’s Centre for Human Rights and Development

  5. Some Mongolian Basics… • Located in East and Central Asia • Neighbors Russia and China to the north and south respectively • Population: 3,041,142 • After Kazakhstan, Mongolia is the 2nd largest landlocked country • Mongolia is the 19th largest country in the world and also the MOST sparsely • populated

  6. Capital: Ulaanbaatar • 40% of the population lives in capital, Ulaanbaatar • 25% of population live in provincial centers, Erdenet and Darhan

  7. Ulaanbaatar : The Cultural, Industrial, and Financial Heart of Mongolia • UB initially a nomadic Buddhist monastic center • In 1778 the city settled for good at its current location • - midpoint of caravan route between Beijing and Kyakhta in Russia • Few buildings in UB predate WWII

  8. In Mongolia’s case, two main catalysts of the increase in number of sewer kids… I.Collapse of the U.S.S.R II. Urbanization due to harsh climate/hope of a better life in urban centers

  9. Transition from Command Economy under U.S.S.R to a Market Economy • Collapse of U.S.S.R in 1991 - marked Mongolia’s transition to democracy after 70 years of communism But also marked… - Soviet assistance disappearing nearly overnight (at its peak, unilateral transfers from U.S.S.R valued 1/3 of Mongolia’s GDP) * social services cut tremendously as a result

  10. Effects of Transition to Market Economy • Growing income gap between rich and poor • Unemployment and high inflation • Economic hardship alcohol abuse domestic violence STREET CHILDREN

  11. Mongolian Nomads • 30% of Mongolian population is nomadic or semi-nomadic • Subsistence herding consists of following livestock: • sheep, goats, cattle, horses and Bactrian camels

  12. Bactrian Camels = 2 humps

  13. Mongolian Weather Ulaanbaatar has the lowest average temperature of any national capital in the world EXTREME continental climate; HIGH COLD AND WINDY

  14. Trend of Urbanization • ZUD: Mongolian term for an extremely snowy winter in which livestock is unable to find food. Characterized by the loss of large numbers of animals due to starvation and the cold - Three zuds in a row in 1999, 2000, and 2001 in Mongolia 11 million animals lost • Overgrazing threatening herders’ livelihoods **Both zuds and overgrazing are creating enough economic hardship that more and more herders are moving their families to urban centers in the hopes of finding job security**

  15. Implications of the Phenomenon in Mongolia • Informal Sector - kids shining shoes, guarding cars, selling gum • Begging • Criminal Activities - girls often recruited into prostitution and sex trafficking - pickpockets

  16. Government’s Response • Mongolia signed Convention on the Rights of the Child on 1/26/1990 - “guarantees the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children.” - countries that ratify convention are bound to it by international law However….. • In early 2000, government deeply embarrassed by reports of sewer kids tried sealing manholes up • Summer Camp for street children during Naadam Festival -government’s way to clean up image during tourism’s high season • Corruption: foreign aid absorbed by high officials and not allocated to appropriate social services • Unequal educational opportunity among rich and poor • Inadequate social services

  17. Development Suggestions • Urban Development • Improved social services for • street children • - drop in centers, orphanages, • health clinics, schools • Eliminate governmental measures that discriminate against migrant and poor families • Promote child rights/change attitudes through awareness programs • Enhanced monitoring and evaluation of foreign aid distributors and police • Stricter border crossing regulations as to prevent sex trafficking Rural Development • Programs for zud victims • Policies that foster sustainable herding activities - policies to prevent overgrazing -zud emergency response mechanisms • Improved and more numerous local health and educational facilities

  18. Crossing Chinese-Mongolian Border in a Produce Van

  19. If the greeting at the Chinese border town is an indicator of anything…

  20. Questions and Comments??

  21. Works Cited “At a glance: Mongolia.” UNICEF. Bayar, Daryhand. “Traffickers profit from vulnerability of street children in Mongolia.” March 7, 2006. World Street Children News. Gilbert, Robert. “Mongolians suffer wrath of winter blight.” March 9, 2007. Seattle Post. Kurihara, Kentaro. “Homeless kids fight for survival underground.” 2006. The Asahi Shimbun Company. Litke, Mark. “Woman fights for Mongolia’s Street Children.” November 27, 2005. ABC News. “Mongolia.” U.S Department of State.” March 8, 2006. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.” Weber, Kristine. “Out in the Cold: The Street Children of Mongolia.” A PNA Dispatch.