Mongolien: Purevsuren Choijamts

The State has virtually ceased to reach out to rural communities here. NGOs work hard but they often face problems.”

— Purevsuren Choijamts

Purevsuren Choijamts, born in 1957, is a hydro-geologist who graduated from the Mongolian Technical University. In 2002 she founded the Nature and Women Center to work on ecological education and awareness. Purevsuren’s nationwide project to bring in ecologically clean household fuel is considered very important both ecologically and economically. Purevsuren is an efficient organizer and promoter of small-business development in the poor Gobi areas, and has worked in collaboration with the World Bank for the benefit of herder families.

Born in the Khangai forest-steppe region, Purevsuren began by being very fearful of camels when she came to the Gobi desert region as a volunteer. But then she produced a pasture management map of the South Gobi aimak, which both local state administrations and livestock-breeding households use. She has reorganised the water management scheme in Gobi and other dry-climate regions within the framework of her Water-21 project. Being practically oriented, Purevsuren secured funds from Holland to repair wells in the South Gobi area and other dry-climate regions. There are more than 190,000 nomadic herder households in Mongolia, 86 percent of whom are economically poor, possessing less than 200 animals. With rapidly deteriorating forest cover, their situation is even more precarious. Purevsuren’s training activities and organizational skills have helped these communities set up small business units producing and marketing different goods, many with the help of World Bank microloans. She has also helped to revive age-old local traditions of silver craftsmanship. The Nature and Women Center founded by Purevsuren works to improve ecological education and for the implementation of ecologically clean technologies. Purevsuren’s new technology of pressed-coal fuel for rural and urban everyday household needs can also help to reduce air pollution in urban areas. “The State has virtually ceased to reach out to rural communities here. NGOs work hard, but they often face problems. Once a local head of administration said he would attend my training if only I paid him to do so.” She feels the government only makes declarations on paper. In such circumstances Purevsuren's step of having persuaded ecology students to plant 3000 bushes in the national protection Bogdo-Uul area is doubly significant.