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Australia Awards Alumni Conference 2013

Posted: 1 September 2013

Ms Suvdmaa Tuul and Mr Munkhsuren Byamba attending an Australia Awards Alumni Conference in Yogykarta, Indonesia in August 2013.

Two Mozzies, Ms Suvdmaa Tuul and Mr Munkhsuren Byamba were selected to attend an Australia Awards Alumni Conference in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in August 2013. They were joined by participants from Australia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The theme of the conference was Towards 2015 – opportunities and challenges for higher education institutions in the ASEAN Community. It brought together professionals, researchers, research institutes and educational bodies to share and exchange ideas and information about higher education, the emergence of the ASEAN Economic Community, international collaboration and world class tertiary education institution.

Suvdmaa and Munkhsuren found the conference very useful on a personal level and as providing possible opportunities for the Mozzies to consider for the future. They identified the following benefits:

  • They were able to develop professional and personal networks through sharing experiences from the conference
  • They learned more about Australian and South East Asian higher education institutions
  • They saw ways the Mozzies could expand its networks and create opportunities for increased international connections and collaboration
  • They have knowledge about how the Mozzies could approach organizing large events, with the potential to offer them in Mongolia
  • They can play key roles in planning Mozzies’ activities linked or delivered through the Australia Awards in Mongolia
  • They can help the Program and Mozzies develop links with institutions and alumni associations in the Asian region.

The Princess Center for protecting girls and young women’s rights, empowers those dealing with complicated social problems through services such as counseling, vocational skills training, support group activities and community events. The Princess Center builds the capacity of its beneficiaries through Young Mothers’ Club activities – a participatory club of teenage mothers up to 20 years old – and addresses policy advocacy through nationwide campaigns, lobbying meetings and online activism.

Between June and October 2015 the Princess Center implemented the Young Mothers’ Empowerment Program (YMEP) in Dornod province with financial support from Australia Awards Mongolia through the MOZZIES Association (Mongolia Australia Society) Professional Development Fund.

YMEP was designed by the Princess Center based on its 10 years of experiences providing socio-psychological counseling and social work services to teenage mothers. The special feature of this program is an integration of long-term social work services and empowerment activities such as educational training, discussions and field trips. Through this program, the Princess Center aimed to empower teenage mothers in a remote area of Mongolia through strong participation of local social workers.

The Princess Center collaborated with the Agency of Children and Family Development in Dornod province (ACFD) to implement the YMEP.

This project had two main components:

  • Capacity building of local social workers
  • Implementation of YMEP

In the end of June 2015, staff members of the Princess Center visited Choibalsan city and provided capacity building training to 19 local social workers on the academic methodology of social work services to teenage mothers.

YMEP started from August 2015 in Dornod province and 15 teenage mothers were selected as project beneficiaries. Each beneficiary received 8-10 individual counseling sessions and access to social work support services for 3 months, including:

  • to get Identification card or certificate of birth registration
  • to access the social welfare benefits such as maternity and child allowances;
  • to place in the shelter house to protect against domestic violence
  • to re-integrate with family members
  • to vaccinate babies
  • to provide in-kind assistance such as diapers, clothes, nutrition for kids and food
  • to place in the nursing house for rehabilitation
  • to involve in various vocational skills trainings

The young mothers also participated in six sessions of various educational training covering:

·sexual and reproductive health (STD, contraceptives and safe abortion) and

·life skills (self-esteem, self-expression and caring children)

Project Outcomes & Impact

The following outcomes were identified by the Princess Center:

a.Social workers in Dornod province were trained on teenage pregnancy and learnt and provided professional support to teenage mothers who needed support and assistance. ACFD agreed to continue their professional activity to support teenage mothers each social worker working with 1 teenage mother per year.

b.ACFD will continue this project in 2016 and implement YMEP based on their own resources with collaboration of other governmental organizations of Dornod province.

c.Addionally, Dornod province will celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child every year and bring girls’ rights issues into public attention.

Total number of direct beneficiaries of the project reached to 181 people with the details followed:

  • Clients of social work service – 15 girls
  • Social workers – 15 people
  • Participants of “Sustainable Development Goals and dreams of 2030 girls” campaign- 120 teenage girls
  • Participants in discussions – 30 representatives

Indirect beneficiaries’ number reached to 280 as detailed below:

  • Family members of clients – 30 people (minimum)
  • Friends and family members of ”SDGs and dreams of 2030 girls“- 240 people (minimum)

Director and teachers of the School ?1 – 10 people