Let’s start with a question. Say you’re a herder in Mongolia, what do you think is one of the main requirements for your livestock apart from grazing pasture? Yep, you’re right. The answer is water.
There are around 165,000 herder households spread throughout the 1.56 million square miles that form the immensity that is Mongolia.
Those of you that have been to Mongolia will be aware that streams and rivers are only prevalent in certain areas of the country such as the Khangai Mountains that stretch across the central heartland. Elsewhere, access to water is severely limited due to geography. Climate change is now always making an impact with the average temperature in Mongolia having increased by 2.1C since 1940 (UN Environment Programme – more than double the rise of average global temperatures.
‘Climate change has been monitored over several decades due to the country’s vast grasslands and equally vast livestock herds. Satellite monitoring and field research by rangeland experts and academics from around the world all find that it is changing there at a faster pace than in most other countries, with warnings of yet greater severity and unpredictability in future. ‘
That’s why wells (‘either deep engineered or shallow bore and drawn from aquifers’ – Bill Munns) are so essential.
CAMDA is a UK based NGO dedicated to supporting and bringing resources to Mongolia’s herders. It was formed in 2000 following a countrywide severe weather event in Mongolia known as a dzud – a weather event unique to Mongolia. CAMDA provides support not just by providing financial aid, but real practical help, the sort that makes a long term difference to Mongolia’s semi-nomadic herding communities – helping to sustain their vulnerable way of life. Part of their essential work includes the restoration and replacement of fresh-water wells.
Wells are an indispensable source of water to herders and livestock in Mongolia. To those whose lives revolve around and depend upon their livestock they are absolutely invaluable.
If you’re considering visiting Mongolia, maybe you could help the work of CAMDA by making a small donation to their vital work? In the words of CAMDA, funds are not spent on ‘handouts rather on a means to bring resources to low-income herders.’ Here’s how you can donate. Even the cost of a small coffee would help.
Alternatively, look at our Responsible Tourism Mongolia webpage to see our other areas of support in Mongolia.