Network of Health Related
Organisations of Mongolia

How it all began

The idea of creating a network started in 2004. It became apparent that several Health Related NGOs and Organisations had similar aims and objectives, but they were working independently of one another.

As far as many NGOs were concerned, their overall plans were largely dictated from their Head Offices, which may well not be in Mongolia, or even Asia, and policies were then modified according to local needs.

Local NGOs only seemed to have meetings when someone thought there was a need for a meeting; and many of those 'meetings' were based on telephone calls, so any discussion was limited.


Dr Odontsetseg

As I had been involved on several western committees and think-tanks on healthcare, I was invited to attend a meeting of Odnoo's NGO, the Foundation for Health Policy Promotion. There I realised that the procedure was not what I had been used to.

At other larger meetings that I attended in Mongolia at that time, it seemed that the Chairman was in charge, and there was little opportunity for meaningful discussion. What I had been used to from previous experience were meetings where the Chairman acts like a referee, and taking one item at a time, does not move on until everybody has been invited to contribute to the debate. Equally, a good Chairman can encourage speakers to stop once they have made their point!

I was also fortunate at the time in that I had met Alison Rusinow from VSO, and I have great respect for her long-term knowledge and understanding of Mongolian culture. Alison thought that the idea of having regular meetings where all interested people can take part in a discussion would be good for the healthcare provision of Mongolia. So VSO Mongolia enabled the start of regular meetings by providing a meeting room for monthly meetings.

Odnoo was working for the French NGO Action Contre la Faim, and they have generously given a great deal of support in the organisation of the meetings. So maybe the first networking was between VSO and Action Contre la Faim. It was their joint collaboration from the start that has made these meetings possible.