X Close

Emerging Subjects Blog


Emerging Subjects of the New Economy: Tracing Economic Growth in Mongolia


The Potential of Citizen Groups in Ulaanbaatar

By uczipm0, on 28 February 2019

This blog was written based on an academic article to be published by T. Bayartsetseg and Dr. Margot Rawsthorne in 2019. Bayartsetseg is a doctoral student at the Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy, Ghent University, Belgium; lectures in social work at the National University of Mongolia; and is a paired researcher with Dr. Rebekah Plueckhahn on the Emerging Subjects team. Dr. Margot Rawsthorne is an Associate Professor and lectures on community development at the University of Sydney, Australia.

A couple of years ago, a story of a teenager who has been cleaning the Selbe river bank voluntarily after his class hours was circulated on mass media. The story was widely spread from TV interviews to the Mongolian Ministry of Environment and Tourism as an exemplary civic contribution to environmental well-being. Driven by a personal aspiration to create a recreational spot in a one of the ger districts, another man turned the dumpsite in the ger district of Chingeltei into an artificial pool where children can steer small boats for a small fee. More similar homegrown, communitarian examples are emerging particularly as Ulaanbaatar is becoming a more divided city with contestations over land. Today the growth of ger settlements surrounding the capital Ulaanbaatar is a striking illustration of social and spatial polarization similarly found throughout East and South East Asia [1]. With increasing urban poverty (up to 40% of the population in ger district areas) and other pressing issues such as air pollution and health threats, the Mongolian national government has been narrowly focused on these issues with less attention being paid to the potentials of citizen driven initiatives [2]. Whilst it is must to focus on these pressing concerns, a more localized, nuanced political perspective provides much more hope. What is at stake for the ger district residents is their ‘right to the city’—a demand for political, social and economic recognition [3]. In addition, in the case of research conducted by the authors, more participatory habits and autonomy among the public is critically needed for more effective democracy. These demands appear to be rising through citizen groups and citizen actions in ger areas.

Citizen groups in the ger districts

People know more about financial saving groups in disadvantaged communities in Mongolia even though it is only one stream of citizen group activities in our country. ‘Citizen groups’ exist either as non-governmental organizations (NGO) or as cooperatives because their status is not yet legally determined. But it is definitely emerging as a form of civil society organization (irgenii niigem or ‘civil society group’ as we may call it in the future) in both rural and urban Mongolia. Citizen groups are less formal—similar to community-based organizations found in some other countries—and are marked through the possibility of receiving small grants through the Mongolian government’s Local Development Fund based at the respective sub-district administrative unit (or horoo in Mongolian). It is also common that they receive small-scale funds from international organizations for micro-scale environmental and infrastructural actions. In rare cases, they raise funds from its members as monthly donations. Membership is open for everyone in the neighborhood, but women dominate the membership overall by up to 80 percent. Forums, networks, councils and coalitions have started emerging in the civil society spheres of Mongolia for more ethical, collective and collaborative responses to social issues [4]. The development of self-help groups, community development associations and other groups specifically for demographic variations such as women’s, children’s and elderly groups have been emergent in several other countries within Africa and Asia [5]. Taylor and Mackenzie (1992), for example, highlighted that citizen group activities and micro management of community resources (particularly through various income-generation activities and savings groups) brought better results in comparison to any other anti-poverty interventions implemented by the governments of Tanzania and Kenya [6].

Image 1: Footpath built by a citizen group in Chingeltei district funded by the Mongolian government’s Local Development Fund. Photo by Bayartsetseg, T.

From a critical perspective, more research-founded elucidation is needed in order to reveal the multiple functions, classifications and possible contributions of civil society organizations to contemporary Mongolian society. Bumochir Dulam has noted that Mongolia lacks consistency in understanding the content and application of the term ‘civil society’ despite the fact of this term being widely used in social and political discourse not only in Mongolia but also in many other countries worldwide [7]. This is also the case with citizen groups as its members are challenged and asked by public executive bureaus what they mean by ‘citizen group’ when they approach bureaus for support and collaboration. In other cases, they can be a target of suspicion as a group of constituents representing a politician or a political party. The law on NGOs in Mongolia, approved in 1997, does not specify community-based organization or citizen groups in its provisions. In addition, there are fewer local NGOs that support community initiatives compared to those that work in more mainstream areas such as child protection, gender issues and violence against women. In many cases, the idea was initially introduced by international donor organizations such as UN Habitat in Mongolia, however, there are many local ideas and initiatives that are growing as part of greater aspirations to bring about change in peoples’ living environments. However, regardless of the concept’s origin, citizen groups are becoming an undeniable part of emerging civil society in addition to more formal NGOs and cooperatives to support the community from grassroots level.

In this timely moment of discussion to amend the law on NGOs in Mongolia, citizen groups are a form of social organization that needs to be considered, so that they can further develop legally, financially and structurally as a valid form of civic engagement in development. As a survival strategy, most capable citizen groups try to register themselves as NGOs as it allows them to participate more in community initiatives and contribute to development on a micro-scale.  Funding remains to be an influential factor for sustainability of these citizen groups as there are many cases of groups dying down after the initial excitement of donor organization funding, or from the local horoo, has stopped. Behind the curtains of citizen group funding, the clandestine interests of parliament members, horoo officials and donor organizations compete to appropriate the name of the civil society group as a symbol of their democratic efficiency. In other words, citizen groups lack ownership (in addition to funding) over what they have achieved and what they are capable of. In general, as their status is unclear, discretions involving funding and the veiled interests of horoo level bureaucrats create challenges for citizen groups but also engender politics that can divide people in and between such groups.

Image 2: Common fate of abandoned tags found in ger areas. On tag: ‘This stairway was built on the initiative of Bayarsaikhan Garidkhuu, a Member of Parliament.’ Photo by Bayartsetseg, T.

From a productivity perspective, the capacity of citizen groups is not only limited to micro infrastructural works because they can also play an important role in planning entire neighborhoods. One of the citizen groups in Songinokhairkhan district, for instance, drafted a comprehensive horoo development plan without the involvement of professional urban planners, which reflected their visions for small gardens, green areas, schools and kindergartens and even the location of their water well. The district mayor’s office endorsed the plan at that time, but, as is common in Mongolia, the effectiveness of the plan was reduced to a piece of paper when the local government structure changed with newly elected members. Another threat to such citizen driven initiatives is the politics surrounding local tender bidding for micro infrastructure development works. In some cases, tender offers from citizen groups were overridden by business entities although citizen group proposed the most cost-effective financial bid.

Developing citizen groups beyond the ‘problem-oriented’ approach

As mentioned above, ger districts in Ulaanbaatar have been predominantly framed within a ‘problem’ discourse, limiting its usefulness and generative scope for citizen participation. In other words, academic research has emphasized the fact that we tend to portray ger districts as a deficit area settled by in-country migrants with an increased necessity to develop infrastructure, to minimize health risks and to reduce the prevalence of crime and school dropouts [8]. When boxed into a ‘problem’ discourse, it is common that people resignedly accept the current infrastructurally-poor living conditions and remain passive in community initiatives. Some may withdraw from organized activities aimed towards community improvement, presuming that they cannot do anything to eradicate problems faced in the district in any way. In other words, individuals start developing ignorance and using defense and denial as a means of coping [9]. Ultimately, it becomes more difficult to recognize or foster organic or homegrown initiatives that emerge from local areas and easier to follow international practice suggestions.

Returning again to the case of the aforementioned teenage boy and the entrepreneurial man in Chingeltei district, further cases such as these can spread when residents in disadvantaged ger areas share more common aspirations and collaborate with their horoos more closely. Many Mongolians currently desire a greater sense of political agency that can effect change from a personal to a collective level. This may sound idealistic, but we need a communitarian mindset to help promote such micro movements. When Mr. Bat-Uul was Ulaanbaatar’s City Mayor, the Mayor’s Office established around 10 working bureaus to cooperate with residents in peripheral ger areas (захирагчийн ажлын алба). Unfortunately, lacking ways and means to collaborate with its residents, the functions of those bureaus were unclear and staff motivation was low. This is because local civil initiatives in Mongolia are being hindered by the heavy focus on program implementation and management of welfare payments, as well as lack strategies to work with people and informal groups like citizen groups.

Referring back to Lefebvre’s idea of the ‘right to the city’, the city has its own life, secrets and powers. In Ulaanbaatar, there is also a large amount of resourcefulness. We may need a paradigm shift from the dominant focus on planned physical structure to more flexible, inclusive and lively methods of mediating between different types of knowledge and strategies. In this effort, citizen groups are one of the social forces that play a pivotal role in invigorating ger areas’ liveliness and dynamics. The growth of citizen groups could be a way to trigger further citizen participation and community development in Mongolia in this moment of heated talk about civic engagement in development. Understanding what citizen groups are and how they function still needs further research. However, based on several successful cases, citizen groups can do more ground-up works to compensate ineffectiveness of government interventions particularly in peripheral ger areas if recognized properly. Linking citizen-driven initiatives to macro-level policy environment is vital if the government is to genuinely support citizen engagement in development. Indeed, the Government of Mongolia would benefit from cooperating with citizen-driven initiatives, where they can learn from their ‘insider’ experience as an essential step in curbing those critical issues.



[1] Fung, K., Craig, C (2017). One concept many practices: Diverse understandings of community development in East and South East Asia. Community Development Journal. 52, 1-9.

[2] Report by the Mongolian National Broadcaster, October, 2018. Accessed via http://www.mnb.mn/j/204

[3] Butler, C. (2012). The right to the city. In Butler, C (Ed), Henri Lefevbre Spacial Politics, Everyday Life and the Right to the City. Routlege, NY: USA, pp.143-159.

[4] Undarya, T (2013). State of civil society development in Mongolia. Mongolian journal of international affairs, 18, 58-63

[5] Chen, Yi, Wen, Ku.Y. (2016). Community practice at a crossroad: the approaches and challenges in Taiwan. Community Development Journal. 52 (1), 76-91.

[6] Taylor, D. R. F, Makcenzie, F (1992). Development from within. Routlege, London: United Kingdom

[7] Bum-Ochir, D (2018). Mongolia. In Ogawa A (Ed). Routledge Handbook of Civil Society in Asia, Routlege, NY: USA, pp.95-109.

[8] Kamata T, Reichert, J, Tsevermig, T, Kin, Y, Sedgewick, B. (2010). Managing Urban Expansion in Mongolia. The International Bank for Reconstruction and the World Bank, Washington DC: USA.

[8] Lkhamsuren Kh, Choijiljav Ts, Budbazar E, Vanchinkhuu S., Blanc DC, Grundy J (2012) Taking action on the social determinants of health: Improving health access for the urban poor in Mongolia. Journal for Equity in Health. 11(15), 1-15.

[8] Theunissen, T (2014) Poverty, Inequality and the negative effects of Mongolia’s economic downturn. The Asia Foundation. Retrieved from http://asiafoundation.org/2014/06/25/poverty-inequality-and-the-negative-effects-of-mongolias-economic-downturn/. Accessed 27 August 2017.

[8] Kusago T, Hirata, Sh. (2016). The evolutionary path of the 21st Hyogo Long-term Vision Project in Japan: community development, resilience, and well-being. Community Development Journal, 52 (1), 160-170.

[8] Bayarsaikhan, A (2017). Where do you dwell? Neighborhood as a determinant of school attendance in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Journal of Education and Social Policy. 4 (4): 32-41.

[9] Leipold B, Greve, W. (2009) Resilience: A conceptual bridge between coping and development. European Psychologist, 14 (1): 40-50.





100 Responses to “The Potential of Citizen Groups in Ulaanbaatar”

  • 1
    에볼루션 알가격 wrote on 13 September 2022:

    you the technicalss AUGUST1983Y solutions and staff we need for 에볼루션알가격

  • 2
    Shivani roy wrote on 19 September 2022:

    I love the way you write and share your niche! Hot Chennai Escorts||Very interesting and different! Keep it coming

  • 3
    casinosite wrote on 20 September 2022:

    As I am looking at your writing, casinosite I regret being unable to do outdoor activities due to Corona 19, and I miss my old daily life. If you also miss the daily life of those days, would you please visit my site once? My site is a site where I post about photos and daily life when I was free.

  • 4
    Hugh Brooks wrote on 20 September 2022:

    I read your article very carefully. I think you should also write an article about it Atv Kawasaki Sports Bike 2021. This will be beneficial for others I guess thank you.

  • 5
    Matthewc Johnny wrote on 23 September 2022:

    In addition to playing a significant role in daily life in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, citizen groups have the power to significantly improve the city’s economy and quality of life. These organizations, also referred to as dissertation writing services; contribute to the development of a neighborhood that can reach out to one another in times of need. Business associations offer a setting where people can prosper and have active lives while supporting the economics and culture of the city.

  • 6
    TOTOMAX wrote on 28 September 2022:

    Now I confess I’ve been reading your posts all along the time. I like every sentence you wrote so much that I came to your blog and read the same thing over and over again. I hope you continue to share good information. 토토사이트

  • 7
    TOTOBLOGS wrote on 28 September 2022:

    Such a piece of writing should be on the paper. Putting useless gossip on the ground is a waste of resources and environmental pollution! Instead of that, you should put this on the paper! You’re the best.사설토토

  • 8
    masterchef2 wrote on 30 September 2022:

    You’re about to enter a delightful bean-filled universe. The awesome game lol beans pits you against other players in a race to the finish line. By avoiding and jumping over obstacles, you must avoid colliding with other players.

  • 9
    Sajid Khan wrote on 3 October 2022:

    Treat yourself to a luxury car rental Dubai. Whether it’s a proposal, wedding, anniversary, birthday, business meeting, or corporate event, showing up in a luxury car will make sure that it will be a day to remember. If you want to enjoy the ultimate supercar experience for a day with a cheap supercar rental, call Yousco luxury car rental services in Dubai today to enquire and schedule your booking.

    exotic car rental dubai

  • 10
    SPORTSTOTOTOP06 wrote on 6 October 2022:


  • 11
    PACHINKOSITE06 wrote on 6 October 2022:


  • 12
    RACESITE06 wrote on 6 October 2022:


  • 13
    arsalan wrote on 14 October 2022:

    I like this article that is very informative and many things were learned from here but I have to search for a seo company because I want to apply there and start my career that was the ultimate goal for now.

  • 14
    kati hegemun wrote on 16 October 2022:

    There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a good facial. We provide the best facial treatment in Melbourne, no matter your skin type or complications – so you can leave feeling confident and revitalized. 

    best facial melbourne

  • 15
    sdfghjkl wrote on 18 October 2022:

    This is a fantastic article. This is, in my opinion, one of the most well-written pieces ever. Your work is outstanding and inspirational. Thank you once again. hurdle

  • 16
    메이저사이트순위 wrote on 25 October 2022:

    I always find and read your articles. I think you are really trying to share your knowledge and thoughts. I understand how hard it can be to write a blog post. I want to applaud your efforts. I’d love to see your article. I will bookmark it. Thank you. 메이저사이트순위

  • 17
    사설토토 wrote on 25 October 2022:

    Bible helpers and also plagiarism checkers to be certain that the author did not find idle at any stage in the process. Language inconsistencies won’t be a thing with your newspapers as the specialists of our school paper writing support are passionate about writing and are always excited to strike you with something fresh. By: 사설토토

  • 18
    먹튀검증사이트 wrote on 25 October 2022:

    I found a good information. This is the information I’ve been looking for. I want to continue sharing this information with you. Thank you for posting good information. 먹튀검증사이트

  • 19
    Allen Kub wrote on 2 November 2022:

    I found this post very interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing your special thoughts with us. I definitely share this with my peeps.
    soybean oil suppliers

  • 20
    Rocco Miller wrote on 3 November 2022:

    Read this blog to get the satisfied answer to solve your all problems related to Forgot Roadrunner Email Password. Follow the step-by-step easy instructions to solve your queries.

  • 21
    casinosite wrote on 7 November 2022:

    When I read an article on this topic, casinosite the first thought was profound and difficult, and I wondered if others could understand.. My site has a discussion board for articles and photos similar to this topic. Could you please visit me when you have time to discuss this topic?

  • 22
    trangle wrote on 8 November 2022:

    Your content is so unique and has built up a huge following, I took the time to read your post and understand what you wanted to share. Great. wordle

  • 23
    phuongle wrote on 8 November 2022:

    Your article is good, the idea is creative and gives inspiration to the people reading it. I am very happy to know this article, I will share it with my friends. wordle unlimited

  • 24
    baccaratsite wrote on 9 November 2022:

    Your article has answered the question I was wondering about! I would like to write a thesis on this subject, but I would like you to give your opinion once 😀 baccaratsite

  • 25
    Hannah Walters wrote on 10 November 2022:

    Citizen groups have the potential to be a powerful force for change in Ulaanbaatar. They can help to raise awareness of issues, engage the community in decision-making, and hold city officials accountable. I found management assignment help services to be very helpful. I was able to get my assignment done quickly and efficiently. The customer service was also excellent. I would definitely recommend this service to others.

  • 26
    Dissertation Help wrote on 12 November 2022:

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post! If someone around you Looking for Dissertation Help, You can get the best Dissertation Help in Uk with top Phd helpers. The Student Helpline offers ou best quality assignment help in UK with top 5+ year experienced experts with 24*7 support. We always deliver plagiarism free content for you at lowest price.

  • 27
    stumble wrote on 16 November 2022:

    The forums you share are really helpful to me, I will follow your posts regularly. For more information about me, go here: stumble guys

  • 28
    바카라 wrote on 18 November 2022:

    It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I want to read even more things about it

    Feel free to visit my website; 바카라

  • 29
    gillettehippie wrote on 21 November 2022:

    Barbados may provide you with a quiet, all-inclusive holiday or a lively trip full of exciting restaurants and super mario bros exciting nightlife. New resorts and eateries may be found in abundance along the pedestrian-friendly South Coast. Located on Dover Beach, the O2 Beach Club & Spa is an all-inclusive resort with three swimming pools, six restaurants, seven bars, and the only hammam treatment area on the island at its Acqua spa.

  • 30
    baccaratsite wrote on 24 November 2022:

    First of all, thank you for your post. baccaratsite Your posts are neatly organized with the information I want, so there are plenty of resources to reference. I bookmark this site and will find your posts frequently in the future. Thanks again ^^

  • 31
    카지노사이트 wrote on 24 November 2022:

    Great blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you
    using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my web site 카지노사이트 loaded up as fast as yours lol

  • 32
    okbet 2022 wrote on 1 December 2022:

    A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post.
    okbet ph

  • 33
    Aira wrote on 1 December 2022:

    It’s really a great and useful piece of information. I am happy that you just. shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this.
    먹튀 링크 제이나인
    제이나인 보라카이 카지노
    세부 카지노 제이나인
    제이나인 에볼루션 카지노 가입
    카지노 보증 제이나인

  • 34
    Earley wrote on 2 December 2022:

    Glad you like it. We have been using this for several weeks now and it seems to be going nicely.


  • 35
    Assignment Help wrote on 2 December 2022:

    I appreciate you creating such a beautiful blog. Each line has a profound meaning.College assignments can be tricky for students to accomplish because it requires them to write several papers and deal with complicated questions. Here, we provide answers to your difficult assignment. We are the best Accounting Exam Help . Additionally, we provide a wide range of services, such as thesis writing, course work, homework help, essay help, and much more.

  • 36
    Morgan wrote on 3 December 2022:

    That’s great. I was impressed by your writing. I am happy to see such a topic. Please come to my blog and read it.


  • 37
    mybkexperience wrote on 3 December 2022:

    Very informative blog .

  • 38
    totosite wrote on 3 December 2022:

    I came to this site with the introduction of a friend around me and I was very impressed when I found your writing. I’ll come back often after bookmarking! totosite

  • 39
    slotmachinesitecom wrote on 4 December 2022:

    You there, this is really good post here. Thanks for taking the time to post such valuable information 슬롯

  • 40
    betmantotopro wrote on 4 December 2022:

    스포츠토토 Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues.

  • 41
    sportstototvcom wrote on 4 December 2022:

    Hey, I appreciate your quality stuff and I would like to read more quality stuff like this. keep sharing 토토

  • 42
    toto365pro wrote on 4 December 2022:

    I don’t even understand how I stopped up here, but I thought this submit used to be good 토토

  • 43
    Brandon wrote on 6 December 2022:

    Thanks to this article I can learn more. Expand my knowledge and abilities. Actually the article is very real.


  • 44
    Suzanne wrote on 7 December 2022:

    contribute to the development of a neighborhood that can reach out to one another in times of need. Business associations offer a setting where people can prosper and have active lives while supporting the economics and culture of the city. GM Global Connect

  • 45
    경마사이트 wrote on 8 December 2022:

    Pitted against seven rivals over 1200m on the All Weather Track.If the basics of horse racing are well-established.경마사이트

  • 46
    안전한경마사이트 wrote on 8 December 2022:

    champion posted another dashing trial victory at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning.안전한경마사이트

  • 47
    비아그라 퀵 배송 wrote on 8 December 2022:

    If you want to improve your familiarity only keep visiting this site and be updated with the latest news update posted here 비아그라 퀵 배송

  • 48
    시알리스 구입 wrote on 8 December 2022:

    Aku tidak percaya pada hantu sampai aku makanIni fenomena supernatural 시알리스 구입

  • 49
    James Garcia wrote on 8 December 2022:

    Thanks for this useful and informative article. Very much interesting and helpful. Keep sharing this kind of post. I highly appreciate your quality stuff.

  • 50
    Morgan wrote on 9 December 2022:

    Glad you like it. We have been using this for several weeks now and it seems to be going nicely.

    myACPNY Login Page

Leave a Reply