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UN Volunteers in Mongolia helping Turn Garbage To Gold

UN Volunteers in Mongolia helping Turn Garbage To Gold
A proper waste management and recycling system in Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital of Mongolia, is absent. Moreover, poverty and unemployment are rising at the city outskirts known as the Ger District. But something can be done.

The Turning Garbage to Gold (TG2G) project, introduced by UNDP Mongolia as a part of its innovation action, addressed both environmental degradation due to weak solid waste management and urban poverty of the Ger District residents.

Miroslav Hodecek, a Czech UN Youth Volunteer who serves in Mongolia, became a part of the TG2G project.

“We identified the most vulnerable groups at the outskirts of UB, helped them to organize themselves in groups, and to communicate with each other. Then we started to work on the project together,” Miroslav describes.

Photo Courtesy of UNDP Mongolia.
The UNDP project was implemented by “Technoj”, a local NGO for business incubation, with which Miroslav worked on a day-to-day basis to provide implementation support. Besides Miroslav, other 20 local student volunteers supported the project and demonstrated how young people can help improve the lives of vulnerable local communities.

The TG2G project created opportunity for over 100 migrant low income households at the city outskirts to stand on their own feet and to start their own small, but sustainable businesses. People learned how to set up their own system for recyclable waste collection in their neighborhood. They were provided with training opportunities to produce recycled goods, such as brooms and benches from plastic bottles, and to market those products. Despite the modest funding, TG2G was highly successful.

Photo Courtesy of Miroslav Hodecek, UNDP Mongolia.
The number of beneficiaries, recycled products and blueprints, and small businesses, as well as income generation opportunities gained through partnerships with national private companies and businesses has grown far beyond initial expectations.

“It was an honor to work with UNDP Mongolia on the TG2G project, on the ground, side by side with people who directly benefited from the project. The impact is real and measurable. You can meet the people whose lives are better, thanks to the UN support,” Miroslav concludes.

Photo Courtesy of Miroslav Hodecek, UNDP Mongolia.


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