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The Mongolian women's foundation MONES has been supporting empowerment of women in Mongolia ever since it was set up in July 2000. To date MONES is the only local institution making money available for women's rights. The province of Zavkhan is one of its "pilot provinces". Here MONES supports women's organisations and their cooperation specifically in order to sustainably improve the life situations of women. In addition to domestic violence (affecting one in three women), the under-representation of women in politics is a core problem in Zavkhan Aimag. Issues such as health care, education and other social services that strongly affect the life of women are way down at the bottom of the political agenda. Women have no voice in deciding on their concerns.
In 2007 a training session on political participation was held, attended by 55 heads of women's organisations. This original training event soon showed great impact and far-reaching success stories.
23 of the participants returned to their communities and passed on what they had learned about the importance of women in political decision-making processes to 400 further women. The women's groups formed a network and jointly drafted recommendations for local government on promotion of women and budget planning based on gender equity. The network set itself goals and formulated strategies for the coming three years. With a fund-raising campaign it was also able to collect money for a car of its own that facilitates its work with women affected by domestic violence.
Elections for local parliaments were held in October 2008. Using a media campaign, the women in the network created awareness among the population about the significance of women in politics. They specifically supported women standing for election, for instance by training them in the use of rhetoric. The network thus succeeded in making Zavkhan the province with the largest share of female representation in parliament!
The network helped to increase the proportion of female representatives in local parliaments by 5 % to altogether 24.8 %. The result shows that women’s support for female candidates was successful.
The women of MONES are building on this with a further project that filia is supporting, to be realised in 2009.
In the project being funded, the selected women are trained in political work and in Gender Budgeting (use of public money based on gender aspects). Together with the local women's groups, a policy strategy paper is being drawn up in which the women describe their actual situation and formulate requirements and appropriate proposals. An exchange on Budget Monitoring with women from the pilot province Uvurhangai is planned too. Public budget spending is monitored and analysed on the basis of gender equity aspects. This regular surveillance has a particularly sustainable effect as it can be demonstrated here whether state money has been used to improve everyday life and development for women, and in particular how this is done.