U.S. Announces New Program to Support Citizen Participation and Access to Information in Mongolia

U.S. Announces New Program to Support Citizen Participation and Access to Information in Mongolia

ULAANBAATAR, September 14, 2023 – The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), launched a new partnership with The Asia Foundation to support citizen participation and public access to information in Mongolia. This $10 million (₮34 billion), five-year project will empower local actors to ensure Mongolia’s vibrant democracy grows even stronger and more resilient through empowered civic organizations that are supported by a professional, unbiased media.

To kick off this new project, USAID Mission Director Ryan Washburn met with journalists and community leaders to learn about the challenges and opportunities for bolstering information transparency, citizen participation, and the media environment. 

“I heard directly from passionate local actors who are already working to inform and engage citizens to actively participate in their country’s democracy,” said Director Washburn. “Listening, learning, and collaborating is at the core of USAID’s approach to development.” 

USAID will support non-governmental organizations – primarily outside of Ulaanbaatar – to strengthen mechanisms for citizens to engage with their local and national governments, an essential element of democracy. USAID will also support initiatives that increase journalists’ and media organizations’ skills to conduct quality, wide-ranging, publicly accessible reporting and combat misinformation.

“Through the new program we’re launching today, USAID and The Asia Foundation will work hand-in-hand with local media and civil society organizations to support their ongoing efforts to strengthen informed citizen participation in Mongolia’s vibrant democracy,” said Mark Koenig, The Asia Foundation’s Mongolia Country Representative.

This project builds on years of USAID support for civic engagement and democratic governance. Most recently, USAID programs have amplified the voices of youth, women, and other marginalized groups in electoral and political processes; and supported Mongolian youth democracy advocates to lead positive change in their communities.

Mission Director Washburn also visited a ger district in Ulaanbaatar to discuss USAID energy programs, and traveled to Khentii to meet with herder households to discuss their experiences during the dzud. In Chinggis, Washburn met with a small business owner whom USAID supported to obtain a loan he needed to expand his operations, ultimately increasing sales revenue by 30 percent and creating three new jobs for his community. Washburn also met with herders in Khentii to listen to them describe the challenges they faced during the recent dzud, and discuss how USAID support benefited their businesses and families.

USAID has partnered with Mongolia for over 30 years, beginning with support for emergency repairs to Power Plant #3, which kept Ulaanbaatar’s heat and power systems functioning during the period of democratic and market reforms. USAID has also worked with Mongolia to advance democracy, strengthen community resilience against natural disasters, and increase sustainable, inclusive economic growth.  To date, the U.S. government, through USAID, has invested more than $130 million (₮450 billion) to help Mongolia achieve its development goals. 

ABOUT USAID:  USAID leads international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help nations progress beyond assistance.  In Mongolia, USAID supports transparent and accountable governance and a more market-led, diversified economy. For more information about USAID and its programs, please visit https://www.usaid.gov/Mongolia, and follow us on Facebook and  Twitter.