During my time in Mongolia, I had the pleasure of meeting Doug Lally and Devin Byrne from The Nomadic Guardians Foundation. The Foundation’s purpose is to protect and restore the Bankhar, an ancient dog breed indigenous to Mongolia.
A cousin of the Tibetan Mastiff, the Bankhar has been used for centuries as a livestock guardian by Mongolia’s nomadic herders. However, during the country’s Soviet occupation, the Bankhar population dropped significantly and in many regions of the country the Bankhar lost its place in the nomads’ culture.
Over the past weekend, I visited Darkhan, the second largest city in Mongolia. Darkhan is situated in northern Mongolia, about 230 kilometres north of Ulaanbaatar and less than 130 kilometres south of the Russian border. Despite being Mongolia’s second-largest city, Darkhan’s population of 76,000 is dwarfed by Ulaanbaatar’s 1,372,000, highlighting how Mongolia’s urbanisation has been concentrated in the fast-growing capital.
I visited Darkhan as part of my work with Kiva.org, the crowdfunding microfinance non-profit. Kiva partners with two local microfinance organisations—XacBank and Credit Mongol. Part of my job is to undertake an audit of a random sample of Borrowers each organisation has funded through Kiva, to ensure the partnership is operating within agreed parameters. Continue reading Mongolia: Darkhan