By Tuya, Gender and Land Champion, WOLTS Project Mongolia
One sunny day in my village of Bornuur, my granddaughter came to me saying that someone outside wanted to see me. A smiling lady greeted me and asked if my name is Tuya. It turned out that she was from PCC and that many people in my village of Bornuur had mentioned my name because she was looking for champions for the WOLTS project. I think people nominated me because I am a very positive person and I have previously worked with youth and young families on different topics, like how to be a good father or mother. I am known by many of our community members and sometimes was asked by the local government to attend decision-making meetings representing people from my area.
I didn’t know about WOLTS when I was asked to attend the champions’ training programme, but I liked the approach, methods, and content of the training sessions. I was also pleased to have been chosen by my community. It gave me confidence and a feeling of responsibility. It was also different from other training I have received, being much more inclusive and participatory, where everyone was able to talk and contribute.
After the training I decided that an area I wanted to talk about with my community was gender, especially gender-based violence (GBV). The conversation was not only about physical violence, but the other ways that abuse can take place, for example by controlling someone’s income or decisions.
One guy I know very well – let’s call him “Purevee” – spoke to me afterwards, saying he had not realized that he was actually abusing his wife. They live together and have three little children. He works to earn money for his family while she takes care of the kids at home. After my talk about GBV, he shared that he gave money to his wife to buy bread, meat and things for the children, but he never gave her money to buy something for herself, or freedom to decide how the money is spent. “I see now this is a kind of financial abuse”, he said. Since then Purevee has been giving his wife money but lets her decide what she and the family need.
This is just one example of the changes that I hope to help my community to make as their chosen gender and land champion. I see my role as ensuring that they all have the right and freedom to participate in decision-making processes in their own families and at the community level.
Tuya is a community leader from Bornuur Soum in Töv Province which surrounds the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. She has been a gender and land champion since 2018, having participated in the local champions training programme led by Mokoro’s WOLTS project with Mongolian NGO partners, PCC.
WOLTS Champions’ Perspectives is a blog series in which community members share how they are supporting more inclusive, participatory and gender-equitable land governance in their local communities after taking part in the WOLTS champions training programme.