When we were here back in August to check things out and see if the husband’s job would work out, I met with one of the women’s NGO leaders to learn about what the NGOs are doing here and what opportunities there might be for me. I was very excited by the extent to which they are working on women’s political participation and leadership, an interesting focus on women in the public sphere. Which makes sense for a country that is still transitioning to democracy.
After we arrived here For Real, I contacted the woman I’d met earlier, and we were both really interested in my working for them. It’s a small NGO that focuses on advocacy and training, as well as maintaining a network of feminist and gender-oriented NGOs in Mongolia. My role is to help with organizational development, particularly with office systems and increasing the capacity of the younger staff. In a small office like this (similar to my work in Malaysia), I get to do a lot of hands-on mentoring, which is fun for me and also seems to work well in building people’s skills. I’ll write more about this as I gain experience, but so far the issues are still very much about expanding political participation, for women generally, but also young women, rural women and the LGBT community, who partner on various projects.
Not only am I very glad to be contributing in some way and learning more about the country, but I’m also happy to have some structure to my time as Winter approaches. I laugh at myself as I notice how much my apprehension about the intense cold affects what I’m doing now (grocery shopping to fill our freezer with soup!), but I am also serious about making myself leave the house regularly. Can’t turn into “The Shining,” right?