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Uncovering adolescent challenges to address: A Situational Analysis of Children in Mongolia

The Situational Analysis aims to identify issues to be tackled to improve child and adolescent wellbeingThe Situational Analysis aims to identify issues to be tackled to improve child and adolescent wellbeing

Adolescence is a crucial developmental period in the life of a person, which marks the transition from childhood towards adulthood. Investing in adolescents is therefore vital to creating a healthy and happy demographic group that is able to actively participate in their families and societies, and also maximise gains from national development processes.

Mongolia has been in a state of rapid and unpredictable transition since the 1990s, owing to political, socio-economic and environmental changes. In this context, adolescents face numerous risks arising out of urbanisation, digitalisation, poverty and unemployment, family separation and alcoholism. Monetary poverty is one of the main obstacles to children and adolescents in reaching their full potential. UNICEF Mongolia’s analysis of child poverty profiles confirms that children were significantly overrepresented in income poverty. While the national poverty rate was at 29 per cent according to the Socio-economic Household Indicator Survey 2016, this rate was considerably higher among children, at 38.5 per cent.

To identify and address the complex risks that children and adolescents face, UNICEF Mongolia asked Development Pathways to conduct a Situational Analysis of Children, with a focus on adolescents. The main objective of the study was to better understand what gaps existed in national capacities to sustain holistic services from early childhood to adolescence and adulthood in Mongolia.

It also sought to improve national capacity in gender-sensitive and human rights-responsive programming; win support for the cause of adolescents from decision-makers at all levels, develop and leverage resources and partnerships for them, including with the private sector; and to foster innovation for adolescent-focused programming.

Anasuya Sengupta, a Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways, conducted focus group discussions and key informant interviews in Mongolia alongside national researchers. Starting in Ulaanbaatar, the team travelled throughout various aimags (provinces) and soums (districts) conducting qualitative research. The field research concluded in early April 2019.

The Situational Analysis of Children culminated in a report for UNICEF Mongolia. This was set to inform a mid-term review of UNICEF Mongolia’s country programme due to take place in September 2019 to support national capacity development and policy-making processes. It seeks to influence priorities across UN agencies in Mongolia, as expressed by the UN Development Assistance Framework for the nation.