This Horizons issue again updates you on the variety of projects and placements which are available in Mongolia. In the course of the last 5 years that I have been the Projects and Placements Director, there has been a gradual move in JCS from implementing JCS projects to providing personnel for JCS partner agencies. For outsiders this move has hardly been noticeable because many of our projects have now become independent and are being run as Mongolian NGO’s by Mongolians. However, we continue to provide them with professional volunteer advisors, so you still hear about many of their activities. Many of these advisors encourage their donors to support the JCS partner that they are involved with, creating long-term sustainability.
Just this past year we have seen the ArtisAltai Project become the ArtisAltai Co-operative. We continue to help them build their finance and sales team, as well as link them with like-minded organizations that we know, to help them grow and serve their community. The Hellbergs recently left Mongolia to resettle in Sweden; one of their workers is attempting to set up a business with other former workers to keep the vision and work of Eternal Springs Café alive as a local business and youth outreach.
Besides providing professional advisors to our partners, we also offer opportunities for people to come, observe and work with our partners and learn what they are doing. These people may come as “tourists” to observe the partners’ activities, as interns in order to learn from our partner organizations, or as graduates seeking practical experience.
As you have read, Mongolians are moving from doing the project work to leading the project work. We also hope that Mongolian NGO leaders will start exporting their knowledge and experience; in some cases this is already happening. Some examples are: dryland farming and environmental care.
JCS not only regards this as the practical outcome of our vision to see Mongolians building and restoring families, churches and communities; JCS also finds that the projects which have the longest-term impact are the ones in which Mongolians have caught the project vision and are making it their own.
We are excited to see this transition even in our own JCS office as we hope to have Mongolians join our Leadership Team. This will mean changes, but any living organism must change/grow or die. We pray that these changes will bring a stronger support to JCS’ers, to our partners and projects in this country.