Mongolia sits atop a vast amount of untapped natural resources. With China and Russia as its two powerful neighbours, Mongolia is positioned to become an exporting powerhouse. The sparsely populated nation is already growing fast, with its GDP expected to double by 2015.
The percentage of people living below the poverty line in Mongolia is 36.1%. In surrounding countries, this figure ranges from 8 – 16%. Poverty rates are dropping in urban centres, but in rural areas the country is seeing a three per cent increase, reaching 46.6 per cent.
While there are tens of thousands of active creditors in Mongolia, they operate mostly in urban areas and target the wealthy. There is great demand for credit from thousands of urban and rural poor who are denied access to finance. This is where we step in.
We are a microfinance institution with bold efforts and large regional impact. We search for innovative ways to reach more poor people with our financial services. Some of our initiatives and programmes include:
- The development of an ‘innovation team’, who will focus on defining, testing and implementing changes to improve financial and social bottom lines. Their work translates to greater efficiencies and smaller average loan sizes.
- The opening of additional rural branches, primarily located in development areas where World Vision works.
“Things have been very difficult since my husband passed away, but with hard work and help we make it through” says Nyamkhuu, a middle aged woman in the Terelj National Park in Mongolia. Her and her husband have been herding cattle and yaks for many years to provide for their family. But after her husband passed away in 2011, she has had to carry a heavy load. Nyamkhuu has three children, the youngest Sarnai (pictured), is only 18 months old. She provides for them by continuing her cattle herding and selling dairy products such as Aaruul, a dried milk curd that is a food staple to many Mongolians. Nyamkhuu has been a client of VisionFund Mongolia for years but since her husband passed she has appreciated the additional resources that they provide even more. Nyamkhuu’s mom Yura (pictured) has been a huge help during this tough time. She helps bake the Aaruul, milk the cattle and take care of Sarnai. With her mom’s help, loans from VisionFund Mongolia and most importantly hard work and perseverance, Nyamkhuu has been able to send her children to school and provide money for her entire family.
Manny Palis joined Vision Fund Mongolia September 1, 2012 after extensive experience with the United Nations and leading microfinance institutions, which includes Opportunity International, Women's World Banking, World Relief and HOPE International. He previously served with microfinance institutions in the Republic of Congo, Kosovo, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. “I want to lead Vision Fund Mongolia with a transformational leadership style, where staff lives can be changed from the inside out,” he says. Manny’s education includes an M.A. in agrarian studies, extensive development finance coursework at Harvard University, and an advanced leadership course at the Haggai Institute in Hawaii.