Since January 2017, Mongolian Women’s Fund (MWF) has started a three-year project, “Promoting an enabling environment for young children to be free from violence” to be implemented at a total of 11 kindergartens in Ulaanbaatar city, Arkhangai, Bayankhongor and Dornod provinces with the funding of Ananda, international organization.
The first stage of the project focused on collecting news and facts related to child abuse, analyzing legal and educational documents, conducting a current situational analysis; towards this goal, MWF collaborated with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports, Metropolitan Education Department, Mongolian State University of Education – Pre-School Education Sector, Family, Youth and Child Development Agency, and NGOs such as Beautiful Hearts Campaign, Child Protection Network, and Ard Golomt.
The survey engaged over 450 children of 4-6 ages, 150 teachers, and assistant teachers and about 150 parents from 11 kindergartens of Ulaanbaatar city and rural areas, as well as 60 individuals representing the province/district/soum authorities, social workers, soum/family doctors, police and non-governmental organizations.
To briefly mention some survey results, kindergarten teachers, assistant teachers, and parents do not have enough knowledge and information and lack training and seminars, even though they value the importance of child abuse issues. Although parents are concerned about child abuse, they answered that they never discussed it with their children. Further, the teachers and parents who participated in the survey not only displayed a misunderstanding about child abuse that it is “physical” and “only children are affected,” but also confused the corporal punishment with a traditional way of bringing up children. In addition, when children talk about any form of violence or abuse, parents tend to blame them for “gossiping”, causing children to become victims and leading to failure to further report about violence.
On the other hand, the following results were revealed thanks to the survey: local staff and professionals fighting against child abuse are replaced every 4 years due to the affiliation of their political party; there is a lack of professional personnel; they do not work in a joint team; coordination is weak; methodology to work with young children is weak; as they do not understand the importance of the issues well, they do not reflect them in the action plan.
Based on the above-mentioned study, the research team made recommendations for the kindergarten teachers and staff, as well as parents to prevent child abuse; to conduct regular training and seminars in a comprehensive manner to provide knowledge and skills; to develop training methodologies suitable for the age characteristics of young children; and to improve the capabilities of joint teams in rural areas, as well as professionals and NGO staff working on child protection.
The project implementation team is planning to publish and distribute a detailed report of the baseline study in August.