Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative
Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig (SSKh) Cooperative (Blessing of Yak Cooperative) is a cooperative consisting of nomadic herders from the Khatgal Soum/village area, Khovsgol province in Mongolia. The herders are mostly living of barter economy on products from their livestock. This makes the herders very vulnerable, as they don´t have an economic buffer, to handle emergencies like diseases, accidents or extreme climate conditions. If their livestock dies or they must sell it in order to survive, their only opportunity is to migrate to the capital Ulaanbaatar where unemployment and the slum awaits.
KDP wants to make the herders capable of selling the surplus products of their livestock by providing counselling, adequate education and production equipment and help SSKh organize and develop their cooperative.
SSKh goal is to produce environmentally friendly products using friendly yak endowment for increasing members’ income, for making a world known brand and for development of open and exemplary cooperative with democratic governance.
Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative/Сарлагийн Сайхан Хйшйг Хоршоо
Information board of directors
Утасны дугаар/Phone number: +976 9818 5692, +976 8994 5158
E- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Area 4 Xатгал-Сагсага/Khatgal-Sagsaga
Утасны дугаар/Phone number: 976-93085980
Area 5 Hутцгэн Tолгой/Nutsgen Tolgoi
Нэр/Name: Далай Мягмар/Dalaimyagmar
Утасны дугаар/Phone number: 976-93048342
Area 6 Алаг Царийн гол/Alag Tsariin gol
Утасны дугаар/Phone number: 976-98381890
Khatgal Office/Specialist of Agriculture, animals and food
Нэр/Name: Янжмаа Баточйр/Yanjmaa Batochir
Утасны дугаар/Phone number: 976-93041474
Нэр/Name: Цэнддаваа Насанжаргал/Tsenddavaa Nasanjargal
Утасны дугаар/Phone number: 976-9906 1921
Report of Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative activities summer 2016 in both English and Mongolian.
Thanks to Nurjan Khavdselem for her big help producing and translating the report
About Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative
Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative was founded on the initiative of Khovsgol Dairy Project (KDP) in July 2015.
In July 2015 KDP held several meetings in Khatgal village informing the community about Khovsgol Dairy Project and the aim of establishing a dairy facility owned and run by a local cooperative.
69 herders from the area around Khatgal village signed up as interested to join the cooperative.
On a meeting 14th July 2015 the participants chose 6 herders as leaders of a steering group, who would be in charge of 6 different areas around the southern tip of lake Khovsgol.
First steering group meeting 6st August 2015
Mr. G. Tsoggerel, director of Zamtiin Negdel Khorshoo cooperative, was attending as an adviser in establishing cooperatives. Mr. G. Tsoggerel and Zamtiin Negdel Khorshoo is part of the Global Communities EMIRGE program, promoting cooperative development. He was very helpful and inspiring.
Global Communities have helped more than 800 Mongolian farmers establish themselves in cooperatives.
This is how they work.
The success of the cooperative model, in bringing communities out of poverty, is dependent upon adhering to the seven core principles of cooperative development namely:
Voluntary and open membership
Democratic member control
Member economic participation
Autonomy and independence
Education, training and information
Cooperation among cooperatives
Concern for community
Global Community Conference October 2015
The Conference was held 29 – 30th of October in “Dugan Khad” tourist camp, near Bayan Chandmani Soum/Town 130 km from UB.
From Khatgal “Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig” (Blessed by Yak cooperative), B.Badamkhand, B.Dalaimyagmar and N.Tsenddavaa attended the conference.
The conference was attended by 108 participants from 26 cooperatives, predominantly from the provinces of Ulaanbaatar, Töv and Selenge. The participating cooperatives were also from different industries or trades such as agriculture, dairy production, wool/felt or handicrafts.
The conference included lectures on a multitude of topics such as: marketing, selling, development, success, communication and how to best share knowledge among the cooperatives.
The different cooperatives also had a chance to share their stories and experiences with the other members. Including case studies about: how to package, what is the best way to ensure milk quality, marketing strategies and online accounting systems.
The members of “Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig”, learned a lot from the lectures and it was very insightful to hear about the experience of others cooperatives. During the evenings there was a lot of networking and knowledge sharing both in groups and one to one.
Director G. Tsoggerel, of ”Zamtiin Negdel Khorshoo”, who has advised during the establishment of “Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig” introduced the members to many other cooperatives and their directors among others: “Tansag Tsagaan Idee Khorshoo, “Saikhan Suunii Uildver”, “Sod Ach Khorshoo” Director Tungalag, “Suun Dalai Khorshoo” Director Batjargal and Dairy Technolgist B.Maygmarsuren.
Global Community training workshop of SSKh February 2016
Global Communities sent 5 cooperative leaders and members of the organization to Khatgal 26 February – 1 March 2016 to conduct a training for the Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig members on the cooperative basic concept and principles.
Training on cooperative development and capacity building for members of Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig and Delger Ikh uul cooperatives attended the training and learned about cooperative management, organization, by-laws, procedures, rights and duties of cooperative members, members’ participation, job description of cooperative employees, issues in running a joint business, common problems and ways to eliminate them, and good practices of the program’s cooperative.
Programme for training
Pictures from day one, 26 February
Pictures from day two, 27 February
In the evening Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig cooperative was working on their By-Laws
Pictures from day three, 28 February
Pictures from day four, 29 February
Pictures from day five, 1 March
Three day training 16-18 June of Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig cooperative
Global Communities was facilitating the training.
Summary of the training;
1. Startup business, basic knowledge of business, creation of business modules
2. Cooperative governance consultancy; increasing cooperation among members, team work, increasing better relationship among members and management team
3. Building positive attitude and good communication among cooperative members
Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig consulting with Global Communities 9th July 2016
Cooperative members were consulted by Tuul Tuvshinbayar, the Program Manager of the Global Communities project funded by USAID agency and gained plenty of information for cooperative development commitment.
Present was also Chalotte Vad from Khovsgol Dairy Project/Architects without Borders, Peter Ulrich and Karl Thuesen Simonsen from Dairy without Borders.
Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig cooperative and dairy products promotion at Naadam Festival in Khatgal soum 11-12th July 2016
The Naadam festival is the biggest national festival in Mongolia celebrating the country’s independence and it is traditionally called as “Eriin gurvan naadam” /the three games of men/. With the boost of tourism industry, the festival is celebrated in 3 major tourist destinations including Ulaanbaatar /central part/, Khatgal in Khuvsgul aimag /north/ and Dalanzadgad town in Umnu-Gobi aimag /south/.
Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig erected its pavilion in the most crowded area of the event and actively promoted the cooperative activities both to local and foreign travellers. 4 members represented their cooperative introducing its overall objective, core activities and trading their dairy products on 11-12 July 2016. Peter Ulrich and Karl Thuesen Simonsen from Dairy without Borders in Denmark were present along with Chalotte Vad from Architects without Borders, to witness the efforts and reality of the cooperative members’ commitment.
Even though it has been over a year to develop the capacity building of the cooperative, it was a bit challenging for the members to demonstrate their entrepreneurship. It is their first independent event to be involved with their products individually produced, thus certain financial management skills lacked on what resources to consider, the volume of the product for sale or the appropriate packing solutions and so on. However, such local initiative has been able to deliver the message that such collective actions are in place in Khatgal area to promote the sustainable livelihood of the local herders community.
The products included dried curds, urum /double cream/, khailmag /yellow butter made with skimmed double cream mixed with butter/, fresh cheese /with or without wild onion/ and traditional vodka /yoghurt condensate.
The weather condition was much favorable for two days and the tasting was appreciable for the public, in particular the fresh cheese mixed with the wild onion.
Cooperative members were able to make the earning of 100000MNT for two days. It was their first actual experience, that given the livestock supplies, labor and resources available, they can make certain earning to improve their livelihood.
Yak Festival in Alag-Erdene soum 20th July 2016
It is prevalent in rural areas to hold events in connection with local characteristics. Mongolia is considered to have the second highest yak population in the world. Since yak is highly estimated animal for herding in Khuvsgul aimag, the local authorities made the decision to annually organize a Yak festival as one of the tourist and local attraction. Moreover, the yak festival promotes the local community on introduction of yaks of Mongolian breed, maintenance of traditions and local values to herd yaks, potential livelihood sources from their commodities /milk, meat, skin and wool/ and support the herders of tourist areas.
The Yak festival was held on 20 July 2016 at the bank of Eg river in Alag-Erdene soum.
This time 10 cooperative members attended the event with much organization. Initially, several meetings were held to discuss about the products for sale, packaging and other logistics issues. Each cooperative member demonstrated their responsible manner of participation. It is delighted to report that the athlete bull of the cooperative took part the 1st place in Yak race for the second time and board member Dalaimyagmar was awarded as the herder women who demonstrated an excellent commitment to maintain traditions, cultural values and heritage for nomadic dairy production.
Additionally, it is worth noting that the packing design improved much.
The products were more diversified including dairy jellies, rhubarb jam, yellow butter and dried curd chips of different shapes in addition to usual products.
In total 138.000MNT were earned from the sale.
Tasting event at Naran Zangilaa tourist camp 30th July 2016
It is prevalent for tourist camps to partner with private and public sector organizations to host their events. The Naran Zangilaa tourist camp hosted the national gathering of tax inspectors of General Taxation Authority of Mongolia on 30 July 2016. Approximately 250 tax inspectors were present at the camp and the cooperative held a dairy tasting event for them to promote the local initiative.
It was the first ever experience for the Cooperative to hold such activity under an agreement. This time cooperative members made some effort to supply some milk and dairy products to the camp and they witnessed some failures, as some milk supplies were spoilt due to the inappropriate milk tanks individually provided. It was a big lesson to learn that they have to comply with hygiene requirements and that the cooperative should have certain procurements on standard tanks and utensils for milk and dairy product delivery. The event were highly valued by the tax inspectors as it is rare to have such promotional events held by local herders themselves.
From the tasting event, the cooperative was able to earn in total 138.000MNT.
Tasting and dairy production demonstration at Toilogt tourist camp 1st August 2016
Toilogt camp is operated by Khuvsgul Travel Company that is considered as the pioneer in tourism industry in Mongolia. It has over 15 years of history in tourist camp services and has gained much popularity in Khuvsgul aimag. Based on the previous experience at Naran Zangilaa camp and other events, the cooperative members considered the advantage of extending their dairy tasting and sales for tourist camps. The initiative was made by Chalotte Vad and a agreement was made in discussion with the camp owner Chimgee.
On the dairy tasting and sales event, 14 cooperative members were present, one of the biggest event for the cooperative in terms of significance and staff composition. One thing to note is that logistics issues would always be an obstacle for the cooperative members since they are not located at the same place. On average, they are required to travel for over 50 km one way on a bumpy road. In this regard, appreciation should be given to the cooperative member who made huge effort to transport the “athlete yak” to demonstrate for the audience.
The cooperative members demonstrated the traditional vodka/alcohol making, traditional milk tea making and khailmag /yellow butter made with skimmed double cream mixed and fried with flour/ making. Such demonstration was highly applauded by both the locals and foreigners as it was much educational and entertaining to witness the authentic taste provided with such simple technique. The tasting event with demonstrations and sales provided plenty of experience and lessons for the cooperative members to learn from each other, realizing values of the team building and working together, as well as the importance of maintaining and displaying the traditional dairy production, and obviously the important aspect of generating a possibility of income. The hygiene requirements were the priority for everyone.
In total, 279.000MNT were earned from the sales.
Some optional vegetarian meals were cooked on-site inspiring the camp staff to diversify their menu for vegetarian travellers.
Witnessing the event in person, the camp manager Chimgee has valued the importance and agreed to run such promotional and cultural event as part of the camp activities from next year. It will be within the duty and initiative of the cooperative to build continued partnership under an agreement.
Upon the event, cooperative members held a meetings with Chalotte Vad to discuss their successes and other challenges they have experienced throughout the events. They have all acknowledged that trustworthy relationships are being established and it is essential to maintain their teamwork for such collective activities.
Another important part of the event was to fundraise for a dairy education of two selected local girls. Both girls, Enkhtuya.K and Nyamdelger.J were present at the event and shared their stories to the audience. Through the cooperative activities and personal stories, the audience gained more information on how important it is to support the cooperative and the dairy facility project with a educational program. Some tourists and racers of Sunrise to sunset ultramarathon annually held by EcoLeap Foundation kindly donated their contribution.
The fundraising has been successful in raising 50 percent of the target sum of 5000 USD, covering the first year educational expenses. Thus, at present, both girls have successfully been enrolled at the Food Engineering School of University of Science and Technology in Ulaanbaatar and they will major as dairy technicians. The dairy education for bachelor’s degree lasts 4 to 4.5 years and Khovsgol dairy Project will continue the fundraising to make it possible for the girls to complete their studies and return to Khatgal to work at the future dairy facility.
Promotion event for local community of Khatgal soum 3rd October 2016
For the purposes of promoting the Cooperative activities, the values behind the collective efforts and initiatives, the promotion event was held on 3 October 2016 at the Cultural Centre of Khatgal soum.
Approximately 150 local residents were involved in the event, which was also combined with a performance by Gerelchuluun, who is a singer from Ulaanbaatar city and very popular in rural areas.
The Board member Khukhii made the opening speech and presented the key activities of the Cooperative. It should be noted that herders have had their enthusiasm and interest to join the cooperative; however, some hesitation was felt due to preceding projects and initiatives majorly launched and implemented by the local authorities, from which local herders may not have benefitted much. In addition, some herders commented that there is not adequate access to information with regards to the cooperative. Therefore, it is required to intensify our promotional activities through the dissemination of information, demonstration of real practice and role modelling. Moreover, cooperative leaflets/brochures should be printed in adequate copies and extensively distributed in particular to those herders in remote areas and the Facebook page is required to actively promote on social media.
“Green Autumn Days” in Murun town, province capital of Khovsgol, 2-3 October 2016
On 2-3 October 2016, the “Green Autumn days” fair trade was held in Murun town, capital of Khuvsgul aimag/province. The annual event often enables local farmers and business to promote their business and products, build partnership and seek funding through their product development for sale. Dalaimyagmar, one of our most active member took part in this event to promote the cooperative and sold her individually developed products. Due to the hay preparation season, cooperative members are highly overwhelmed in this period, therefore she was the only cooperative member present.
Global Communities annual meeting in Dugan Had, Bornuur soum, Tov province 27-28th October 2016
Khovsgol Dairy Project are sponsoring and supporting the capacity building of Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative in Khatgal, therefore we are paying for transportation and accommodation costs for 4 members from Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative to join the annual meeting of Global Communities in Dugan Had.
33 cooperatives participated in the annual meeting. From SSKh Chairwoman Anhmandakh, boardmembers Khukhii and Dalaimyagmar, members Baigalimaa, Tsenddavaa and Maya Dorjnamjin participated.
Here are the topics of the workshops and lectures:
Main challenges and problematic matters of cooperatives
- Laws and legislation
- Developing a business
- Membership and responsibility
Here is the agenda of Global Communities cooperatives annual knowledge share workshop in Mongolian, find the English version below.
SSKh have received a curd drier donated by KDP. The funds was generated by kind donates from a crowd funding campaign.
The dried curd produced on the pictures are for the new year celebration called Tsagaan Sar (White moon) in Mongolian. The White Moon festival is celebrated on the first through third days of the first lunar month. Tsagaan Sar is one of the most important Mongolian holidays.
White Moon description from Wikipedia
In Mongolia around the New Year, families burn candles at the altar symbolizing Buddhist enlightenment. Also people greet each other with holiday-specific greetings such as Амар байна уу? (Amar baina uu?), meaning “Are you living peacefully?” Mongols also visit friends and family on this day and exchange gifts. A typical Mongol family will meet in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family.
Many people will be dressed in full garment of national Mongol costumes. When greeting their elders during the White Moon festival, Mongols perform the zolgokh greeting, grasping them by their elbows to show support for them. The eldest receives greetings from each member of the family. During the greeting ceremony, family members hold long, typically blue, silk cloths called a khadag. After the ceremony, the extended family eats sheep’s tail, mutton, rice with curds, dairy products, and buuz (Mongolian dumplings). It is also typical to drink airag (fermented mares milk) and exchange gifts. Dairy products plays a essential role in the White Moon celebrations as they are “White food” and considered sacred and pure.