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IV. Conclusions and recommendations of the study team

1. Characteristics of poverty

Based on the findings above the study team identified the following differentiation and characteristics of community groups in terms of poverty.

Group 1: Very poor
(a) Very poor with hardly any potentials

often living in sum centres and only able to survive when fed by relatives, live below self-sufficiency, very few or none animals, without herding management skills or other skills for alternative income strategies, frequently drinkers, strong dependency thinking, categorized by locals as hopeless and lazy (5-10%).

(b) Very poor with limited potentials

living in rural areas or in sum centres, below self sufficiency, very few or no animals, large family size, no or only very weak kinship relations within the region, with insufficient herding management skills and without education or skills to follow alternative income strategies, but with motivation and energy to start new life (5-10%).

(c) Very poor with good potentials

living mainly in sum centres, rarely in rural area, without or with only weak kinship relations, immigrants who lost their employment elsewhere, live far below self sufficiency, very few or none animals, without good herding management skills but equipped with other skills for alternative income strategies, however without starting capital, highly motivated upon arrival, increasing frustration (3-5%).

The difference between the three above Group 1 types lies rather in education and motivation than in current wealth.
Group 2: highly vulnerable or poor
living at the edge of self sufficiency, mainly in pastoral areas, minimum requirements in terms of animals necessary to survive physically (slightly below 20 bod) dependant on gathering and hunting activities for subsistence, lack of cash to buy flour and other basic things thus forcing them to exchange live animals, and by doing so reducing their production basis. Sufficient herding skills, however no or only weak kinship relations; big families or young/old but fairly independent operating households. Smallest economic crises can send them beyond self sufficiency. Very important group for restocking. (10-20%)
Group 3: vulnerable
living in pastoral areas or sum centres, minimum in terms of animals or income necessary to have a secure living, dependant on gathering and hunting to have additional cash income. Sufficient skills, however weak kinship relations; large families; limited skills for alternative income generation. Target group for restocking. (15-25%)
Group 4: OK (30-40%)
embedded in sound khot ail structure with sufficient labour force, potentials for income diversification, cash money available and sufficient animals number within Khot ail.
Group 5: Rich (5%)
The percentage figures (given in brackets) are very rough and vague estimates, which lack any statistical analyses. They intend to give an idea of the group sizes in relation to the total population.
Impoverishment in Chulut has steadily increased since 1991. There was only one case reported within two bags where a poor household was able to improve, due to hard working. Impoverishment appears to people as a one way road.
2. Poverty characteristics and targeting of poor households
- Poverty lists drawn up annually by bag governors provide a sound basis for identification of the poor. The criteria used in Chuluut sum were found to be comprehensive; monetary values were assigned to a wide range of activities, adequately reflecting the various income sources of herding households. In one bag where the team undertook systematic wealth ranking exercises the correlation between the poverty list and informants’ identification of the poor was highly accurate.

However, the official poverty statistics on Bag level on poor households can also be misleading. In one of the two bags investigated 2 families were interviewed who did not perceive themselves as poor, but were registered as such. Taking into account the limited number of interviews the team was able to conduct this result is striking. The two above mentioned households did not, in fact, have many animals - the major criteria for the official poverty list - but they were well embedded in their kinship based khot ails, sharing labour force and production with them.

Within kinship groups khot ails people tend to split up into smaller units and create new households, for the purpose of statistical investigations. This enables them to save taxes, as each independent household has two bod of animals tax-free. According to herders information, this strategy peaked in the period before registration for the poverty programme. This, of course, has implications for poverty registration, as many new households with small animal numbers were created, which in real terms still co-operate as production units.

A possible option to improve the quality and reliability of the official poverty lists - as seen by the study team - lies in the function the bag meeting could play. If possible to strengthen its role and attendance by herders, this institution might have the task to approve the official poverty lists by additionally considering criteria such as isolation, self sufficiency of household (in terms of support through relatives within khot ail) etc. It is recommended to further investigate this issue and the role which this institution could really play.

- Co-operation among non-relative based Khot ails seems to be much weaker than within the latter. Therefore households in non-relative based khot ails are expected to become increasingly vulnerable to poverty.

- During the transition period a strong tendency towards the establishment of kinship based khot ails could be observed. The vast majority of khot ails visited in Chulut sum - on a random basis - were kinship groups. This formation process, however, seems not yet to be completed. The study team expects that within the next few years this new type of kinship based Units (Khot ails) will be more and more consolidated. Kinship based khot ails were found to be effective and strong co-operation units, sharing labour and resources, and supporting poorer members.

- No significant correlation was found between single headed households and poverty. The availability of labour force seemed also not to be a major factor influencing poverty, as long as households are able to take advantage of joint labour within the khot ail.

- The traditional live cycle appeared to be an important criteria along which poor households can be identified. Young families and households consisting of old persons are often more poor as others are. The criteria is most significant in case that the young or old families are not embedded in kinship based khot ails.

- Poor herders prefer staying in the herding community/rural areas to moving to the sum centres. They argue that the support of other herding households - in the first instance “own” khot ail, but also through the neg neggoliinhan “the people of the same valley” offer a more reliable and better support than that they could expected from sum centres. Strategies have to be found to identify, reach and support poor herders in the rural areas. The institutional aspect through which restocking might be implemented therefore of eminent importance.

The identification of the “poor” and the planning of poverty alleviation measures appeared to be much more complex as initially thought. A one dimensional investigation/planning strategy based on economic terms (income) only seems not sufficient to provide a solid basis for external interventions such as restocking. The social function, dimension, and potential of the newly developing kinship institutions in terms of insurance/risk management among members needs close consideration. It is recommended to deepen investigations on this issue in the frame of the FAO/TCP.

3. Currently existing poverty related Institutions
- The workshop participants identified relatives as currently the most important institution to support the poor, followed by Khot ails and the social institution fund (Appendix 1).

- According to herder’s perception the possibilities of khot ails to support needy households has reached its maximum. There seems to be no further buffer zone to support the poor through khot ails. The traditional pattern to support the poorest households through “Khuts ukhna khariulakh” seems rather exploitative than supportive (see chapter II 2.3).

- The formation of a “groups of the poor” was seen as a viable chance to motivate and strengthen the poorest community members in the sum centres.

Besides the emerging kinship relations Chulut inhabitants saw an institutional deficit with regard to poverty alleviation and the promotion of collaboration linkages among herders as well as sum centre inhabitants. State support (social insurance fund) was perceived as currently not sufficient. New institutional options need to be identified and supported which go beyond restocking and also include insurance and risk management strategies. Further project investigations are recommended. Interesting in this context is that there seems to be a not yet strong, but a certain solidarity among herding people of the valley who do provide minimum support for survival to poor households. This takes place besides the kinship relations mentioned above. It might be an interesting aspect to further follow this track during FAO/IFAD project implementation whether this traditional mechanism is also reviving similar like the kinship khot ail did.

4. Restocking poor herders
- Former trails of restocking the very poorest households in Chulut sum failed. Animals were sold or lost. Lacking herding skills on the one hand and low initiative/laziness on the other hand were given as main reasons for the failure. According to peoples perceptions - a new restocking trail with this target group would probably fail again. The study shares this opinion and suggest, that a new version of restocking should rather target at the vulnerable groups as described above (groups II and III). The probability to find among the poorest group within the sum centres skilful herders is rated low, as “real” herders tend to remain in rural areas whenever possible.

- Poor herding households interviewed perceived a herd consisting of 8-12 cattle, 2-4 horses and approximately 25 sheep as enough for a six person household to make its living. This equals a herd of about 18-20 bod. Richer households tended to give higher figures. If animal numbers should be taken as major criteria for restocking households in the range of 10 to 20 bod (depending also on family size) might be given first priority.

- Households selected by the herding community (currently and also in the past) to receive the traditional support of “Khuts ukhna khariulakh” are definitely suitable candidates for restocking, as the herders community has identified them to look after their male breeding animals, what is a clear indicator for the herding management skills of the poor selected herders concerned.

- Institutional aspect: A restocking program might do best in integrating bag and sum levels. Bag governors and herder representatives clearly expressed during the workshop their preference for the bag level as focal point for restocking. They, however, were aware of the better management and monitoring capacities for a restocking programme at sum level. Their major concern was rather a mistrust in the sum. Sum officials voted clearly for the sum level, stressing its management capacities and experiences with former restocking trails.

As Bag Governors are elected representatives of the herding community they know more about the herders than sum officials do in general. Their management skills would however be probably insufficient to cope with complex restocking issues. A new “restocking committee” including 3-5 sum government (relevant resorts) representatives and all bag governors as elected herder representatives might be a suitable committee to steer restocking.

Training in management skills on bag and sum level could definitely facilitate the formation process and is therefore recommended.

- As Khot ails gain more and more importance as common production units for all of its members they seem to be the most important unit to be considered for restocking and to address the implementation of restocking. The overall number of animals and skills etc. in relation to khot ail members within kinship based knot ails could be taken as calculation basis for poverty alleviation and restocking.

- Households isolated from kinship relations - recognizable in some cases through small numbers of gers together - might need to be approached separately. In general, however the single households/Gers (within khot ails) seem less suitable as unit for restocking.

- Richer households indicated their readiness to sell female productive animals in the framework of restocking to relatives for “good” prices. They seemed, however, hesitant to also sell animals to non-relatives, and not at all at “good” prices. Some further investigation on this issue, which is a prerequisite for the restocking programme as outlined is recommended.

Further investigations on the formation and stability of kinship based and/or other forms of khot ails are recommended. They should offer the answer on the question which units are most suitable for restocking.

5. Small enterprise development
- Following the above argumentation on restocking target groups, alternatives should be sought, targeting the group of the very poorest with insufficient herding skills. These could lie in the area of small private enterprise development. The group of the poorest without skills (Group Ia) could be considered as employees within enterprises employing in a scale of 2-3 persons. Those of the poorest who have certain skills (Group Ib) might be among a group supported from IFAD project to run entrepreneurship. Khot ail leaders and bag governors seem to be those persons who have the knowledge about single peoples’ skills.

- As potential areas for small enterprise development the following were identified by herders and workshop participants: processing of animal products, sewing, hunting, gathering of wild fruits and medical herbs, rope making, carpet weaving, boot making, carpentry, tourism (hunting, fishing, mountain hiking), vegetable growing, exploitation of minerals.

- Besides vegetable growing which is dealt with separately below - the study team sees the highest potentials for commercial activities in the areas of processing of animal products (skins), boot making, blacksmithing, sewing, hunting, carpentry and trade/transport. All these branches were perceived as areas with a high local demand. Skilled persons are locally recruitable. Except of hunting all these activities are independent of seasons. It is recommended to execute further in depth analyses during FAO/IFAD investigation periods on the above areas. Lacking transport facilities and (resulting) lacking in raw materials occurred as major constraint to local initiatives.

- Sum and/or bag centres seem to be the best places for production units which operate season-independent. Small scale handicrafts and the production of household utensils with local demand might also be considered in the context of diversification of and/or supplementary income generation among herders within the rural areas.

It is recommended by the study team to reconsider the weight given to the different components of the envisaged future programme. The component of small enterprise development as well as for vegetable growing (even if on a subsistence basis), might need more emphasis as initially outlined.

6. Vegetable growing
- broad interest in vegetable growing was identified among both herders and sum centre inhabitants. Several times it was mentioned as a possible source for additional income generation by interviewees without having been directly addressed on this issue (peoples own idea). Currently a pilot trail in potato cultivation is conducted by a sum centre inhabitant. This trail was mentioned several times by herders. They understand it as test for themselves to copy in case of success. However, the climatical conditions in Chulut (2000 m altitude) are harsh. Even a success in the sum centre cannot guarantee overall applicability. Dissemination of further know how, and on rentability etc seems necessary. It could be disseminated through a kind of a sum cropping group which would need to be established first.

- According to the study teams understanding of the issue the main direction of potato cropping - in Chulut Sum - would be for home consumption. Potentials for commercial use would need further feasibility studies.

- The fencing of crop yards will be an essential precondition for herders to realize potato cropping. The legislation and limitation on wood harvesting was seen a major constraint for herders to implement potato growing. Sum centre inhabitants could grow potatoes within the fenced areas around their houses.

- Land tenure arrangements for potato fields appear to be another criteria for a successful implementation of potato growing among mobile herder communities.

- A high potential for small enterprise development might result from the expressed and potentially rising need for hoes. This could be easily combined with the idea of blacksmithing in terms of oven production (see IV, small enterprise development).

Further project inputs in terms of practical know how on cropping, and on the legislative frameworks and options in the context as mentioned above are recommended but are dealt with elsewhere in FAO investigations.

7. Methods of field investigation
- The training workshop as outlined elsewhere offers a very good starting point to analyze poverty related issues and potentials for poverty alleviation as perceived by locals

- Both mapping exercises (example of bag III map, appendix 5) as well as “wealth ranking” as described for the Mongolian context by Mearns 1991 are suitable tools to identify the rural poor from an insight perspective and help to target the poor for further information. The results can be easily compared with official data.

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