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Empowering Asian youth in underserved communities

As children who led nomadic lives in Mongolia, Temuulen Bayaraa and Solongo Batsuren overcame the odds to become successful young professionals today.

Their experience motivated them to empower the next generation through self-development programmes. Together with fellow Mongolians Saruul Khatanbaatar and Binderiya Makhbal, who are all Master’s in Public Policy graduates, they created Equity Lab.

“(Mongolian youth) want to be provided with the opportunities to grow and the ability to be in charge of their future,” said Saruul, whose team participated in the “Make Our People Better” category.

They discovered that nearly one in three Mongolians live in extreme poverty, a systemic issue perpetuated by poor access to quality infrastructure and services. However, the lack of social mobility was something they could address.

From their research, the team found that 15- to 18-year-olds would benefit most from their project. Through workshops, the youngsters will gain financial and communication skills, digital literacy and a better idea of their career prospects.

With their $50,000 grant, Equity Lab will develop educational resources and activities, and use a digital tool that offers gamified solutions to attract and incentivise students.

Their prototype will be tested with a partner school on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. Once successful, they plan to expand the programme to similar underserved communities across Southeast Asia.

“We want to see many more youths who are confident in their future and have the will to create positive impact both locally and globally,” said Temuulen, co-lead of Equity Lab.

Saruul sharing about the soft skills required to become a successful professional, to students at a school just outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Note: Photo was taken in Oct 2020. Mongolia does not have social distancing rules requiring people to sit far apart.

The Equity Lab team consists of (from left to right): Solongo, Binderiya, Temuulen and Saruul. The photo was taken in 2018.


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