The Training Advocacy and Networking Program (TAN) concluded, in its program design phase, that the civic environment in which the program would be implemented was nascent, where NGOs played a minor role in civic life due to a dependency on external resources. Therefore in order to stimulate the creative use of local resources, TAN's first step was to conduct an assessment to determine the scope, prevalence, and factors for social entrepreneurial activity.TAN staff made initial probes to rural areas and found cases where people were deeply engaged in social entrepreneurial activity. However, the doubt that was expressed pointed to what seems to be an important underlying dynamic that affects rural areas.
How the Strategy Works:
The study on social entrepreneurial activities attempts to answer two main questions: (1) what types of social entrepreneurial activity exists in rural Mongolia? (2) How rural Mongolians describe people engaged in social entrepreneurial activity? The study is written for people who are living in rural areas of Mongolia, especially in the target aimags that the TAN Program works in. Therefore, the study uses actual examples and practices of specific rural citizens that are engaged in social entrepreneurial activity. The study particularly highlights where individuals use traditional Mongolian customs that focus on helping others and where individuals employ locally available resources. The implications for our findings on rural development are that social entrepreneurs play a critical role in positively managing change for their communities. They have a keen ability to demonstrate the added value of taking action. For those, involved in development in rural areas of Mongolia - from NGOs, international organizations and public sector officials - this study suggests that it would prudent to develop methodologies that (1) identify people who make the most of community resources, before external assistance is applied (2) channel assistance through these people in ways that promotes independence, rather than dependence.The study does not attempt to compare Mongolian social entrepreneurs to social entrepreneurs that exist or have existed in other countries, nor does it make claims that the people in the study fit all TAN's criteria for social entrepreneurs. Rather the study explores the methods and motivations of people engaged in social entrepreneurial activity. For short hand these, the people are referred to as 'social entrepreneurs?. TAN's research on has concluded that the roots of social entrepreneurism are alive in Mongolia. Mongolians are familiar with many famous people who arguably qualify as social entrepreneurs, like Florence Nightingale and Martin Luther King, Jr. Reasons for the low standing of social entrepreneurs relates to the fact that communities have not acquired a concrete understanding of the value of the social entrepreneurs to their individual community. It was found that many times social entrepreneurs are considered as part of the ?out? group in the community. Many respondents said of social entrepreneurs that they have strange behavioral characteristics like obsessive personalities or other idiosyncrasies.It was discovered early in the TAN Program that there was a risk of overstepping the boundaries of what is known about 'social entrepreneurs? in Mongolia by applying models and criteria only applicable to other countries. In fact, what we found was that research on social entrepreneurs, around the world, has lagged far behind the enthusiasm to support social entrepreneurs. Perhaps more importantly for Mongolia, this study has been the first its kind to look at the scope, prevalence, and dynamics of social entrepreneurial activity, perhaps where such activity is needed most - in rural areas. The study finds that although the civic environment in which the program works is nascent, where NGOs play a minor role in civic life due to an over-dependency on external resources, there are individuals who use local resources creatively to solve community problems. However, to identify social entrepreneurs with new ideas and patterns in unfamiliar contexts takes overcoming biases about how criteria for social entrepreneurs should be applied. This means appreciating the unique structural challenges Mongolia faces from the perspective of rural communities and the limiting factors that each community must address. The study finds that factors for social entrepreneurial activity have to do with the strength of one's connection to one's community, past work experience, ability to build relationships between people, overall creativity and understanding the importance of 'self-help?. We would like to thank those people, including the social entrepreneurs, consulted during the research process for their time in helping us to develop, hopefully, a more easily recognizable profile, which can be used in identifying other social entrepreneurs
Key Strategy Elements:
<ul><li class="entry-label">Mobilizing Citizen Support: <span class="entry-text">The following are the steps of TAN Social Entrepreneur Support program, which has involved different stakeholders, community members. First, the research was conducted to assess the social entreprenurial activities in Mongolia. Second, qualified nominators identified people in their community according to TAN's criteria for social entrepreneurs. Third, a selection committee of outstanding citizens active in community development short- listed the candidates. Fourth, interviews were held with final candidates to determine if in person they stood up to the criteria. In November 12, 2004 Mercy Corps/TAN program has launched its first award ceremony to award three pioneers ? champions of innovative ideas to serve others in their communities.</span></li><li class="entry-label">Generating Financial and Nonfinancial Resources: <span class="entry-text">Public events were organized in Dundgovi and Uvurhangai provinces to introduce the social entrepreneur concept. </span></li><li class="entry-label">Engaging and Managing Volunteers: <span class="entry-text">TAN program on Social Entrepreneur Support was introduced to Parliament members who were elected from program target areas, such as Dundgovi and Uvurhangai provinces. </span></li><li class="entry-label">Developing Information and Spreading the Message: <span class="entry-text">Press release on social entrepreneur program, award ceremony was done to introduce the general public of Mongolia about the social entrepreneurship. The study on social entrepreneurial activity in Mongolia was printed and presented to public as well. Social entrepreneurs profiles were introduced to Civil Society organizations in both provinces and within Mongolia.</span></li></ul>