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Martin Helps Mongolia Develop a Social-Service System to Aid Children

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By Karen Guin

Public affairs' Professor Larry Martin recently traveled to Mongolia to help its government develop a plan to expand social services for children.

Mongolia, which is located between Russia and China, is a former communist country. Its transition to a market-based economy has been difficult, and a large segment of the population lives in poverty.

Many parents are forced to abandon their children because they can not feed and care for them, Martin said. As a result, many children live on the streets, creating a major social problem.

The Mongolian government wants to increase the private sector's involvement in addressing this problem. Martin has been helping as a consultant with expertise in the development of contracts for services.

During his three-week trip, Martin met with representatives from many organizations, including several Mongolian government ministries; Save the Children: United Kingdom; and the World Bank.

He went on to draft a plan that will help the Mongolian government award contracts to the private sector for social services. He submitted his plan to Mongolia's Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor earlier this month.

"The work was difficult because the social-service contracting system must satisfy the requirements of international funding organizations, like the World Bank, and be sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of the Mongolian government," Martin said.

With contracts in place, more private organizations will be able to provide social services to Mongolians. The services will likely include support for poor young mothers, day care for young children and foster care for orphan children.

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