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Australian Awards alumna is contributing to environmental sustainability in Mongolia

Posted: 8 January 2020

Ms. Purevdulam Lkhagvasuren completed her Master of Environmental Management at the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2016. Prior to her study in Australia, she was working as an Environmental specialist at Aspire Mining Limited.

Ms. Purevdulam chose to undertake her study through the Australia Awards because Australia has world class environmental management graduate programs. Similar to Mongolia, Australia has an extensive mining industry and collaborates with Mongolia on large mining projects such as “Oyu Tolgoi” in South Gobi Province, Mongolia. Ms. Purevdulam confirmed that her student experience in Australia increased her knowledge, and gave her access to new information and improved her advanced academic writing skills. During her master’s course and following her successful application, Ms. Purevdulam was accepted as participant on a summer research scholar program provided by UQ. Through this program, Ms. Purevdulam had the opportunity to work as a research assistant at the UQ’s Faculty of Science. She acquired extensive research experience from the program and her first policy paper titled “Environment and migration experts: Who are they, and what are their views?” was published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in their Policy Brief Series in 2017.

After finishing her scholarship in Australia, Ms. Purevdulam returned to work at Aspire Mining Limited as an Environmental Officer but in May 2019 she decided to pursue her passion to work for those in need by enrolling as a full time volunteer at the Mongol Ecology Centre (MEC) NGO.

“I felt that I can contribute to Mongolia’s development by working with local organisations that are in need of qualified and skilled human resources. Additionally, since the MEC works with school children in very remote soums of Mongolia, I also saw this is a great opportunity where I can share what I have learned from Australia”.

MEC provides a free junior ranger summer camp for students in Khatgal and Khankh soums, Khusvgul province. Through the camp, they teach environmental conservation to children of Khuvsgul.

“I found out that working with children is more efficient as they are very concerned about environmental impacts caused by mining and pasture over-use.”

In July 2018, Ms. Purevdulam participated on a regional study tour in Western Australia, organized by the Minerals and Energy for Development Alliance (MEfDA), which is also funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to learn more about “Environmental Rehabilitation and Biodiversity Offset”.

Apart from her volunteering role at MEC, Ms. Purevdulam established her own NGO called the “Green Development and Sustainability Center” along with fellow Australia Awards scholars. The purpose of the NGO is to strengthen and build capacity in “environmental education and conservation”.  Based on information she received during the Australian study tour, Ms. Purevdulam together with her team organized two workshops in Ulaanbaatar and Khuvsgul in 2018 on “Environmental Rehabilitation and Biodiversity Offset” to share her knowledge with environmental specialists in Mongolia. Participants included herders, government officials, and environmental professionals working in local and international NGOs as well as private companies. Additionally, Ms. Purevdulam supports the “Goviin Uurhaichin” NGO in South Gobi province by securing funding and support from the Mozzies Association to help designing interior of the NGO’s office.