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Agriculture and Horticulture in Mongolia | Gachurrt, near Ulaanbatar, Mongolia

Interns work in the Gachuurt Vegetable Growing Project, performing hands-on gardening tasks to help local people grow the vegetables which will sustain them, and which they can sell to supplement their incomes. Interns should have practical knowledge of vegetable gardening/crop production, and be willing to spend their time digging in the dirt, and performing other tasks to make the garden grow! Those with a significant background in horticulture may also be asked to demonstrate growing techniques to the families who are involved in the project.

While interns are not required to speak Mongolian, their communication skills will be improved as they will learn to work with and teach in a non-English speaking community. Interns will experience the challenges that arise when growing vegetables in a Mongolian climate and in doing so have the opportunity to use the information they have studied in a practical way. Housing, food, and transport to the Gachuurt site will be provided by Jampa Ling at their center in Ulaanbatar for a fee.

For students without significant experience in rural Asia, we require that they begin their internship at Jampa Ling before continuing on to Asral. This would afford students the opportunity to learn more about Jampa Ling’s missionm, learn on-site about the garden work of Jampa Ling in Ireland, and then transfer those skills to Asral in Mongolia.

Asral is a social welfare charity run by Jampa Ling, a Tibetan Buddhist organization based in Ireland, where Asral's Director Panchen Otrul Rinpoche resides. Asral established the Gachuurt Vegetable growing project to help the people living in and around the suburb of Gachuurt by improving their diets; people in the community learn how to grow vegetables and to earn money from the excess vegetables grown.

Founded in 2001 by Ven. Panchen Otrul Rinpoche, the NGO aims to prevent the disintegration of families, the root cause of children becoming street-children by providing direct support and assistance necessary to overcome poverty. It is Asral’s guiding belief that one of the best ways to avoid this is to ensure that children remain with their families. To this end, Asral projects:

  • Alleviate some of the responsibilities of childcare to enable parents to seek sustainable work
  • Help women heads of families and others towards self-sufficiency through gaining trained skills
  • Support families with direct assistance and outreach in the areas of health, food security, housing & heating, and clothing

Asral’s projects focus on six main areas: food security, self-sufficiency through handicrafts, health, education, outreach and sponsorship. The projects are carried out in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, in Gachuurt, 20km from Ulaanbaatar and in Ondershil in the Gobi region. Occasional support is also provided at other localities in Mongolia.

The rate of unemployment in Gachuurt's community is very high. At the present time, 35 families are now growing vegetables with the help of the training they received at Asral's Gachuurt site. A new training and small business program will begin in spring 2009 with three onsite plots provided for three families.

A full-time horticultural trainer is employed on-site and facilities for ten new training plots are provided. Funding is in place for a glass house, more equipment and storage space. A new water well has recently been dug and a community building is now in place on site for additional training and cooking facilities for volunteers.

To learn about Jampa Ling, and Asral, please see http://www.jampaling.org

Interns will participate in the day-to-day tasks of food production, which are seasonal, but will include:

Plot preparation (especially in spring time) Maintenance of plots (weeding and fertilization) Seed bed preparation Plot cultivation: sowing seeds, sowing seed in modules & seed beds for transplanting Watering and irrigation Vegetable harvesting & storage

Training of local project participants to perform the above tasks is also part of the work of an intern at Asral. This is a great internship for students studying ecological sustainability.

Academic Background

Students of agricultural and horticultural-related fields are preferred, but students in any area who have a strong background in the growing of food crops are welcome to apply.


Required: Horticultural experience, especially in Organic/ Biodynamic growing.

Students must be prepared for strenuous, hands-on gardening work, and a simple lifestyle while in Mongolia.

IE3 Program Fee -- $3450

Estimated One-Time Expenses

Expense Type Price
International Travel $1400 - $2300*
Visa Fees $70
Recommended Immunizations

*See Additional Cost Information below.

Estimated Monthly Expenses

Expense Type Price/month
Housing $150
Food $8/day
Local Transportation $40
Recreation $50
Personal Expenses $10

The intern would live at Asral’s centre in Ulaanbaatar city and share accommodation with other English speaking volunteers. In the shared apartment they would have their own room, also a communal kitchen, a TV room and a dining room.

April to end of September (Interns cannot be accepted from October to March).

Languages spoken at Gachuurt vegetable growing project would be Mongolian, some Russian and some English. Because of the hands-on nature of the project, proficiency in Mongolian and Russian is not necessary. Asral has English speaking volunteers working in Mongolia all year round to assist and help with any questions with the vegetable project.

Application Deadline

Spring: November 15
Summer: January 25

Basic Requirements

- Agricultural and horticultural-related fields are preferred.
- Ready for strenuous, hands-on gardening work a simple lifestyle while in Mongolia.