Teams of young people from across Mongolia have taken to the stage to pitch highly innovative initiatives designed to strengthen youth employability to potential donors.
Earlier in 2023, two hackathons were organized by the Decent Work for Youth Network (DWYN) of Mongolia aimed at inspiring young people to devise innovative solutions to help transform employment in the country.
The pitching event held in the capital Ulaanbaatar on 7 November 2023 provided a platform for the youth-led initiatives to showcase their projects and seek additional resources for their full realization.
Among the six finalists, the top three hackathon projects had already secured a combined seed funding of US$5,000 to assist in their realization from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UNDP as part of the EU-funded "SDG-aligned budgeting to transform employment in Mongolia" (SDGBE) project.
More than 40 people representing the government, civil society, international organizations, and national and international companies attended the event.
Ms N. Nandinzaya, a member of the Law & Tech team, presented her project, which won first place in the hackathon, together with her team members. Through an online game, Nandinzaya's team aims to provide knowledge of labour laws to protect young people studying at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions from labour exploitation.
Nandinzaya said, "My team received US$2,000 from the SDGBE project as a seed fund, and we are seeking to raise about 70 per cent of the remaining funding during today’s event. By participating in this hackathon, we have gained in-depth knowledge about decent work, social protection, partnerships, and occupational safety."
Other hackathon projects presented addressed various issues including improving access to employment services through technology, strengthening mental health support in the workplace, empowering young women in the technology field and expanding distance learning opportunities for young people.
Altantulga Bor, Head of the Labour Division of the Employment Policy Implementation and Coordination Department of Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Mongolia highlighted the value of such an event.
"At a time when employers increasingly value soft skills, it is commendable that young participants in this hackathon are improving their soft skills such as problem-solving and analytical skills, working in teams and communication."
“Young individuals are often unfamiliar with labour legislation. The content and advocacy activities conducted through this hackathon, such as presenting and promoting labour laws among youth through case-based comics and online games, could help address these issues."
The event was organized as part of the EU-funded SDGBE project to boost closer cooperation among stakeholders and development partners and foster meaningful partnerships in the areas of decent work for youth. ILO is working with the SDGBE project to align national legislation and practices with international labour standards with a key output being efforts to realize labour rights and formalization of employment for young workers.
Felix Weidenkaff, Youth Employment Specialist from the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific said, ”Young people in Mongolia face a number of challenges in the labour market. Their engagement in initiatives such as this helps raise awareness, drive change and shape policies and programmes that will contribute to more and better employment opportunities.”