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April 2010

Welcome to FIRE's second newsletter! We have been quite busy in the past eight months. We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mongolian Ministry of Health, opened an office in Ulaanbaatar with a full time Medical Director, have a new website and so much more!

Please take a minute and read below to learn more about our current events and ways you can support us! Have a great spring!

All the best,
Meredith Potts, Executive Director
Matching Contribution
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WE STILL NEED YOUR SUPPORT to reach $3,000 by April 9th!  We still need $1500!

Our Board of Directors made a pledge of $3,000, if we could raise $3,000. They originally gave us until April 2nd to raise the necessary funds. However, by April 2nd we had only raised $1,500! They have give us one additional week to meet the $3,000 challenge.

Please also consider alternative forms of donating such as credit card reward points, stocks or frequent flier award tickets. Many credit card companies will allow you to donate your accumulated reward points as a check to a non-profit organization. Contact us for more information.

PLEASE make a donation to FIRE, by APRIL 9th to insure we receive a matching $3,000 contribution. Your donation, no matter the amount, $10, $20, $50, will be doubled, supporting FIRE with twice the impact for your dollar!

If you are considering making a donation to FIRE this year, now would be the time, potentially doubling your impact.

You can donate directly on-line here. Checks may also be mailed to PO Box 22187  / Flagstaff, AZ / 86002.

For other ways to support FIRE, please visit our how you can help web page.

Thank you very much for your continued support (and quick attention).
Memorandum Of Understanding
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mouOn November 24th, 2009, Meredith Potts, FIRE Executive Director, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mongolian Ministry of Health.

This partnership will ensures the collaboration between FIRE and Ministry of Health for our Hepatitis Program, Medical Waste Management and Health Safety Program and our Orthopedics Program. This is a tremendous step for forward FIRE. We are very grateful to have the support of the Mongolian government for our continued efforts in Mongolia.

Additionally, we have also signed Letters of Understanding with the World Health Organization (WHO), the State Inspection Agency and the National Center for Communicable Disease in Mongolia, the Millennium Challenge Account - Mongolia (MCA-M) and the National Institute of Health in Washington DC (NIH).

We are looking forward to results of these continued partnerships and shared resources.
Medical Programs
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On March 5, 2010, FIRE received permission from the Mongolian Ministry of Health Ethical Committee to move forward with our  Hepatitis program. This was not a small feat!


We are now in the process of collecting 1000 samples of blood from health care workers across Mongolia. These samples will then be sent to the National Institutes of Health to be tested for blood-borne pathogens. 


This month FIRE is also beginning our Waste Management andGer Flyer Health Safety training. Rotary Selbe, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, have purchased 20,000 safety boxes. This will provide safety boxes for every health care facility in Khenti Aimag for two years. In conjunction with Rotary, FIRE will be assisting with the distribution of the safety boxes and leading the training for a health care representative from each health care facility.


In addition, this winter, FIRE completed 400 KAP (Knowledge Aptitude Practice) surveys of health care workers across Mongolia. We looked specifically at their waste management and health safety practices as well as their knowledge and awareness of Hepatitis.


The next step for this program will be to take all of this information and create a national education program for all health care workers and the general population regarding hepatitis, vaccination, medical waste management and health safety.


Ger FlyerStudies conducted in Mongolia have shown that over 50% of health care workers are infected with Hepatitis B or C or both. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that one of the leading forms of transmission for Hepatitis B in Mongolia, commonly called the "injection disease", is health care facilities. 


In cooperation with the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Mongolian State Inspection Agency, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCAM) and Rotary, we help to stop this preventable disease from spreading through education, training and, eventually, vaccination.


For more information, please visit our programs web page.

Sheep Wool Economic Development
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FIRE, in partnership with Mongolian Member of Parliament, Narankhuu from Dungov, will create and develop a sustainable wool processing industry for sheep wool. While camel hair wool and cashmere sell very well in Mongolia, the sheep herders have a difficult time finding buyers for their sheep wool.  

With the assistance of Greg Triebes, a volunteer textile engineer from W.L. GORE, we are researching potential products. The challenge is the quality of the wool. Mongolian wool is of a lesser quality than the traditional Merino wool used for clothing. Some ideas we have had are alternative home insulation, car seat covers, mattress stuffing, etc.

Due to the large amount of livestock lost during this harsh winter season in Mongolian, we believe it is necessary to take further action in developing its wool project to aid local herders quicker than expected.

For more information, please visit our wool project web page.
Mongolian Winter 2009 - 2010
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This winter Mongolia faced its harshest "dzud" in forty years. A "dzud" is a very dry summer producing little hay and fodder for the animals followed by a bitterly cold winter.  The conditions cause the already weak animals to die quickly in the -40 temperatures. Already 4.5 million livestock have perished, equaling 10 percent of Ger Flyerthe country's livestock. This has had grave consequences for an already impoverished country where 50 percent of citizens make a living from their livestock.  Mongolia's poorest often migrate from the countryside when they lose all of their livestock, giving up the traditional nomadic way of life. They move with their homes, "gers" (yurts), to the outskirts of the cities. These sprawling "ger districts" have no running water or electricity and surround the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. This migration creates entirely new problems for the herders and Mongolia.
Clothing Trip 2009
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In October, 2009 the final six clothing volunteers spent two weeks in the "ger districts" of Ulaanbaatar.  FIRE volunteers primarily distributed in Bayanzurkh, the largest and poorest district in Mongolia, on the edge of Ulaanbaatar. Each morning a van was loaded with boxes, a translator, volunteers, a driver and a social worker.  The social worker would lead us directly to the doors of the families in the most need.  We would pull out a few age-appropriate boxes at each home and find clothing that would fit that particular family, leaving about a box worth's of clothing with them. Then we would load the boxes back into the van and drive to the next family's home. Additionally we also went to several orphanages, nursing homes, a soup kitchen and a few other wonderful organizations.  In two weeks we distributed 7 tons of winter clothing to 800 families, just before the harshest winter in 30 years.
Our New Medical Director
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We are very excited to welcome Narnygerel Erdenebelig as FIRE's new Medical Director in Mongolia.  She is supervising FIRE's office in Ulaanbaatar and directing all of our medical programs. Narnygerel is FIRE's second full time employee. She is a Mongolian naratrained physician, specializing in internal medicine with a focus on preventative medicine.  She has worked as a medical translator and logistics coordinator for FIRE since 2005. She has also worked for the World Health Organization (WHO), the Millennium Challenge Account Mongolia (MCA-M), and has conducted research with the Health Sciences University of Mongolia. She also completed an internship for Municipal Hospital in Japan, where she studied the Japanese medical system.Nara is passionate about medicine and helping to improve the medical system of Mongolia. She is a dedicated and invaluable member of FIRE's team. We are lucky to have her!
New Board Member
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FIRE's newest member on our Board of Directors is Joanne Wedum.  Joanne has been volunteering dozens of hours each working helping us write grant proposals for our Medical Programs.  Joanne is an international development specialist with 15 years experience in Sub Saharan and Northern Africa and the Middle East. She has worked with Save the Children and CARE and has supervised national and international teams implementing programs in addressing child labor, public health - e.g. maternal and child health, family planning, HIV/AIDS - basic education, post-conflict programs for refugees, child protection/trafficking, and poverty reduction programs. She will continue lending support in the development of new proposals and the exploration of new program areas.
Spring Intern
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We have been very fortunate to have Gracie Mukai as FIRE's spring intern. Since mid-January Gracie has been assisting FIRE with revamping our strategic plan and further developing our
fundraising plan.
In May, she will be graduating from Northern
Arizona University with her Master's in Applied Sociology and returning to Portland, OR.  Gracie has an endless about of energy and enthusiasm.  She has brought a lot of wonderful ideas to FIRE these past few months. Her work will carry us through the next few years! Thank you Gracie and good luck!
Thank You!!
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We are very grateful for the support and assistance of so many wonderful people who help keep our wheels in motion! We would especially like to thank Dr. Francesco Marincola from the National Institutes of Health, Charlie Ofelt, Dr. Bira Yamjmaa, Dr. Scott Patlovich and Krista Patlovich for their tireless efforts with our Hepatitis and Medical Waste Management Programs. 

The generosity of Boojum Expeditions over the past 11 years has saved us many expenses with donated drivers, translators and most recently office space. Thank you so very much to Anya and Oyuna for sharing your office with FIRE this winter!  Please keep an eye out for an additional fundraising horse trip in the summer of 2011 with Boojum Expedtions.

We would also like to thank Oyun Sanjaasuren, a Member of Parliament, and The Zorig Foundation for their amazing support from the very beginning with our clothing project. It never would have been possible without you! Because of your wonderful work and stellar reputation in Mongolia we were able to get through customs with our container tax free this year! That is unheard of in Mongolia. Please keep up your tremendous work!

We are looking forward to all of our future accomplishments together.  Thank you so much!
Issue: 2
In This Issue
Memorandum Of Understanding
Medical Programs
Wool Program
Harsh Mongolian Winter
Join Our Mailing List
Magic Lake Trip
in Mongolia
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Travel to Hovsgol, the Land of the Blue Lake, where the Tsaatan Reindeer People call home. This is the mysterious heart of Inner Asia where some ancient Buddhist guidebooks locate the hidden kingdom of Shambhala.  Begin your journey at the Wind Horse tented camp on the pristine banks of the  Hoogii River, where you will can hone  up on your trout fishing and riding skills and go on ethno-botanical walks with local shamans in search of healing plants and flowers. Heal your bones with a traditional Mongolia 'bariachi' massage or simply choose to relax  in hot baths with a glass of  wine.

Please visit our trip web page for more information!
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Volunteers Needed!
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We are always looking for volunteers!  Help FIRE
with office work, local events,  and so much more.  Join us on one of our trips to Mongolia.  Be a personal fundraiser and organize your own FIRE event wherever you are. Committing your time is an invaluable use of your efforts.  We could not do this without you. Consider becoming a volunteer and truly helping to make FIRE's efforts a success. Please visit our volunteer web page or contact us today to learn more!
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Become a Community Partner
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FIRE thrives because of our generous local supporters. For over eleven years the community of Flagstaff and the United States at large, has helped FIRE to collect, pack and ship over 70 tons of winter clothing, medical and school supplies. These strong community ties are the foundation of FIRE.

Community Sponsor - Make a monthly contribution to FIRE of $10, $20, $50, or more to directly support FIRE programs.  Most of our monthly expenses stay local to our community.   A monthly automatic withdrawal allows us to continue operations
and guarantees your money directly supports FIRE and our immediate community.   

You may also join our Community Partnership Program as a restaurant or retail store.Please visit our Community Partnership webpage or  Contact us today for more information!

Gers For Sale!
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We have traditional Mongolian gers (yurts) for sale! Each ger is uniquely handmade in Mongolia from Larch trees. The door, roof poles and roof crown are all hand-painted with traditional Mongolian design. Buy your very own unique structure through FIRE and all the proceeds will go directly back into funding our organization. For more information, view our ger information page.
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Flagstaff International Relief Effort   928-779-2288