IRIS Fellows Roberta Hawkins,Tungaa Johnstone, Paul Marmer, and Korice Moir all participated in the Sustaining Water in Mongolia (SWiM) project, working with faculty and students at the National University of Mongolia (NUM), and exploring economic, social and environmental issues associated with developing an integrated approach to water resources management. They organized participatory research activities in the Gobi desert, delivered workshop presentations, and provided administrative support to NUM’s Water Research Centre and the Steppe Forward Programme. Their work is profiled in Y-File.
Roberta Hawkins, MES
Roberta Hawkins participated in the SWiM project in the second year of her Masters in Environmental Studies Programme at York. During two months of field research in Mongolia, Roberta focused on social issues related to water management, in particular the relationship between gender and water. Roberta used the data gained on gender and water in Mongolia to complete her final research paper in the MES programme. The findings of this research have also been published by the Gender and Water Alliance in their factsheet on Mongolia.
The experiences and collaborations related to the SWiM project have been an integral part of Roberta's career thus far and she is now pursuing a PhD on gender and environment issues at Clark University in Massachusetts.
Tungaa Johnstone, MES
Tungaa Johnstone graduated from York's Faculty of Environment Studies with her MES in 2008. Her Major Paper looked into the issues surrounding the effective coordination of emergency health care. She worked with IRIS on the Sustainable Water in Mongolia project in 2007. Prior to completing her Master's studies, Tungaa worked on variety of international projects, including Mongolia's position with regard to the Mine Ban Treaty, the status of people with disabilities in Mongolia, and Mongolia's social development issues. Her academic interest lies in the area of the sustainable environment and issues related to health and environment.
She is currently writing a book aimed at introducing Mongolians to the broad array of international foods that are becoming more available.
Paul Marmer, Msc
Paul Marmer is doing his MSc in the Biology Department, supervised by Dawn Bazely. He graduated with Honours in 2006 from the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, where he was one of the top undergraduate students. He also has a Biology minor in 2006. Before going to Mongolia for 3 months with the SWiM project in 2006, he spent 4 months on a York International Internship in Chennai, India. He carried out fieldwork for his undergraduate BES thesis, Understanding slums as complex adaptive systems: Examples from Chennai, India which was part of the research programme of Prof. Martin Bunch in Chennai. Both Paul and Martin have been profiled in the York undergraduate admission newsletter.
Paul's work in Mongolia focuses on exploring the interactions between herders, grazing animals and vegetation. Drought can have a huge impact on forage availability and therefore on the survival of grazing animals. Paul returned to the National University of Mongolia in May 2007, where he spent a year doing field work that investigated the distribution of endophyte-infected forage grasses. These microscopic fungi are called endophytes because they live entirely inside their host grass. The fungus can make the grass poisonous for grazing animals. The grass benefits in different ways from having the fungus, including not being eaten because animals learn to avoid infected grass, which are also more drought tolerant because of the fungus. Paul will extend his research into the Northwest Territories during summer 2008 as part of the International Polar Year project, The Impacts of Oil and Gas Activity on Peoples in the Arctic Using a Multiple Securities Perspective (GAPS) led by Dawn Bazely, in Canada.
Korice Moir, MES
Korice recently graduated from York University’s MES programme where she focused on Canadian environmental policy, water demand management strategies, and the links between production practices, consumer behaviour and water footprints. As a SWiM fellow, Korice also traveled to Mongolia and prepared a case study discussing the benefits and challenges of water demand management within the production of goods.
With generous support from the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, she is currently working as a Water Policy Fellow in partnership with the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. Her fellowship project involves exploring a wide range of strategies designed to better monitor, analyze and reduce the water footprint of Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry.