Moving Mountains

All our volunteering trips, electives and school trips are organised with this charity Moving Mountains that was started by Gavin Bate at the same time as the company in the early 1990s. It determines what any visitor will be doing when they visit a place, and it ensures that the visit relevant and meaningful and beneficial.

Any trip involving people going abroad to 'do good' requires a high level of integrity and care. We are founding members of Fair Trade Volunteering, and we ensure that every trip we run is asked for and required, and that it contributes properly to the needs of a community. We do this by making sure that Moving Mountains controls the content of the trip, and it's objectives are purely developmental.

Please do visit our Moving Mountains website to see what projects and programmes you would get involved with if you joined one of our school trips or volunteering placements or electives. We do have a selection procedure and we provide proper training and preparation for anyone going abroad, plus we have a strong staff back up and many years of collaboration with the communities to ensure that your visit is really enjoyable, beneficial and useful to everyone concerned.

We are partnered with the London School of Economics 'Beyond the Classroom' event, promoting opportunities for students to volunteer abroad

Moving Mountains Trust - UK

Moving Mountains was started by Adventure Alternative founder Gavin Bate in 1991 during his years of travelling and developmental aid work in east Africa, Nepal and latterly Borneo. It has the bulk of its administrative overheads paid for by Adventure Alternative, and all the Trustees work voluntarily.

Moving Mountains and all its stakeholders determine the content of all trips that Adventure Alternative provides for the charity. This is to ensure that the emphasis is on the developmental impact of the trip. It also provides the strategy for the charitable aims and gives grants for projects and programmes in Kenya, Nepal and Borneo.

The primary aim of Moving Mountains UK is to provide grants to the other 'MM' organisations for the relief of hardship, poverty, suffering and inequality. This is done through education and vocational training, medical treatment and health care, personal development and employment.

It also provides capital to build, renovate and maintain schools, childrens homes, community centres and environmental projects, all of which must show a positive socio-economic impact on the population.

The money for Moving Mountains is mostly fundraised by volunteers and groups who come out on a trip which is organised by Adventure Alternative. A lot of attention and effort is made to ensure there is efficient spending on relevant aims, and we have also have an employee to manage day to day correspondence and management and training of volunteers.

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Gavin Bate takes the Moving Mountains logo to the summit of Mount Everest on May 20 2011.

Moving Mountains Kenya

Moving Mountains Kenya is a registered NGO based in Nairobi with a remit country-wide for charitable work including schools, orphanages, clinics, rescue centres, family support centres, community centres, sports programmes and hundreds of children and their families currently receiving support. Additionally it provides long term career opportunities to people who would otherwise struggle to get full time employment.

All the office administrative costs in Nairobi are absorbed by Adventure Alternative and the company provides the charity with vehicles, extra staffing and support. The successful business model that Gavin has pioneered means that the charity provides capital investment for the projects, and the company subsequently provides revenue streams through access to a tourism market. This enables the projects to become financially self-sufficient and for the charity to avoid long term dependency.

All projects are developed slowly over a number of years with the local community and their committees and after completion they are handed over to the community to manage alongside the Moving Mountains Kenya committee.

Many of the Moving Mountains Kenya Board, staff and volunteers are former street children or beneficiaries of the charity which has resulted in a really strong, dedicated team who want to give back the opportunities that they received as they were growing up. It's a great team of passionate young adults who aside from running the NGO have proven to be great role models for all the other kids who continue to come through Moving Mountains in Kenya.

Moving Mountains Nepal

Moving Mountains Nepal is a registered NGO based in Kathmandu which is the operational centre for all of our projects in Nepal. Adventure Alternative funds the logistical and administration costs for Moving Mountains Nepal. Additionally MM Nepal provides long term career opportunities and works in a specific mountain environment in the solu Khumbu where it builds hydro-electric power facilities, schools, monasteries and clinics.

MM Nepal provides capital investment for business and social enterprise, and Adventure Alternative then provides access to revenue streams by bringing previously remote areas to market and enabling villages to benefit from tourist income. This business model has proved very successful and been the catalyst for several local social enterprises which have since become self-sufficient.

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Gavin Bate with villagers from Bupsa in the solu Khumbu, with whom he set up a successful co-operative

Moving Mountains in Borneo

The remote jungles of Sarawak are the location for an environmental and community development project which Moving Mountains supports by funding a forest enrichment programme. By paying the local Penan people to plant trees instead of cutting them down, we see this as a vital contribution to deforestation caused by logging in the area.

The money from clients who fundraise for Moving Mountains if they are going on a Borneo trip is sent to the Penan Koperasi (co-operative) known as the Keepers of the Forest, and it is used to build tree nurseries, provide vital training in ethnobotany and help develop the site for a long term future. It is also used to pay the villagers a salary to collect seeds, plant them in the nurseries and then transplant those seedlings into the logged and clear areas. 

By allowing a controlled flow of visitors into the area, Adventure Alternative is helping to promote tourism and enable people to understand the importance of projects like this in the jungle.

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The area known as the Penan Peace Park where the Penan people live is where we conduct our tree-planting programme.