Overview

Volunteering in Nepal 

To volunteer in Nepal with Moving Mountains is to experience life in the Sherpa communities which live in the solu Khumbu area of the Himalayas, near the Everest region, and gain an insight into how our charity works with the local communities to create great positive change in the area.There is also the opportunity to go trekking in the mountains, and travel in this beautiful country to see the different regions and castes of people who live there. Culture and history and natural beauty all combine in Nepal for a wonderful location to spend time.

We have been working in this region for twenty years and the projects we have funded and helped develop are very well established. Here is a video of a volunteer project to install a water supply to the villages, filmed by MM Nepal Chairman Ang Chhongba Sherpa:


We have strong ideas about how the company and charity should work together and support the local communities that we have worked with for so long, and we feel that our volunteer programme really does let people immerse themselves in a community and feel very much part of the long term picture. The issues are always determined by the local people, and all of the projects tend to interweave in order to create a holistic vision which aims to improve quality of life, provide basic humans rights like water and education, and encourage growth in the community. Here's a video to explain how the company and charity work together to help achieve these big aims.

You can spend two weeks or several months on this experience, and we recommend combining it with some travel of your own. Nepal is obviously famous for its mountains but you can also travel to the jungles and to the Terai to see some of the other famous regions and castes which live there. By volunteering with us, you are asked to pay for your own accommodation and living costs, but also to fundraise for the charity which then enables you to see how development in action has been part of a successful job which has turned whole communities around after years of civil conflict.

Once you contact us we will start to discover how to make the best use of your skills and time, and tie it in with certain fundamentals, not least the seasons. Nepal has a monsoon season during June, July and August, so we can look at creating a volunteering trip which includes time in Kathmandu and time in the villages. We often have medical students staying, so it's always very sociable.

You can see our guesthouse on the Adventure Alternative Nepal website which shows what our local company does. Here is a video of the local tea ceremony in the village of Bupsa, although quite often the tea is replaced with rakshi which is a local hooch that precedes a big party:

And here is a video which shows how our model of sustainable tourism has contributed to such a change in the region:

Local Benefits from volunteering in Nepal

Some people think that volunteering in developing countries is not really beneficial to a community, which in some cases is true, but only if there is no long term plan. If your presence helped to provide funding to continue the development projects in the villages of Bupsa and Bumburi and you are working with our staff on other relevant and sustainable projects, then for sure your visit is creating a lot of local benefit!

This is what we do, and have been doing for many years. It's the link between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains that allows commerce to support charity; charity provides capital investment and company promotes revenue.

Also, read the new Moving Mountains' blog about how a volunteer in Nepal can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals here

Role Model by volunteering in Nepal

Without doubt you will witness the strong links between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and the communities that you visiting. As such, you will be an ambassador for both Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and there will be many young people looking up to you as a role model. Don't be afraid of this, it's simply something to be aware of.

Also the Sherpa culture is quite traditional and they have a very strong work ethic, but they are also fun-loving and naturally demonstrative and curious, so you might be surprised by just how many parties they have. They also love their pujas or blessings, which can go on for several days. Some of them are important Buddhist festivals and it will be big honour for you to experience such an event.


 

Programme

Volunteering in Nepal programme

Volunteers are very much needed to help with the management of the NGO in Nepal, so we welcome people who can assist with accounts, correspondence, annual reports, staff IT training and especially collecting data for the impact assessment reports we prepare in order to justify the donor money that is spent. Since volunteers are asked to donate to the charity, essentially this means they are assisting the charity in completing it's own audit procedures. Other helpful areas include website development, online promotions and campaigns, grant applications and research into what funds might be available, for example through crowdfunding. This can all be done from our office in Kathmandu where we also have a lovely guesthouse you can live in and spend time exploring the ancient capital city.

Volunteering in the villages

In the villages volunteers help out with ongoing programmes like community healthcare (we run annual medical camps in the area) and electives for medical personnel to help the two nurses in the clinic, and some classroom assistants in the schools we have helped to build. However, Nepali is the teaching language which makes it difficult, so most volunteers spend a little time doing extra curricular activities like sports (football, netball) and music.

Recycling

We have some programmes around rubbish and recycling which are important too. This entails helping the local people collect and dispose of rubbish, and researching methods of recycling. This is a big problem in the mountains. Volunteers can help also with educating villagers in what to do with rubbish and also installing rubbish bins that we have made in Kathmandu along the trails.

Water
Our main priorities in the villages are health, education and water, so if the fundraising is there then volunteers can help with installing water pipes and back boilers into homes so that families have hot water. It's a simple construction known as a rocket stove, but extremely effective at reducing the amount of wood burned and also ensuring cleanliness.

IT
In the actual schools the most important skill transfer is IT, and we have laptops which volunteers use to teach the teachers and some of the older students how to use basic programmes like Word and Excel. There is an internet access over the phone line so sometimes pupils learn about the world wide web and can even talk to relatives abroad on VoIP.

Building
Volunteers can also help with building but this is a highly skilled job which takes years to perfect, but still some volunteers like to learn about stone masonry and carpentry. Often the work involved is really hard labour, carrying stone and slate up from the river bed thousands of feet below. If nothing else, it would show you just how hard it is to build anything.

Medical
We have a community health post that was build by volunteers for Moving Mountains and there are two nurses working there, funded by students from Bristol and Cambridge University. If you have an interest in community health affairs, and delivering primary health care programmes to rural communities then we would like to hear from you.

Travel and community interaction
The volunteering in Nepal programme is also about travel and interaction. Your visit to the villages would be in home stay accommodation for which a family benefits financially from hosting you. Life in a Sherpa home would be an experience in itself, especially the meals and the parties and the daily routine. It's not quite subsistent but the villagers still very much rely on their own crops and livestock to manage their family. Many of them now grow crops for the co-operative, and this is a new cash-generating enterprise that we invested in.

You can spend two weeks or several months on this experience, and we recommend combining it with some travel of your own. Nepal is obviously famous for its mountains but you can also travel to the jungles and to the Terai to see some of the other famous regions and castes which live there. By volunteering with us, you are asked to pay for your own accommodation and living costs, but also to fundraise for the charity which then enables you to see how development in action has been part of a successful job which has turned whole communities around after years of civil conflict.



Cost

Volunteering in Nepal cost £695.00

INCLUDES

  • Advertised cost is based on a 2 week placement, additional weeks are priced at £120 per week
  • Accommodation at Guest House in Kathmandu, lodges during treks to the village and home stay in the villages
  • Meals and bottled water
  • Guide and porter costs for trek to and from the villages
  • Airport transfers
  • Pre-trip training, support during placement & post-trip reference/advice
  • Adventure Alternative Nepal staffing
  • Medical back-up from Interhealth

EXCLUDES

  • Moving Mountains fundraising target; £100 per week
  • International flights to Kathmandu
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Vaccinations
  • Tourist Visa
  • Personal costs (email, phone, laundry, souvenirs, tips, bottled water in the mountains, etc)

THE PROMISE TO MOVING MOUNTAINS - The fundraising target of your trip is dependent on the number of weeks that you plan to be volunteering with Moving Mountains Nepal, and you can legitimately fundraise for this amount. We would encourage you to set up a BT MyDonate or Justgiving fundraising page to direct the funds to Moving Mountains. This target is not an advisory figure, we do require it for any volunteer and hope of course that visitors will want to support the charity long term once they have seen the impact and extent of our work in Nepal.

The money that you fundraise for Moving Mountains not only supports the projects that you work with directly but all our projects, communities and individuals supported through our work across Nepal. 

NB: The trip fee, which is payable to Adventure Alternative, cannot be paid using MyDonate or Justgiving, because this is a trip cost for your time in Nepal.

Travel Insurance
You will need travel insurance for this trip. Normal holiday travel insurance will be adequate. We advise you to get this insurance early on, so that if you have to make a late cancellation for some reason then you will get all your money back.

Local Provider
Adventure Alternative Nepal is the main local provider; it has all the staff, resources, guesthouses and contacts with mountain lodges, etc to manage your stay and also any white water safaris, treks or R&R that you plan after the volunteering. We have spent many years providing the investment and training to get AA Nepal to the point it is at now, and we are very proud of it! We don't outsource and we keep an eye on all the agreements and contracts to make sure that nobody is exploited or taken advantage of.

Fundraising breakdown
Part of your fundraising goes on the training and preparation of your trip, some of it on staff who manage the programmes who are going out to see and experience and some of it on your visit. None of it goes on your food, accommodation and logistical backup and support, that's what is covered by the Adventure Alternative trip cost. Here's how the actual fundraising money is split up:

20% to training and preparation
80% to the programmes you will be visiting and working with

20% training. This is used specifically for the training and preparation sessions we will run in preparation for your trip, and also the preparation of the trip itself. We employ an experienced manager in the UK who will work with you in the run up to your trip and help ensure you arrive well prepared. It is very important that your expectations are met realistically, but also that your visit achieves the aim of the charity and the needs of the local people, so much time will be spent on training and preparation. There are also lots of practical aspects, like vaccinations, flights, clothing, visa and making sure you can keep in touch with home easily, perhaps with a blog.

80% NGO programmes. This is allocated to the programmes we run in Nepal which you will be taking part in. For example we pay salaries for the teachers, nurses and the project manager and children in boarding school in Kathmandu. These are the people who will give you the insight into life for an NGO employee, and your trip will directly contribute to their livelihoods.

Depending on where you go, this fundraising money will pay for the following items:

In Kathmandu - the education and boarding of 10 children at the Sapta Gandaki School where you can also spend time helping.

In Bupsa - teachers salaries for the primary school which has 170 children

In Bumburi - teachers and nurses salaries for the primary school, secondary school and clinic

Plus the project manager who looks after all the work we do and is out liaison with the village development committees.

Principles

Volunteering in Nepal principles

Inclusive and relevant placements

Our placements are open to anybody, subject to a selection process which includes interviews and a requirement for a DBS check if you will be involved with children, as well as a clear understanding that any volunteering placement can only exist if there is a need that is identified by the local people in the villages.

We have an equal opportunities policy and strict policies regarding child protection, and we are founding members of Fair Trade Volunteering movement.

We ensure that the emphasis on personal development and international development is balanced, and that your placement is always part of a long term aim which has been properly evidenced.


Training and preparation for volunteers

Our support includes training and preparation from dedicated staff in the UK. This training is part of our programme of personal development which will assist you in your career if necessary, and also ensures that your time with us is productive and enjoyable and effective. Our training staff are experienced in managing volunteer expectations, and have a background in development.

We have staff on hand in country who monitor your progress and provide support and ensure that any issues are easily dealt with. At the end of your trip there will be a debrief and an opportunity to stay involved; plus we endeavour to assist you in further stages of your career, for example with references and continued advice or mentoring.


Development impact of volunteering placements

Every placement aims to achieve some kind of development impact which has been developed in partnership with a credible partner, in our case Moving Mountains which has twenty years of experience in social welfare, education and health in developing countries.

We analyse the processes of change that occur in institutions where we send volunteers so that there is clear evidence for the need of a placement, and evidence that the placements are contributing to a need successfully, and to a point where the placement eventually becomes unnecessary. We try to render ourselves obsolete in the long term and we don’t perpetuate ‘aid’ for the sake of it. We use impact assessment ‘maps’ to try and define the developmental process.

We communicate with all relevant stakeholders and ensure that the placements are collectively agreed, for example with regional administrations and village development committees in the solu Khumbu.


Integrating with the community as a volunteer

The living arrangements for placements ensures that volunteers develop a real insight into the lives of the community, which includes shopping locally, cooking local recipes, travelling on local transport and using community facilities like the early child development centres and attending community events.

 Volunteers are hosted in secure and comfortable accommodation at the heart of the communities and institutions with which we work. They are assigned a local mentor whose responsibility is to ensure their wellbeing at all times, provide assistance with local logistics and language, introduce them to community members and assist them to participate fully in community life.

 

Long term commitment

During the trip there is always opportunity to meet with experienced staff who can help with evaluations and reflection, helping to build on the skills and knowledge and experience being gained. These aims follow an established syllabus of personal development used in social work and even in business.

One of the biggest aims of the programme is to encourage young people to engage in society on their return and take part in many incentives to promote global development and social responsibility, for example the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Tackling stereotypes and promoting equality in volunteering

We promote equality and empowerment and this means tackling stereotypes, and we discuss it a lot in our training programme for volunteers and visiting groups. The engagement we want to encourage should be built on knowledge, not stereotypes. Unfortunately stereotypes are used a lot in fundraising campaigns and in marketing voluntourism, and this creates apathy and cynicism instead of action.

Application

Volunteering in Nepal application

Volunteering in Nepal involves includes learning about issues of international development, community issues in a mountain environment and of course your own values. It's a transformative experience, and one that will stay with you forever if we do our job right. Even adults report that the experience of volunteering in Nepal has been a very special and fulfilling one. But we do not want to ever feel that we're dominating others with our best ideas about how to make the world better, it has to be a joint process of reciprocal learning and respect.

Below is our process of managing every person who gets in touch with a request to start this great journey in life. 

APPLICATION FORM PROCESS

 

Application requirements and general process

Online application or email enquiry followed by telephone calls, meeting(s), submission of CV/police checks/references, psychological screening by Interhealth, final selection meeting, pre-trip training meetings, psychological training by Interhealth, on arrival training before going to location.

Personal details (name, DOB, address)

Plus medical details, references, psychological/social issues, police checks, online searches (facebook, myspace etc).

Relevant qualifications/ training

Relevance relating to studies (e.g might be in nursing or childcare or social care), plus age (what is the best age for a volunteer to visit and how that relates to general maturity).

Relevant experience

Correspondence and meetings to understand the experience of the volunteer and talk to relevant references.

Motivations to volunteer

 Part of the initial process of understanding the volunteer. With young people get to know the parents and see if the motivation is shared with the family.

INTERVIEW PROCESS

 

Demonstrating capability eg. scenarios

Interviews with several Trustees and the training staff and ‘vote’ on suitability and get different viewpoints.

Demonstrating relevant knowledge

Or desire to learn. Depending on the volunteer the placement might be a more learning/supervised role, or a teaching role for our local staff (in the case of a qualified social worker for example), or an administrative role.

Checking motivations to volunteer

None of our volunteers are anonymous, we understand that if their placement is handled well then they will become long term supporters of the charity, so we work hard to make them feel part of the ‘family’.

VETTING

Original ID documents

 

Passport

Address history requested

Current and parents

Check claims on application form

eg.qualifications certificates seen

Enhanced DBS

For all ages, only if working with children

References for all work with children

If applicable

Professional references

If applicable

Character references

At least two

 

 

 

QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE –

VOLUNTEER ROLE

No generic volunteering placement, every one is created according to needs and also the type of person visiting.

There are many roles, especially in administration, which can be filled. Avoid the impression of just going to ‘help out’, every role is specific and includes many other activities such as learning a language, reflection time, blogging, learning stone masonry etc

TRAINING UPON RECEIPT OF POST

 

Health & Safety 

Face to face with training staff in the UK, plus professionally delivered courses from organizations like Interhealth.

Delivering our training courses and having the trainer and volunteer sign off, having ‘passed’ a level of interest and knowledge. This is for legal reasons to cover against potential liability. This is especially true for any medical training such as malarial prophylactics.

First Aid 

All volunteers require a basic first aid course.

Safeguarding or child protection

Make sure volunteers understand their legal position with children in a foreign country and the legal rights of the children themselves, according to human rights legislation.  

Confidentiality 

As above

Risk Assessing 

Check all risk assessments, both in the UK and in country. Our logistics partner is audited for the BS8848 standard for all overseas trips.

Relevant language 

 Language lessons for all volunteers during their time in country.

Basic skills in child care / child development

Always make sure our volunteers are supervised by a qualified child care professional.

Project or culture specific training

Training courses on culture/etiquette delivered prior to going and during the one week induction course on arrival.

Assessment  

Any professional screening or courses are signed off by professional person, all courses are signed off by both the trainer and the volunteer. If the trainer indicates that there might be a problem then it is dealt with on a case by case basis with the Trustees.

Other training areas

Specific training related to specific visit and needs.

 

INDUCTION PROCESS

 

On site introduction to staff

 Up to one week programme on arrival, depending on the placement and time in country.

On site introduction to children and environment

All volunteers introduced initially by the main staff in the office who stay for a minimum of four days to help with the initial days.

Guide booklet, policies and code of conduct

Provided beforehand and then given in person on arrival and left in the guesthouse where the volunteer is staying.

Reflective journal 

Encouraged, and also blogging.

Supervision 

Maintain a remote supervision from UK by email and phone, the staff in country keep in touch weekly and the local staff on the ground keep daily supervision.

Probation

If there is any problem with the volunteer then we have the right to ask them to leave.

 

Why us

Volunteering in Nepal - why us

It's vitally important that we can justify our right to offer a trip like this so that you can feel confident of our experience and knowledge. We ask a lot of volunteers who get involved with Moving Mountains, but equally so volunteers should ask a lot of us. This is a list of some of our answers to the Why Us question, they represent our principles and ethics towards responsible volunteering:

  • All our volunteering opportunities are driven by the needs of the host communities rather than the desires of the volunteer, the expectations of local communities are always what we consider first. We have worked with the villagers in this district for twenty years and have a very good understanding of the long term aims for the community.

  • Volunteers are contributing to long term sustainable projects which are genuinely benefiting community needs and are supported directly by Moving Mountains in Nepal. We have the evidence to prove this with established methodologies, so our placements are not just empty experiences.

  • We have a selection process in place to ensure the suitability of the potential volunteer and we provide lots of support and advice before, during and after all volunteering placements.

  • All the costs of volunteering are covered by the volunteer and placements are designed to benefit local communities financially rather than being an economic burden and volunteers work with local staff in local communities, rather than as a replacement for them.

  • We comply with the criteria for Fair Trade Volunteering with respect to how money is distributed fairly and equitably amongst stakeholders, and that no financial pressure is put on host communities or institutions, and that our placements are always part of a long term developmental aim. We are a founding member of FTV.

  • We prefer skills based volunteering, where individuals are matched to their skillset or particular interest, and where possible expertise to help solve a problem. We don’t focus on working with children as the main attraction of a placement, we ask that volunteers work with the charity on data collection, impact assessments, skills transfer between adults and help with administration of the NGO if possible.

And on the issue of working with children:
 

  • We have strict policies on child protection and we provide training and information on the protection of children, and we ask that volunteers submit to a DBS (police) check. We also improve our own standards by signing up to regular courses and training for any staff who are working with children.

  • We do not allow untrained inexperienced volunteers to work with children unsupervised and without proper guidance beforehand on the issues surrounding child care and education in the area they are visiting.

 

Photos

Choose a date from the drop down box below and pay only £250 deposit to secure your place when you book now. 

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Staff Review

Open to all ages, the volunteering programme in Nepal includes helping out with the running of the local NGO (accounting, filing, paperwork, promotion, social media, film making, correspondence), analysis of the work done in the villages (data collection, analysis, impact measurement, research and feedback), and time spent in the villages helping the staff we employ (teachers, nurses, project managers).

Volunteers can spend time in Kathmandu in the office and go up to the villages to experience life in a traditional Sherpa home, working with the staff and enjoying the tremendous hospitality and lifestyle of the villagers. Plenty of travelling and trekking is possible too, the villages are right at the start of the Everest region. 

Key Information
  • Duration Minimum of 2 weeks
  • Numbers 1+
Information Nepal
Moving Mountains
More Information