Overview

Learn jungle skills from Borneo's Penan Tribe as you volunteer with our reforestation project.

Volunteering in the Borneo rainforest offers participants the chance to work with our charity, Moving Mountains and the local Penan people on relevant community and re-forestation projects well off the beaten track deep in the Sarawak jungle.

We welcome interest from individuals and groups and we are flexible on arrival dates and duration of placement, the advertised dates tend to be the first 3 weeks of each month but this can be extended or a different arrival date agreed with the office.




Itinerary

This is a trip orientated toward the achievement of a specific Development project in the rainforest of Borneo. Volunteers are selected and offered the chance to visit this part of the world for a trip of a minimum of three weeks. You can stay for longer if you want or you can decide to stay in Malaysia and visit other places. We also work with a number of other villages and communities, including turtle sanctuaries and beach communities. We also have a jungle eco camp on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu where you can stay and experience the nightlife of a jungle!

The itinerary begins with a few days travelling upriver to the villages, and you will be led by the local people and our own guides who are Malay. Once you have settled into one of the village houses then you will start to get involved in village life and for the next several weeks engage in everything that they do, including the work at the tree nurseries and visiting the logged areas. You can visit the local school and do some sports and games with the kids who will love having a visitor, you can learn how to fish with nets, watch the man who makes blowpipes and go to the community centre. You can prepare food and eat with the local family and know that your visit is providing direct revenue for these people and enabling them to plant their trees back after they have been logged. You can go on short visits into the jungle, maybe hunting and foraging, but also to see waterfalls and peaks and explore places that few people have been.

It is a fairly open itinerary but necessarily so. We can't define the daily life of a Penan village! But simply by being there and slowing down to the pace of life of this tribe is an education in life itself. We will also be asking you to help the charity Moving Mountains by counting saplings and helping us document our work and the money we spend. This is vital work and will form the basis of your stay.

You can visit anytime of the year basically, and you can go yourself or with friends. We prefer small groups of around three or four, it's more sociable. The money you all raise will literally fund the tree planting project for months, and we do want you to properly understand the plight of the rainforest and the people who live in it.

Call us to discuss your trip. We will need to provide proper preparation and training, both from the trustees of Moving Mountains but also in-country for our staff who will show you tips about how to make life comfortable and enjoyable in that environment. Clearly this is a trip unlike most others, and we are looking for the right type of people. We want people who are open minded and who want to learn and who will respect the villagers and also the sensitive nature of their existence.

Cost

Volunteering in the Rainforest cost £1195.00 for the first three weeks. For each extra week we charge an additional £250.00.

INCLUDES
  • Personal in-country trip cost including all accommodation and food and activities in the jungle and staffing by the local Penan people and our own staff at Adventure Alternative Borneo
  • Internal air fare
EXCLUDES
  • Fundraising target of £1000 per person which goes directly to the tree planting project managed by our charity Moving Mountains and sent to the Penan Koperasi.
  • International air-fare to Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia.

Fitness

You do not need to be super-fit for this trip as it is focused more on social interaction and team work than physical exertion. Having said that, you will enjoy the trip all the more if you are in good physical shape having exercised regularly over at least the 6 months leading up to the trip.

You do need to be in good health as we will spend some time in locations that are many hours from professional medical care. Any pre-existing medical or dental conditions should be fully appraised by a doctor and their nature fully disclosed to your insurer and to ourselves.

EXPERIENCE NEEDED

For this trip you don't need to be experienced in foreign travel or experienced in building techniques or working with children or in schools. The programme is designed so that you are the one getting the experience, while at the same time allowing you to interact with our professional staff and the local people who can show you their job. We are not expecting you to be experts in any specific or even related fields, but we will expect you to come back with a great deal of knowledge at the end of it.

The most important characteristics you need are openness, willingness to learn and take part, enthusiasm, initiative and a sense of curiosity. Your experience simply as a person from another culture will give you an enormous amount to share with local people who perhaps have less opportunities than you. The trip is very emotional, and you will meet people whose lives seem almost impossible to live, but your interaction with them will help in ways you can't measure.

Kit List

  • Rucksack or duffle of no more than 20kgs as luggage, 65-90litres.
  • Clothing - shorts, Tshirts, light long sleeved tops, lightweight trekking trousers, light socks, jumpers for the evening, football shorts and the like. Try to avoid all cotton and think of clothes that aren't too tight or won't dry quickly. Cotton underwear takes a while to dry, a lot of people wear cycling shorts or boxer shorts.
  • Small day pack, approx 40 litres
  • Sunhat
  • Sun glasses with good UV protection
  • Sleeping liner - keeps your bag clean and you can sleep in it if the night is too warm.
  • Sleeping bag - a synthetic 3 season bag is best. If it has a lengthwise zip then you can open it out and use it as a blanket.
  • Light Water proof jacket, but also take an umbrella for showers
  • Wash kit and travel towel
  • Good walking shoes or boots, locally you can buy 'kampong' shoes for the jungle
  • flip flops and lightweight trainers or pumps
  • Camera - plus charger unit, but keep it dry!
  • Head torch
  • Money belt
  • Medical pack / first aid kit and sanitary products for girls
  • Sun cream - with a high UVA protection
  • Water bottles and Water purification tablets although boiled water is best
  • Insect repellent
  • Notebook, stationery, pens

 

ADDITIONAL KIT INFO

Females will have to dress conservatively in public and especially in schools and the childrens homes. You will draw unnecessary attention to yourself and maybe cause offence if revealing clothing is worn.

Also don't forget:

Your passport - valid for at least six months beyond the return date.
Insurance - comprehensive travel and medical insurance cover.
Immunisation booklet - with details of all the jabs you've had.
Passport photos - take about six of these to be used as identification
List of emergency telephone numbers - to cancel/call insurers, credit/debit cards
Tickets and itinerary - remember to leave copies of these with friends or family
Money - a mixture of some cash, travellers' cheques and credit cards.
List of useful contact numbers - such as British Embassy/Consulate, insurance company and credit card 24 hour emergency telephone number.

Why Us

  • We are driven by good intentions and not just good practise; our trips work with professional bodies that work full time in the field of international development.
  • We do not contract out our trips, we employ full time staff, offering job security and good benefits.
  • We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company has promoted sustainable development since 1995, and it is still growing! This project has been going for six years and is still going strong and developing well.
  • We work with Moving Mountains which is tightly linked with the company, and provides relevant long term programmes and projects that benefit the host communities.
  • Financial security guaranteed as we are AITO bonded.
  • We are members of Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.
  • Our staff only work for Adventure Alternative.
  • We use low cost sustainable technologies and a business model which incentivises a local NGO.
  • We have independent research to evaluate and assess the projects we run.
  • We have credibility because our projects are not all self-regulated, but assessed in a collaborative process that involves many stakeholders such as the community leaders, the NGO staff and the regulatory bodies in-country.
  • We have progressive ideas about the structural determinants of poverty and the implementation of 'clever aid' to create sustainable benefits.
  • We don't take people's jobs, we use these trips to invest in people.
  • We fulfil the criteria of Fair Trade Volunteering.
  • Our projects and programmes determine the trip, not the other way around.
  • We believe in what we do, and we have the experience to carry it out.

Extra Info

This is a Development project dealing with the effects of deforestation in the rainforests of Borneo

MORE INFORMATION

This is an International Development project primarily aimed at combatting the effects of deforestation in the rainforests of Borneo. Moving Mountains Borneo has established a tree planting programme and also an initiative of cataloging the indigenous plants and their properties. This will involve further developing relationships with the local Penan people and recording their knowledge of the flora and fauna. Groups will also assist with the tree planting programme by acting as volunteer staff in the nurseries. We also need to collect data on the trees already planted and help us with qualitative analysis of how the project is affecting the local people.

DATES DESCRIPTION

The trip is a three week stay in the village. Volunteers will arrive in Miri initially and then travel by road and river to the villages where they will be in homestay and going on short trips into the jungle with the local Penan people and our guides.  Life is slow in the jungle but you will have time to properly experience this culture, talk to people and visit their villages and see how they live their lives. You can go to the local church with the community, go fishing and hunting, see how they make blowpipes, and of course help in the tree nurseries and go to visit the logged areas where the saplings have been replanted. It is a big experience and much depends on the weather and conditions at the time. Sometimes during seeding season everyone is busy collecting seeds, other times you will join the villagers in the local school or just going about their daily business. It is really a great chance to remove yourself from our way of life and immerse yourself in a culture very different from ours. Your trip fee is going directly to the local people to help give them a revenue to the local village co-operative, while your fundraising directly employs the villagers to do the seed collecting and tree planting.

ROLE MODEL

Without doubt you will witness the strong links between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and the communities that you are placed in.  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. You need to appreciate what responsibility you are taking on in this respect and to conduct yourself in an appropriate way. Don't be afraid of this, it's simply something to be aware of. Most cultures in developing countries are naturally conservative and traditional, but they are also fun-loving and naturally demonstrative and curious, so you might be surprised by just how much they fit in with our culture.

Also, don't forget that they will be a role model to you, this is not a one way process where you get to do all the giving! Actually, you may be surprised to find that the person benefiting the most is you. The staff who work for MM and AA are all inspirational and motivated people, highly educated and passionate, and many of them came from very difficult backgrounds. Their life story will amaze you, and their natural positive attitude to life will mean that they will almost certainly become a role model to you as well.

THE PROMISE TO MOVING MOUNTAINS

Moving Mountains started as a small charity in 1991 when founder Gavin Bate was teaching in the slums of Kenya. It now runs programmes and projects in Kenya, Nepal and Borneo. We want you to be a part of it, but we ask that you respect our system. We have rules, which include not giving ‘things’ to children and not making private arrangements for personal sponsorships or gifts or money. The local communities respect a system that doesn’t just hand it out, but gives them a chance to become owners of something successful and long-term, like any self-respecting person. It’s easy to fall into the trap of responding to an emotional response and just handing over money, but that isn’t aid and it doesn’t actually help. What helps is clever expenditure of money, a strategy to spend it properly, and the realisation that money is hard to come by in any society.

Your trip is enough to make a difference. It’s part of something successful and inspiring, and it’s part of a vision that somebody had a long time ago. Your promise to us is to let that vision continue.

ADDITIONAL KIT INFO

Females will have to dress conservatively in public and especially in schools and the childrens homes. You will draw unnecessary attention to yourself and maybe cause offence if revealing clothing is worn.

Also don't forget:

Your passport - valid for at least six months beyond the return date.
Insurance - comprehensive travel and medical insurance cover.
Immunisation booklet - with details of all the jabs you've had.
Passport photos - take about six of these to be used as identification
List of emergency telephone numbers - to cancel/call insurers, credit/debit cards
Tickets and itinerary - remember to leave copies of these with friends or family
Money - a mixture of some cash, travellers' cheques and credit cards.
List of useful contact numbers - such as British Embassy/Consulate, insurance company and credit card 24 hour emergency telephone number.

Photos

You Might Also Like
Dates and Booking
Click here to request custom dates
Key Information
  • Duration 3 weeks minimum
  • Numbers 1 - 5
  • Altitude
  • Distance
  • Challenge
  • Comfort Homestay, jungle camps