About Moving Mountains
We are registered as a charity by the Northern Ireland Charity Commission under reference NIC100742.
The Trust was formed on 13 March 2002 and is governed by its Trust Deed signed on 1st January 2002 and further amended by special resolutions dated 11 May 2003 and 1 November 2005. The registration with the recently formed Charity Commission for Northern Ireland happened on 12 February 2015.
- Chairman - Gavin Bate
- Secretary - Chris Little
- Treasurer - Andrew MacDonald
- Trustee - Susan Birkett
- Trustee - Dot King
Three of the UK Trustees have been involved since the inception of Moving Mountains and they all meet regularly to provide strategic direction, governance and oversight for all the stakeholders and donors.
The UK Trustees work closely with the staff and committee members of MM Kenya and MM Nepal. Together we have been part of an evolving model of development and collectively we have many years of experience in the ‘third sector’. MM UK provides grants to the MM operations in-country, as well as training, capacity-building and management skills.
We prepare our annual reports and end of year accounts which are presented to the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and independently examined.
|2019 - 2020||Financial Statement||Annual Report|
|2018 - 2019||Financial Statement||Annual Report|
|2017 - 2018||Financial Statement||Annual Report|
|2016 - 2017||Financial Statement||Annual Report|
|2015 - 2016||Financial Statement||Annual Report|
|2014 - 2015||Financial Statement||Annual Report|
|2013 - 2014||Financial Statement||Annual Report|
|2012 - 2013||Financial Statement||Annual Report|
|2011 - 2012||Financial Statement||Annual Report|
|2010 - 2011||included in report||Annual Report|
Disclosure of Information
The Trustees who hold office confirm that they have taken all the steps that they ought to have taken as a Trustee to make themselves aware of any relevant financial information and to establish that the relevant authorities are aware of that information.
Statement of Trustees' Responsibility
The Trustees are responsible for preparing the Trustees’ report and the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and regulations. In preparing the financial statements the Trustees are required to select suitable accounting policies and apply them consistently, observe the methods and principles in the charities SORP, make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent, and prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the charity will continue its activities.
The Trustees are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records that are sufficient to show and explain the charity’s transactions and disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Trust. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Trust and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.
The Trustees are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the financial information included on the charity’s website. Legislation in the UK governing the preparation and dissemination of financial statements may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions.
The Trustees are satisfied that the major risks identified in the main areas - financial, governance, operational, compliance and external – are mitigated through proper and comprehensive planning and operational decision-making, management systems, insurance cover, specialist advice and holding appropriate levels of funds for residual reserves.
The risk management assessment is monitored regularly by the staff and by the Trustees. The Trustees have also considered any potential conflicts of interest and the implications of the Bribery Act 2010.
Grant Making Analysis
Decisions on grants to Kenya and Nepal are made by the Trustees. Trustees approve grants or fund projects which demonstrate public benefit within the remit of the Trust objectives. In addition, the Trust actively looks for projects or programmes that show leverage through involvement and additional funding from local authorities and other organisations.
We work hard at Moving Mountains to get it right with how we run the charity in the UK, our professionalism and due diligence, and how we handle donors money. This page describes our main principles:
- Our Values
- Hand out or leg up?
- Working with our partners
- Rights based approach
- Proper funding plan
- Capacity Building
- Social Enterprises
- Conservation projects
- Community 0wnership
- Gender equality
- Value for money
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Measuring our impact
- Recording the change we make
- Supporting our volunteers
We believe that it’s not enough to simply say that we want to ‘do good’, we have to have the knowledge and expertise and experience to manage developmental issues. We need to interact with partners and stakeholders who can help us, instead of acting in an insular way thinking ‘we know best’. We do this with a set of values:
- Compassion - we don’t treat people anonymously; everybody has a story which deserves understanding and personal attention.
- Integrity - we act with fairness and with a belief in doing things the right way.
- Equality - we help people realise their dreams and ambitions without discrimination
- Collaboration - we work in partnership with communities and have a ‘level playing field’ view where local ownership and shared responsibility is uppermost in our minds.
- Confidence - we give people the confidence and self-esteem to believe in their potential.
- Participation - nobody likes to feel as if they have to face the world alone and we work hard to make Moving Mountains a ‘family’.
- Transparency - we monitor our impacts, justify our expenditure and report back to donors.
We don’t want to fall into the trap of ‘handout aid’, our purpose is to create the circumstances in which individuals and communities can prosper, which includes generating wealth and promoting social enterprise, and providing direct support where necessary.
We achieve this with a ‘bottom up’ policy that starts with supporting the family, and enabling the people of the community to build the livelihoods they need. We have many heart-warming stories of families breaking out of the poverty cycle, communities turning their villages around, forests being regenerated and successful individuals gaining tertiary education, careers and living their ambitions.
Working with our partners
We equip our partners with the means to set up their own local Moving Mountains non-profit and encourage local management and participation in all the programmes and projects, and local ownership. This model has been very successful and ensures equitable partnerships. We also adopt a ‘start small, think big’ mentality which allows projects to progress organically over a long period, and this has generated a high level of trust and shared accountability.
Rights are usually expressed in legal terminology; at Moving Mountains we want to ensure that above all compassion and the need to be loved and respected is at the heart of our work. We adopt the 'rights based approach' to social development, and we uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development which states that: "The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realised.”
Our principles are that:
- Human rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away from someone or voluntarily given up.
- Everyone is entitled to their rights regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property ownership, caste, birth or other status.
- The right to education affects the right to work and the right to good health, and vice versa. This helps us to link the root causes of problems to the symptoms of the problem.
- Everyone is free to contribute to and participate in the development of their communities.
- We accept our obligation as 'duty bearers' to deliver rights to our beneficiaries and the responsibility for the impact it has on people's lives.
- We co-operate by sharing information with other duty bearers, undertaking transparent processes and hearing people's views.
- We accept our role to be driven by our obligation to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of people and to be accountable to those people in this regard.
- We hold that a person whose rights are unfulfilled, such as the right to food, education, health, participation, freedom of speech, is a poor person; therefore poverty is more than a lack of material resources but a consequence of exclusion and powerlessness.
- We don't regard development and the realisation of human rights as separate things; development is part of the process of fulfilling human rights.
Moving Mountains Trust is focused on spending in the right ways, on the right things, and in the right places.
Getting the relationship between the charity and the beneficiary right is critical, and a lot of time is spent assessing the consequences of our actions using realistic frames of reference and establishing an agreement of funding with aims and reporting.
We use a system of online budgets and payment spreadsheets for everyone to see and use, and at least three of the UK Trustees are in continual contact with the operations in-country to ensure that the funding process is monitored throughout. All payments from the UK Trust to Kenya and Nepal are receipted and accounted for.
Having said that, money is only ever part of the solution, especially when children are involved, and we work hard to make sure that other values are instilled into the MM family spirit such as compassion and of course equality.
Our strapline claims to change lives and we try very hard to ensure our work is not misunderstood and has a positive long-term impact on the beneficiaries. To ensure this happens we employ people with a wide range of skills. Our main funding stream is for teachers, medical personnel, counsellors and social workers who teach life skills and act as mentors to young people and their families.
We take young people through all levels of education so that the outcome is a rounded person with a vocation in all sorts of professions, from accountancy to agricultural management. Capacity building is therefore essential to our success, as we help people become the architects of their own success through education and training.
We view our capital projects as investments in the community, or seed capital for social enterprises which enable people to break out of poverty through business and benefit their community. This approach builds self-esteem and is culturally acceptable.
Social enterprise is a driving force for income and progress and increased quality of life in the areas where we work, and our funding helps to achieve this in a way that is consistent with the values of the people that live there.
We work with the local Government authorities and offer our assistance in the 'bigger picture'. Villagers and communities make a significant commitment to the project, which might be in the form of land or labour, but ultimately our work contributes to a national aim which avoids the pitfall of building a 'white elephant' which fails because of lack of collaboration and understanding.
Another objective in our trust deed is the protection of natural resources and we have worked hard to learn about the technicalities of difficult tasks like reforestation in remote areas.
We fund the expertise in order to enable the local people to understand the problems and source the technology which might help provide the solution. In the case of our forest enrichment project in Sarawak, we took practical steps to employ people to collect seeds and eventually transpose saplings into logged areas, ensuring the correct variety of plants and trees.
We also invest in technology which helps to prevent deforestation, for example in Nepal where we buy and install specially designed cooking stoves that use less wood and produce no smoke in the home. Again, we find that a holistic and collaborative approach to complex issues, without imposing solutions from afar, is the best way forward.
We work on the belief that the development of community assets contributes to a thriving civil society and ownership is a big part of community development. It's not just about owning assets such schools, community centres and renewable energy assets, it is also about the self-management of those assets and how they contribute to wider social goals, eg. empowerment, regeneration, well-being and 'place making'.
Community means local, resident-led and usually neighbourhood-based organisations that are neither public nor private and usually operate on a not-for-profit basis. We work with a number of organisational models such as community based organisations (CBOs), village co-operatives and community development trusts. We believe that without these structures in place, most development projects fail; the issue of ownership has to be clearly agreed in the planning stages so that the community understands it's responsibilities.
We have worked hard with each of our regional NGOs and the local communities to establish strong relationships based on trust and transparency. Different cultures have established ways of handling the concept of community ownership, and our role is to ensure that local voices are heard, and there is a fair distribution of influence over decisions; equally it is important to agree who will be affected by the process and the outcomes of a project.
Getting it right means agreeing on the strategic interests of a community and how everyone contributes to the aim or goal. Community ownership in itself builds trust and promotes learning and participation, and acts as a strong example for others to follow.
We recognise that gender equality and the empowerment of women are important goals in their own right and vital to poverty elimination. We don't just make it an emotive or personal response to the issue of gender though, we make it a structural part of the charity with awareness training and promoting attitudinal change amongst all our staff, plus making sure that we conduct informal audits about attitudes and programmes on the ground.
All our initiatives must demonstrate consideration of gender issues which are relevant and appropriate to the context of what we are doing. We make sure that there are no barriers or threats or risks for women or girls, this includes disability and ethnicity. Having said that, equality does not mean that everyone has to be the same, we need to embrace diversity and the richness of human life. This means that our central tenet of empowerment and equality means equal visibility, empowerment and participation of all sexes in all spheres of life. Development at its core should be governed by both men and women. We do not promote a bias towards women, but rather an unbiased approach towards men. This is a much easier way of looking at inequality and less threatening to some people.
Of course gender differences are socially defined and differ between different countries and cultures, so they are not fixed and therefore can be changed. Clearly we have to tread carefully, but we use this description between equality of opportunity and equity of outcomes as an assistance:
"Equality of opportunity means that women and men should have equal rights and entitlements to human, social, economic and cultural development, and an equal voice in civil and political life. Gender equity means that the exercise of these rights and entitlements should lead to outcomes which are fair and just. This distinction is important because it underlines the rights of women to define for themselves the objectives of development and to seek outcomes which are not necessarily identical to those sought and enjoyed by men."
(DfID - Department of International Development - UK AID)
Our work is dedicated to the goal of reducing poverty and we aim to deliver value for money in everything we do on behalf of our donors. We are determined to ensure that every pound we spend has the biggest possible impact on the ground.
Value for money (VFM) is about striking the best balance between the “three E’s” − economy, efficiency and effectiveness, and this is what we aim to achieve with all the money we spend on behalf of our beneficiaries and also our donors. We think about using our resources well and we are very careful in projecting figures over a long period of time so that we never have to cancel any of our programmes. Since our ethos is all about long term sustainable development we try to engage our donors in this way of thinking, rather than short-term-ist solutions.
Like any good organisation managing it's finances and outcomes properly, we employ a rigorous process before every planned expenditure. The question of what the funds are supposed to achieve is as important as the amount spent, and we want to ensure that any financial assistance is valid and managed well, and that those we put in charge of development projects are always seeking to make it work better. Fundamentally we want to know whether the money will result in our presence eventually being unnecessary, so we adopt standard concepts of impact mapping to help us make informed decisions. We are also fortunate to have Adventure Alternative covering the vast majority of our administrative costs.
Nowadays there are plenty of aid sceptics who claim that aid is wasteful, and therefore it is important for us to provide clear numerical evidence for how our money is spent and what have been the outcomes. At the same time some people dismiss VFM as impractical and even inhumane. We aim to prove that the reality is somewhere between the two extremes by finding the right balance between economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
We don't monetise everything and apply a cost-benefit analysis to every expenditure. The quality of the outcomes is fundamental to understanding whether something is providing value, so we are not always looking for the cheapest option or the biggest cost saving. However we do want to reduce inefficiencies in how aid is managed so that it can achieve good development results.
The reality is that assessing value for money is not easy in a development context, partly because of getting reliable good quality data in some areas, and partly because there is a lack of consensus on value for money for whom, of what and from whose perspective. Our belief is that by properly working together with all our stakeholders and making collaborative decisions with each of the people who manage our NGO in each country, we are doing our best to ensure that all of the money in Moving Mountains is well spent.
We are part of the Beyond 2015 Campaign for a global civil society which aims to bring together groups from developing, emerging and developed economies in order to promote a strong and legitimate successor to the Millennium Development Goals. The Goals which came out in the Millennium year of 2000 are due to expire in 2015 and they will be replaced with the Sustainable Development Goals, which underpin our work along with human rights.
Moving a mountain takes a lot of time and effort by a lot of people all working together. Changing people's attitudes towards development in terms of the future of the world sounds fanciful and probably impractical, but if everyone could contribute equally to a consensus of opinion then history shows that great things
Sound financial management in charities matters, and understanding how charities spend their money is a key driver of public trust. Every penny has to count and be accounted for, and all the projects and programmes should be evaluated and justified and have a purpose that complies with the objectives of the charity.
In Moving Mountains the Trustees take collective responsibility for managing the charity’s resources and justify the expenditure by providing evidence of need from the regional MM organisations. Trustees are not distant to the operations of each ‘MM’ in Kenya, Nepal or Borneo, but are involved on a daily basis with details such as proposals, cash flow and financial reporting.
Expenditures are discussed on a continual basis and all the information is held on cloud so that everyone has access to see and edit documents. Our communication is a big part of our success in managing funds safely.
We take the view that our money has to be earned, evaluated and accounted for, or else it stops. We try not to use the word ‘aid’ because of its associations with ‘free’ money, and we work hard to ensure that money is only ever a part of the solution to any problem.
We want to show how our funding creates measurable change through proper reporting. We ask ourselves questions like "what is the value of our work?", "what would happen if we stopped our work?", and "what are the developmental goals and the specific aims of the programme?".
Too many charities create reliance and complacency, so we also look at the sustainability of our work into the future. All of the projects on this website display a timeline or history, which is important because it shows when we began and when we stopped our support. Our impact needs to have a beginning, middle and end.
One of the ways to make sure that this is understood is by having agreements which are witnessed by all the stakeholders, defining who does what and who gets what. This is all part of establishing the parameters of a successful development project, and it prevents so-called 'white elephants' which are all too common throughout the developing world.
We collect information on all our programmes, mostly informally through a continual discourse with the regional trustees. Data is collected in a number of ways which are relevant and sympathetic to the communities and area being visited. Some of it is handwritten on forms, some of it is online, some video and photographic.
Quantitative data is slightly easier – for example, number of children in school. Qualitative data is harder to collect and understand – there are different meanings to the phrase ‘quality of life’ for example, and we need to be careful not to impose foreign concepts of happiness, achievement, progress and so on to people whose perception of life is different. This interaction between us and the beneficiaries is why we love what we do. Over many years those beneficiaries become friends and colleagues and it's much easier to gauge the 'rightness' of what we do.
Our local MM organisations help us a lot – they know exactly what it means to feel secure, stable, happy or inspired. The volunteers who come out often find themselves learning about these differences in life values because we ask them to get involved with our staff in collecting data and helping us evaluate our work.
Our staff are medically trained and experienced in first aid and health and safety, and the guides receive specific training in altitude-related illnesses and how to cope with an emergency. The staff all carry mobile phones and satellite phones if necessary. On the mountain trips we carry pulse oximeters, oxygen bottles where necessary on the higher mountains and first aid kits which are regularly checked and replenished.
We work hard to ensure that all of our staff adopt high levels of sanitation and hygiene, especially with regard to food and water. Food is stored and transported carefully, and bought fresh from local trusted suppliers. We always check the restaurants and lodges that we use for their standards in food hygiene. Drinking water is provided from the kitchens boiled and strained and we promote a policy of not buying and using disposable plastic bottles where possible.
For school and youth groups and volunteers we always provide training in health and safety prior to the trip, and general advice on how to manage yourself personally while on a visit abroad. This is then emphasized again on arrival in country and our staff are always careful to ensure that people are looking after themselves. They have a long experience of looking after foreign groups and understand the pitfalls of travelling abroad for the first time.
When we start corresponding with people about their trip we aim to make sure the group works well together and our staff are well experienced in managing all types of people and keeping everyone happy and satisfied. Nobody feels anonymous and our staff in the main office and in the regional offices communicate all the time about upcoming groups and personal preferences.
For school and youth trips we provide a higher number of logistical staff and also male and female pastoral care staff with specific experience and qualifications in looking after young people. These might be teachers or youth workers, social workers and of course medical professionals. Volunteers and charity groups and school groups are all provided with personal care and training in preparation for their trip.
Many of our trips are scheduled for groups, but we provide just as many trips for private groups who have preferences for dates or itineraries. A large part of our time is spent creating these bespoke trips, for which is there is no additional cost. We find this is especially useful for charities, since we do not impose contractual conditions for this service.
Our policies and documents form the administrative backbone of our charity and especially for the protection of children and also any volunteers.
Some of our standard policies are below:
- Equal Opportunities
- Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection
- Participant Code of Conduct
- Health and Safety Policy
- Human Rights Policy
The Trust has a reserve policy which is to provide sufficient capital to continue its grant-making programme and support future expenditure plans, and also to build up its unrestricted reserve to manage against unforeseen circumstances such as economic uncertainty. The Trustees believe that the unrestricted reserves should be maintained at a minimum of £50,000, and this policy is reviewed quarterly.
Zero tolerance policy
The Charity enforces a Zero Tolerance strategy for abuse against trustees, staff members and beneficiaries. All personnel have a right to care for children and carry out their duties without fear of being attacked or abused. Nobody should be required or feel obliged to deal with any person either face to face, over the phone or in correspondence, who is exhibiting threatening, abusive or violent behaviour. In any of these circumstances he or she has the right to refuse to deal with that person and should refer him or her to their immediate supervisor.
To successfully provide our services, a mutual respect between all the staff and beneficiaries and volunteers has to be in place. All of our staff aim to be polite, helpful, and sensitive to individual needs and circumstances. They would respectfully remind volunteers that very often staff could be confronted with a multitude of varying and sometimes difficult tasks and situations, all at the same time, and to respect the manner in which those situations are handled.
Threatening behaviour is defined as, but not limited to, threats of violence to members of staff or any other person which is, for example; sexist, racist or homophobic; including intimidating tone and language, swearing and/or aggressive body language. Using bad language or swearing at children or staff is unacceptable as is physical violence towards any member of staff or other children within the setting, such as pushing or shoving. Racial abuse and sexual harassment will not be tolerated within any of our settings. It is forbidden to drink alcohol, smoke or use any form of drugs in or around children at any time.
Persistent or unrealistic demands that cause stress to staff will not be accepted and we ask you to treat our staff and beneficiaries courteously at all times.
When you donate to Moving Mountains or volunteer with us you will be asked to provide personal information, including title, first name, last name, address, social media handles and email address. Information is stored on this website and is only accessible via a password protected login.
Moving Mountains does not have access to your credit/debit card details, this information is held by our payments processor, which is either Virgin Giving or Justgiving.
The data we keep is only to allow us to send you information about the work of the charity or your role as a volunteer and/or donor. Only necessary data is shared with our partner NGOs in Kenya and Nepal, that being information which is absolutely relevant.
If you would like to know what information we hold about you or how your data has been processed, you have the right under the GDPR to submit a Subject Access Request by emailing or calling us.
Gavin Bate founded Moving Mountains during many years of travel, expeditions and work around the world from 1987 to 1998, mostly in developing countries.
He worked on ships bound for the scrapping beaches of India, Pakistan and China, hitch-hiked extensively in developing countries and spent most of his time travelling and going on climbing expeditions.
A solo expedition to walk across the Sahara Desert in 1987 led to further travels around Africa, mostly on foot or by local transport exploring most of the countries on the continent and sometimes driving overland trucks full of young adventurers.
Gavin settled in Kenya where he worked with a number of humanitarian agencies involved in delivering aid to Ethiopia, Somalia and Rwanda. Being a truck driver driving aid for these agencies meant that most of his friends were Kenyans and he lived in a small 'banda' in the nearby forest next to the huge Kibera slum outside Nairobi.
This led to working ad hoc for organisations like Medecin Sans Frontieres building clinics in the slums, and also for national programmes to rehabilitate street children back to their families and into school. This in turn led to working in a number of slum schools and running a number of after-school clubs (reading, sports, hiking..) which were all part of an initiative to give these children a sense of normality and consistency in their lives.
Many of those children who were just five or six years old at that time are now educated adults who still work for the charity and the company and have children of their own. Moving Mountains in Kenya began during those years of working in the slum schools and eventually grew to support several thousand children, mostly from the proceeds of Gavin's climbing and his company Adventure Alternative.
Gavin also travelled and climbed extensively in Nepal, eventually climbing Mount Everest six times during the years from 2000 to 2011. Through a friendship with Ang Chhongba Sherpa he travelled to the small villages in the solu Khumbu during the Maoist conflict and lived amongst the Sherpa people, influenced by the issues facing those mountain communities.
As a mountaineer he used his income from Adventure Alternative and the donations raised from climbing Mount Everest to support the Sherpa communities with hydro electric power, water, monasteries, schools and business capital.
Gavin wanted the name of Moving Mountains to reflect the overwhelming difficulties that many people face every day in their lives. It also reflects the difficulty of overcoming the dangers of stereotypes and complacency and inequality when it comes to development. Through his many years travelling and living in those communities, their resilience never failed to inspire.
The priority was always to provide help which did not anonymize people and to provide a long term commitment to help people move mountains in their lives in order to become the architects of their own success and achieve their potential.
The first logo below, designed in 1991, reflected the focus on street children in Kenya, and the second more modern logo was brought in during a re-brand in 2015.
Gavin has used his expeditions to raise money and awareness of the charity. "If my adventures in climbing mountains can help some people move mountains in their lives, then they will all have been worthwhile endeavours".
The six Everest expeditions raised around £2 million over eleven years. In 2000 the charity was registered in the UK and Gavin asked long time colleagues Christoper Little and Andrew MacDonald to become trustees. Over the years they have remained true to the values and ethos of the charity and there are now two other trustees involved, Susan Birkett and Dot King.
Nowadays the bulk of the fundraising comes from groups visiting the areas where we work to help support the programmes and get involved. Volunteers, medical students, school groups and fundraising teams now work alongside a very dedicated group of people who provide standing orders each month in order to keep the work of the charity going.
MM Kenya and MM Nepal
Over time Gavin helped to set up local NGOs in Kenya and Nepal, run by local committees who had worked for a long time with Gavin and built up a lot of trust. Like many organizations which have developed slowly and organically over many years, Moving Mountains has built a great network of friends and supporters.
“I wanted Moving Mountains to stand for something equitable, inspirational, and genuinely thoughtful in how it tackled social, economic and environmental issues" says Gavin, "we were never going to offer a glib response to complex issues, but attempt to learn and find solutions together. Choosing the right people to help me has been a journey in itself.”
In Kenya many of the children who Gavin met during those formative years living in Kibera are still involved, helping to run a small but successful NGO based on honesty, trust and an understanding of what works in terms of long term development. Those people are themselves the products of the charity, and they now bring up their own children without the privations that they once suffered.
Left: Kelly Kioko was one of the children who went to Muthurwa School when Gavin was there; he was supported all the way through school and college, eventually working for the company and charity.
Right: Now a father of three, Kelly is still a tour guide for Adventure Alternative and an ambassador for the charity.
In Nepal the original friends that Gavin made during the early years are still managing Moving Mountains Nepal and helping to develop the region of solu Khumbu. The work has completely transformed an entire area and brought about huge demographic change. Where before the villages were dying, now they attract new families looking for clean water supplies, electricity, good schools, a clinic, a monastery and a strong community.
Gavin with Pasang Tendi, Geljun and Ang Chhongba who have all been managing MM Nepal since 2001. They still meet regularly in the villages.
The villages of Bupsa and Bumburi in the solu Khumbu where all the work has brought so much positive change.
In the mid 1990s the charity branched out into various other areas of work, including building a hospital in the Ukraine and also funding a tree planting project in the forests of Sarawak for seven years.
Left: For several years we funded the renovation of this hospital in south Ukraine, and bought an ambulance and equipment for the staff there.
Right: In Sarawak we funded the seed planting and transplanting of around 49,000 saplings into logged forest.
The charity is still focused on child education and providing a holistic care to the family and community, and over the years Moving Mountains has built many schools and a children's home, funded feeding centres and early child development centres. It has supported many teachers, social workers, counsellors and professionals to help the child beneficiaries. In Nepal and in Kenya it is in many places the only source of support and employment for many such people.
In July 2012 Gavin was nominated to carry the Olympic Torch in recognition of all the good work that Moving Mountains has done over so many years. He was also given the Points of Light Award by British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Adventure Alternative is the travel company that Gavin Bate started at the same time as the charity, and it has supported Moving Mountains with almost all of its administrative costs in the UK, Kenya and Nepal from the beginning in 2001. The total estimated amount of this support is £30,000 per year. Three of the trustees in the UK work for Adventure Alternative and provide their time for the charity freely.
As a registered tour operator Adventure Alternative is our provider for the ground handling of any fundraising trips or volunteers or school groups. AA organises the transport, staffing and various other activities outside the remit of the charity as well as offering the necessary financial protection for any money that donors or volunteers pay in the UK to the company.
Also Adventure Alternative generates tourism revenue in areas where Moving Mountains works and therefore operates much like a social enterprise. It promotes jobs and business. For example in Nepal the villages we work have become popular places for tourists to visit. This joint approach of capital investment from the charity plus employment and revenue from the company has been very successful over many years and has led to complete regeneration in some places.
A main tenet of Moving Mountains is our belief in the power of investment in social capital and social enterprise to provide long-term incomes and self-esteem. Adventure Alternative is the perfect partner to the charity and the two organisations have worked together from the beginning. The model has won awards and plaudits for its straightforward approach to business and development.
It is however important to say that none of the trustees of Moving Mountains benefit financially from the link with Adventure Alternative, even though three of the trustees are employed by the travel company. The company has been set up in part to act as beneficial partner to Moving Mountains and we can confirm that there is no conflict of interest in the relationship.
Legality of Running charity trips abroad
Any organisation that provides transport, accommodation, flights or activities must comply with the rules that are there to protect the consumer. That includes having liability insurance and insolvency bonding. Therefore Moving Mountains contracts Adventure Alternative to provide these ground services and ensures that any money given to the charity for those services is protected under the package travel regulations.