Monday, April 25, 2011
As socialtours led the GREEN HIKER GREEN PLANET campaign trek in the Langtang Region of Nepal, it was both one of the few opportunities to engage with a very influential Nepalese audience and a recognition of the socialtours way of conducting business. Three Constituent Assembly members, top environmentalists, social entrepreneurs, development specialists, celebrities were all part of this short trek and the joint organisers of WWF and USAID both showed confidence in us as mountain leaders who can showcase responsibility in the mountains.
No holds barred! It was a full on Responsible Tourism trek from our side. We used local labour as porters and two of our guides were from the area, we used lodges to prepare food, even though a group of 23 meant that some had to sleep in tents, the food was local (to the point of hand made noodles in the Thenthuk, and maize pudding - dhindo - and nettle soup - sisno ko john, potatoes, local cheese), the soap was biodegradable, the tea was organic, you name it… was full on as mentioned above! We were even scolded by the villagers at Thulo Syabru because we were feeding the delegation 'local food'. We followed Leave no Trace principles in camping, and left our camps cleaner than when we came in
And the beauty of all this - everyone loved it, barring a few who were a bit desperate for the Dal Bhat, which we eventually provided at the very end of the four days.
On the main theme, the success was unprecedented.. we experienced sunshine, rain, snow, mud, slippery roads, extreme downhills, landslides, road blocks, extremely long meetings, hospitable villagers, and tons of time sharing experiences and having debates - political as well as environmental. And this had an actual output - a joint decision to work together, and start an active action oriented joint stance on climate change. Exactly what the WWF / USAID mission was.
What a great way to celebrate 50 years of WWF and 60 years of USAID in Nepal! A big thank you to all who participated!
News from the USAID site here
See pictures of the trek here