Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Connecting Communities".. Trekking Collective a recognized regional leader in Responsible Tourism since 1988


Unique Cultural Experiences
photocredit: NancyLeeMacDonald

Trekking Collective is an independent tour operator set up in 1988 co partnered by Caroline and Chaiyan they are based in Chiang Mai, the capital city of the ancient Lanna Kingdom which was established  more than 700 years ago. ..."Trekking Collective has followed principles of sustainable tourism and ethical business practise in the vulnerable environment of  Northern Thailand's indigenous hill communities since well before 'ecotourism' became an industry buzzword..." Oliver Hargreave, Chiang Mai based travel consultant,travel guide author and photographer. 

Mountain Trails
photocredit:TrekkingCollective2011

For more than 20 years Trekking Collective's proven track record to date on sustainability for communities has meant developing environmental wareness towards a sustainable lifestyle for indigenous and local  Lanna communities in the far north border areas of the Lanna Kingdom (northern Thailand). As diverse as re planting watershed forested areas in vulnerable mountain environments started in 2001; clean water wells dug to prevent risk of disease and hardship to access an all year water supply in the early 1990's; Emergency food, supplies and interest free loans to villager's whose generations old paddifields, lychee Orchards, homes were devastated by mudslide and flood with no government agency or NGO offering help to villagers and a family whose sons were sadly lost.

Introducing hydrogen fuel cells cutting carbon by 20-30% to company vehicles since 2008, buzzing around Chiang Mai by bicycle for over 20 years, plus daily use of e-scooters  in the old city  to offering an organic locally sourced seasonal menu and supporting community group products available for sale at their offices in Chiang Mai promoting a low carbon sustainable society


Projects Timeline

  • A pleasure to support clean water supplies to  Lisu and Rad Lahu  communities on the Burma border.
  • Sponsoring school children for study materials, first aid kits, sports equipment, blankets and mosquito netting in Chiang Rai province.

    School supplies for 500 school children
  • Emergency rice dried foods and clothing carried to a Karen Village in Wiang Pa Pao district after Homes, Rice Paddies and Lychee Orchards were devastated by flood.
  • Providing pack-ponies for sustainable transportation of crops reducing 'middlemen' costs
  • Interest free loans and Trading with the Villagers
  • Providing basic health and hygiene medicines for All.
  • Successful since 2001. Native Tree species re- Forestation program. First workshop held in Chiang Mai Uni., with many of the group never traveling to the 'capital' and travel issues as no one had ID cards. The community in situ  tree nurseries and classrooms for additional workshops hand built by the Villager’s with 'living’ fencing.
  •  villager's agro forestry workshop, collect and propagate seeds so to protect the last stands of Rattan in the area. A essential forest product for food and Basketry and continuation of traditional skills
  • 2004 Piggy Bank first established with 'super pigs' purchased from Chiang Mai Government breeding centre and transported to the mountains (they were not very happy about this)
  • Shepherd Mead generously donating a new computer to the UN built boarding School, Mae Suai, Chiang Rai province
  • 2010.The Community ‘Cow and Piggy’ Bank. Now a successful sustainable stand alone project with a herd of more than 20 cows.
  • 2010-2015 Community 'Rice Banks'  for village food security
  • August 2011 'Rice Banks have been constructed and maintained by village committees in four communities.
  • On going program for old perscription glasses every type of frame especially children size frames. Poor light and nominal eye checks lead to prolonged poor sight especially for the village elders.
Mixed breed Cows are hardy and forage for food

The Community "Cow and Piggy Bank" project which was generously co supported by their long time guest since 1992 and a good hearted friend Albert Steenvoorden  is now a successful sustainable stand alone project with more than a herd of 20 cows, traded and bartered for necessary goods and health emergencies.
New born calves and piglets are cared for by families with the 2nd born reinvested back in to the 'piggy and cow bank' for another villager to establish a new 'account'. More details in English and Dutch 


Albert Steenvoorden on a personal visit to the Community

Unique Indigenous Community

Khun Eggachai village Chief

 Trekking Collective's main focus from 2010 to 2015 is on constructing and maintaining   'Rice Banks' for village food security  due to the adverse effects from global warming play directly with the people’s daily lives much faster than scientists and any computer models have anticipated. 30,000 Baht generously donated by staff and friends for Snackbar Zeeduin, Netherlands 
More donations mean they can develop a rice bank ‘branch’ for every community, environmental awareness programs, permiculture workshops developing outreach projects to other villages in the area, marketing village organic products, provide building materials and transportation. More Details in Dutch and English
As of August 2011 four communities in Chai Prakan district of Chiang Mai and Wiang Pa Pao district of Chiang Rai with their own 'Rice Banks' constructed and now maintained by the villager's themselves!
Majority decision making by the People with Low Technology solutions are the key elements to all projects. If you wish to directly help the best way is to join one of our trips and enjoy the villagers insightful company or you can become a supporter by contacting community@trekkingcollective.com
Trekking Collective would like to personally thank the many individuals, especially Mr. Albert Steenvoorden and Mr. Sheperd Mead; School groups especially Long Island Uni. USA; University of Washington faculty staff and students; Incentive groups CATHAY PACIFIC and non – governmental organisation (NGO’s) especially FORRU based at  C.M.U. that have given their generous support, energy and expertise to the People.


UN built Indigenous Peoples boarding school receiving
PC donated by Mr. Sheperd Mead



Trekking Collective’s short, medium and long term goals have remained the same, mutual cooperation within communities, supporting sustainable agricultural practices as the main focus with an ethical sustainable tourism business model supporting these objectives.

To get involved directly join one of Trekking Collective's excellent trips as a percentage of payment goes directly to support all on-going community projects with the knowledge that costs and adminisration are kept at a minimum and the value of your money benefits the maximum number of people by the direct actions taken by Trekking Collective by their proven track record.


If you are not joining them for a trip just now, but wish to participate in projects? Human resource contributions, donations and knowledge sharing are very welcome and they follow up your trip with an annual newsletter update containing all co supported community activities over the year.
Add your email and request Bank details

    Mayor of Chiang Mai signing the ' LCLN Peoples Pledge' commiting the city to a low carbon future
    with members of LCLN and other community groups
    Locally, Trekking Collective has been supporting and coordinating 'grassroots' community groups including Holistic Environment Urban Schools Program (HEUSP) and is a founder member of Lanna Community Life Network ( LCLN). LCLN activities include promoting environmental awareness, developing a culture specific ' Peoples Pledge' that more than 3,000 citizens of Chiang Mai have signed to date including the Mayor, Chiang Mai Royal family, organic farmers groups and many regional government offices . HEUSP activities include supporting activities at 4 school within the 3 King's Monument area and the cultural heart of the city. Tree planting, recycling to self support a student’s community bank and a great success a Weekly Organic Farmer's Market  held at an urban government primary school in the old city of Chiang Mai....."Connecting Urban and Rural Communities."
    
    HEUSP Organic Farmer's Market at Puttisopon Primary School, Chiang Mai Old City
    Promoting a healthy Low carbon society !
    

Regionally and Globally Trekking Collective has been lauded a ..."Mekong Champion in Sustainable Tourism"....in the latest official Mekong Responsible Tourism website 2011, funded by USAid and the French Government  it is endorsed by the six regional countries that follow the banks of the Mekong River namly Yunnan, in China, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. Trekking Collective is supported by a Royal Dutch Government Export initiative supporting best practice CBT and CSR businesses from developing nations to connect with partners in the EU