The Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation. Its aims are twofold: to provide impartial and independent information to travellers, and to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal through positive impact tourism and outreach project work. KEEP aims to help minimise the negative influences of tourism by advocating and promoting "minimum impact" trekking and through presentations and lectures to travellers and trekking industry professionals. These presentations sensitise visitors and Nepalese to issues of conservation and culture.
In the field, KEEP spreads its message to local Nepalese by offering training and courses on nature conservation, basic and intermediate English for trekking guides and lodge owners, as well as first aid training, eco-trekking workshops and courses on ecological thinking, Positive Impact Tourism, and regenerative handicraft skills. Recently KEEP has become involved in programs aimed at poverty alleviation and the empowerment of women.
KEEP has adopted a two-tiered approach to achieving its goals of working with visitors to Nepal, and working with the Nepalese themselves.
At KEEP's Travellers' Information Centre at its headquarters in Jyatha, Thamel, Kathmandu, visitors can get advice on: trekking and mountain safety, causes of deforestation, ecotourism, the do's and don'ts of Nepalese society and practical conservation tips. The centre also helps national and international students conduct environmental, forestry, and tourism research in Nepal.
Eco-friendly trekkers' items and handicrafts are on sale, as are tasty refreshments in the Green Cafe. A practical water refill scheme helps minimise the pollution from non-returnable, non-recyclable plastic bottles.
KEEP has followed up the success of the Kathmandu Centre with Visitors' Information Centres in Salleri (Solu Khumbu), Sermathang (Langtang/ Helambu), Royal Bardia National Park, and Sikkim (India). Future plans include developing similar centres in the Annapurna area and in the border village of Kakarbhitta.
KEEP also offers courses for local people working in the tourist service industry: mountain safety and first aid, English language, mountaineering and rock climbing, safety-oriented eco-trekking, leadership training, lodge management, sanitation and eco-tourism.