Voices from the mountain

Posted: 14 May 2008

The London-based Panos Institute has been working with community organisations in selected highland areas training local people to record interviews to communicate their personal experiences on a range of mountain issues from deforestation, development schemes, especially dams and mining projects, tourism, and migration. The result is a wealth of material - vivid, challenging, full of human detail and variety.

coverOver 250 testimonies have been collected, transcribed and translated to date from countries as wide-ranging as China, India, Nepal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Peru, Mexico and Poland. And, as part of its Oral Testimony Programme, Panos has started to produce a series of booklets based on these testimonies.

Each collection in the Voices of the Mountain series contains a fascinating blend of anecdote, information, history, culture, knowledge, opinion and experience. These absorbing accounts illustrate the complexities and realities of mountain living and bringing the day to day challenges faced by ordinary mountain people to life.

As the pace of development accelerates in mountain regions, so the social and physical environment is changing. Yet the demand for mountain riches - timber, minerals, water, tourism facilities - is more often driven by urban, lowland populations and industry than by highland communities. Mountain people are the custodians of diverse, sometimes unique, environments essential to the survival of the global ecosystem. Further erosion of their ability to care for those assets will be the world's loss, not just theirs.

Copies can be downloaded in pdf format and are available free to the media and to resource-poor organisations in the South. Otherwise, copies are available for £5.00 plus postage and packaging. Collections are published in A5-sized booklets, 50pp, maps, photos, index, glossary. To order please contact

The oral testimonies are from:

  • Cerro de Pasco, Peru;

  • Southwest and northeast China;

  • Wollo, Ethiopia;

  • The Lesotho Highlands;

  • Mount Elgon, Kenya and

  • The Sudety mountains, Poland

  • Nepal

  • Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh, India

  • The Sierra Norte, Mexico

  • The Karakorum, Pakistan
These can be found on the Mountain voices website, and can be searched by theme or location. On each of the location pages, you can find the Voices of the Mountain publication to download.

Related link:

Panos Oral Testimony Programme