KILIMANJARO PORTERS NEED BETTER CARE

Those who have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro know that the porters are the heart and soul of your trek. Without their hard work and strength we would not be able to fully experience the magnificence of Kili. But the truth is porters are often impoverished Tanzanians who depend on this labor-intensive employment in order to feed themselves and their families.

Porters can be severely underpaid and many climb Kilimanjaro without adequate clothing, footwear, or equipment. Like climbers, porters can suffer from altitude sickness and hypothermia. In fact, in September 2002 three porters died of hypothermia when a late season storm hit Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project recognizes the value of the demanding labor these porters perform. We are committed to improving the working conditions of the Porters on Kilimanjaro. Whether you are a climber, porter, guide, or managing a tour company, the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project needs your help in ensuring fair treatment of all porters.

In our experience we have found that many companies climbing Kilimanjaro do not have adequate standards and some of the myths listed below may be commonplace. However, there are some within the industry who strive to treat their porters well. The International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) has instituted a Partnership for Responsible Travel Program. The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) performs the monitoring activities for Kilimanjaro to ensure that these companies are in compliance with IMEC and KPAP's Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment. We urge you to consider these Partner Companies when choosing an outfitter to climb Kilimanjaro.

We are experiencing instances of companies using our organization's name on their website who have not been accepted as a Partner for Responsible Travel. For a current list, please visit the Partner Climbing Companies section of our website.

MYTHS ABOUT PORTER WORKING CONDITIONS

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THERE IS A MININUM WAGE THAT COMPANIES ARE REQUIRED TO PAY ALL PORTERS CLIMBING KILI.

The Kilimanjaro National Park and the Tanzania Tour Operator Associations have established 8,000Tsh per day, at the very minimum, on all of the climbing routes as the wage for porters.  But the crew can be paid less than this minimum rate. Because a little money is better than no money, porters will accept the work, but the pay may not add up to a living wage.

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PORTERS EAT THE SAME QUALITY MEALS AS CLIMBERS DO.

Porters often eat just one meal at the end of each day, primarily a local corn-porridge called "Ugali".  

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PORTERS HAVE A CONTRACT WITH THE COMPANY THEY ARE WORKING FOR.

Seldom is there an official contract for working as a porter. A company employs the guide who then is responsible for hiring the porters. Porters can even be taken into service the morning of the climb itself. And many companies hold no responsibility for the porter if he should become ill while climbing.

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IT IS EASY FOR A PORTER TO CLIMB MOUNT KILIMANJARO.

Climbing Kili is just as hard work for porters as it is for climbers and they are carrying at least 25 kg (55 lbs) of luggage including their own gear. The Kilimanjaro National Park recommends that a porter carry 20 kg for the company but the average reported weight is 23 kg and can be as high as 30 kg.

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YOUR TIP WILL BE DISTRIBUTED FAIRLY TO THE PORTERS IF YOU GIVE IT TO THE GUIDE.

KPAP receives many reports that when tips are not handed directly to the porters they may receive only a portion of the amount that was intended for them.

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PORTERS ARE PROVIDED WITH PROPER SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS.

Porters are often overcrowded in the huts and tents. On the camping routes they may have to sleep in the mess tent which means they must wait, sometimes in inclement weather, until all climbers are finished with their meals.

JOIN NOW AND BECOME A PART OF EFFECTING CHANGE FOR THE PORTERS ON KILIMANJARO.

Kili Porters