If you have climbed Kilimanjaro, you will have witnessed first-hand just how hard Kilimanjaro porters and cooks have to work to enable us to have a comfortable climbing experience.
Carrying our luggage, our camping equipment and enough food supplies for the duration of our trip, Kilimanjaro porters, cooks and mountain guides are fundamental to the success of our climb, but many have inadequate clothing and shoes and receive less than $10 per day from their employers.
Fortunately, there are organisations out there such as KPAP (the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project), who work hard to improve the working conditions of our porters and mountain crew.
An initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection, a non-profit organisation based in the US, KPAP was registered as a Tanzanian NGO back in 2003, and has been helping Kilimanjaro Porters ever since.
The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project has a long list of objectives, including:
- Equipping porters with appropriate mountain climbing gear
- Raising public awareness regarding proper working conditions and treatment of Kilimanjaro Porters
- Providing Kilimanjaro climbers with up-to-date information so they can choose to climb with a socially responsible climbing company
- Setting Tipping Recommendations for Kilimanjaro Porters and Mountain Crew
One of the easiest ways to ensure you are climbing with a reputable and recommended Kilimanjaro climbing company is to look out for the KPAP or the IMEC logos on their website, if it is not displayed, your porters may be working for less than the minimum wage and climbing without adequate clothing and food.
Other ways you can help is by donating any warm clothing, boots, walking sticks, water bottles, and mountain equipment once you have finished your climb, and by tipping the recommended amount directly to each porter.
Kilimanjaro Porters really are the unsung heroes of the mountain, and I can honestly say that without them my trip to Uhuru Peak would have been virtually impossible.