The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project or KPAP as it is more commonly called celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and if you are wondering just how important it is to book your Kilimanjaro Climb with a KPAP Partner Company, you should take a moment to read the newly released facts and figures below.
KPAP has changed the Kilimanjaro climbing industry, and for all the right reasons, with porters receiving up to 45% more than they did just ten years ago. They are setting new standards in terms of daily salary, working conditions, and food on the mountain, and they are reducing the load on porters by ensuring they never carry more than the 20kg maximum weight requirement set by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority.
KPAP, a not-for-profit organisation, is an initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC). Its sole mission is to improve the working conditions of Kilimanjaro’s porters by advocating for fair wages and ethical treatment, offering educational opportunities, lending mountain clothing to porters free of charge, and eliminating the practice of bribery that has riddled the industry for years.
It took a while for the initiative to take off, but it is flourishing now, with partner companies not only meeting the guidelines set out by the KPAP but exceeding them by voluntarily raising salaries and increasing porter meal provisions to ensure they get three meals per day.
Here are just some of the things KPAP has achieved since 2009:
- Increased porter salaries from 9,000 to 20,000 Tanzanian Schillings per day. That’s $3.80 to $8.70 at the current exchange rate.
- Reduced average bag weight by as much as 10 per cent.
- Increased the percentage of porters receiving two meals per day from 52% to 99%
- Reduced the percentage of porters paying a bribe to a mountain guide or climbing company to get work from 16% to 3%, however, this only applies to non-partner climbing companies. Between 2014 to 2019, there were no reported cases of porters paying bribes to secure work with KPAP partner companies.
Alas, there are still hundreds of Kilimanjaro climbing companies out there who are not partnered with KPAP, and if you book your expedition with them, you can be almost certain that your porters are not being paid a fair wage, not receiving sufficient food and clothing for the expedition, and they may have paid a bribe just to be there.
While we all have a budget, we all have a conscience too, and if you want to climb Kilimanjaro responsibly, you should select a climbing company partnered with KPAP, and if you have any spare change, donate to this amazing cause.