Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) update Oct 2010

Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project Update (October, 2010)

By Karen Valenti, Program Director

The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), an initiative of a US nonprofit organization, the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC), is a Tanzanian NGO registered in January 2003.  IPPG’s representative for Tanzania, KPAP’s focus is improving the working conditions of the porters on Mount Kilimanjaro by:

  • Lending donated clothing at no charge to the porters for use while climbing
  • Offering free classes for the benefit of the porters in English, First Aid, HIV/AIDS Awareness, and Money Management
  • Educating the public on the impoverished porter conditions and providing Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment
  • Monitoring climbing company practices and highlighting those adhering to the Guidelines for Proper Treatment through IMEC’s Partner for Responsible Travel Program

KPAP’s Accomplishments

  • Sponsored classes in First Aid, conversational English, HIV/AIDS Awareness, and Money Management with 9,600 porter visits since 2004
  • Trained 30 porters as Community-Based First Aid Instructors
  • Since 2006 certified over 700 crew members in First Aid
  • Outfitted over 9,000 porters with proper mountain-climbing gear
  • Launched the Partner for Responsible Travel Program for Kilimanjaro and currently have 22 local companies enrolled
  • Collected over 5,000 porter surveys on company practices, since 2006, and submit annual reports to the Tanzania and Kilimanjaro National Park Authorities and the Tanzania Associations of Tour Operators.  Please refer to our 2009 Summary Report for our most recent findings.

Partner for Responsible Travel Program

The Partner Program was created to recognize those tour operators committed to promoting proper treatment of the crew.  KPAP monitors company performance on Kilimanjaro to ensure that Partners are abiding to KPAP’s Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment.

This past year the Partner Program has gained particular attention with the climbing public and overseas tour operators’ desire to climb Kilimanjaro with a KPAP approved local outfitter.  KPAP has also received recognition by the Tanzania Tour Operators Associations for the value of its monitoring activities of company practices.  In July the Tanzania National Park granted KPAP entrance into the Kilimanjaro National Park to perform these activities for those climbing companies requesting these services.

KPAP’s monitoring methods include:

  • Porter interviews
  • Porter questionnaires
  • Observation by a KPAP porter during climbs
  • Participation in Company’s briefing
  • Observation of Company’s tipping procedure and salary distribution

Currently 40% of the local climbing companies on Kilimanjaro are participating with the monitoring activities for the Partner Program.  The climbing public’s desire for fair treatment of the crew is having a great effect in facilitating social justice on Kilimanjaro.  For a list of Current Partner Companies please visit

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