Porter Survey, Nepal October

The following is the conclusion of a neat little questionnaire compiled by ex porter Harikrishna Devkota (email: hari@gmail.com, guidehari@gmail.com ) who has worked for a couple of porter support NGOs in Nepal. It sketches in the concerns and situation Nepalese porters find themselves in. Well done Hari!

Dr Jim Duff

I went trekking for five days during the first week of October 2008 from Jomsom to Muktinath and at the same time I asked a selection of questions to109 porters working on these trekking routes. The following is a summary of their responses.

The youngest porter interviewed was Prakash Rai 17 years old, unmarried from Dolakha in eastern Nepal; the oldest was 56 years old Shyam Bahadur Glan, father of six children from Khotang.

Among all of the 109 porters just 26 were unmarried; Karsang Tamang and Mahendra Gole each have 7 children which is the highest numbers according too this sample survey.

According to the data gathered, the lowest wage rate per day was 380NR received by Ramkrishna Neupane from Nuwakot and highest rate was 1000NR which was received by Pramod Dahal, Gorkha. Similarly the lowest annual income of a porter is 20-25 thousands NR. And highest is 50-70 thousands NR. And according to this data porters carry a minimum 10 kilos and a maximum 40 kilos. Only 19 porters are satisfied with their job; the other 90 porters are dissatisfied because they cannot get regular work or a decent wage compared to previous years.

According to the data, porters who work through trekking agencies have group insurance but very few porters who are working independently have insurance; only a small number of porters take out insurance themselves. Among 109 porters only 47 porters have insurance.

Among 109 porters only 27 are working solely through trekking agencies. 3 porters were working individually according to them, gaining work direct from bus station, airport, hotel, personal links etc. The remaining porters work sometimes through trekking companies and sometimes independently depending on the situation.

Only 12 porters never drink alcohol among 109 porters.

21 porters were using our clothes from Mountain Porters Support Centre, 9 porters bought their own equipment, 7 porters were equipped by their trekking companies and rest of the 72 porters had no means of support.

According to the data, porters spend between 170 NR to 350 NR per day for their daily needs; food, drinks etc while they are trekking. According to the data, a porter can usually expect to work for a minimum of 50-60 days and a maximum of 80-100 days per year. This includes both trekking seasons.

According to the data only 8 porters have never experience any health problems while they were trekking but almost 101 porters were suffered various problems, for example: AMS, hypothermia, illness, frostbite, fracture, avalanche and various other accidents.

Water is life and most important for trekkers while they are ascending but according to the data porters drink very little water. Some porters drink only 2 liters water; few porters drink 4 liters per day but the majority of porters drink only 3 liters or less per day.

Only 33 porters know about Mountain Porter Support Centre and rest of the 76 porters have not known about it. Only 56 porters can speak very few words of English; the other 53 porters can neither read nor write.

Finally I gave an introduction to the all porters about The Mountain Fund/ Mountain Porter Support Centre. I asked them about their expectation of The Mountain Fund/ The Mountain Porter Support Centre and amongst them 54 porters expected various skill development training, 24 porters expected free mountain equipments and the remaining 31 porters expected help for their children’s education and income generation training through the Mountain Porter Support Centre.

Questions to the porters which were asked:

1. Name of the porters

2. Age of the porters

3. Address of the porters

4. Marital status

5. Number of children

6. How much is your annual income in Nepalese rupees?

7. What is your daily wage when trekking?

8. How many kilos are you carrying now?

9. Are you satisfied with your job?

10. Do you have you insurance either independently or through a trekking company?

11. Are you employed through any agency or independently?

12. Do you drink alcohol?

13. Did you buy your trekking equipment yourself or is it provides by a trekking company or another source?

14. On average how much you spend per day whilst trekking on food and other daily needs?

15. On average how many days per year will you spend trekking?

16. Have you had experiences problems such as AMS, frostbite or others?

17. How much water you drink every day approx?

18. Have you heard of the Mountain Porter Support Centre?

19. Do you speak English or any languages except Nepali and your native languages?

20. What support do you want from Mountain Porter Support Centre?

I would like to say thanks to all porters who have given me their valuable time and fact answers.

Similarly special thanks to:

G. P. Neupane and Arun Bhatta; both are my porter friends who helped me to collect all this information during this trekking period.

Kath Sargent, Jim Booth, Alex Smith, Zeynep Meric, Michael and Dawn Taylor who have organized this trekking.

The Mountain Volunteer Nepal family, The Mountain Fund USA, IPPG, Porters Progress USA, Porters Progress UK and all individual and institutional donors, volunteers and friends who are always encourage me to reach a mission and make a difference.

Research by: Harikrishna Devkota

Comments are closed.