Every year some 50,000 people attempt to summit the mountain. About a third or more don’t quite make it. Whether or not you stand under that triumphant sign has a great deal to do with the quality of your guide and porter team.
The minimally-staffed but very proactive not-for-profit Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project or KPAP was formed in 2003 to attend to the needs of porters who annually make multiple treks up this magnificent mountain.
In times past, those porters, many, if not most, of whom come from farming backgrounds, didn’t always have the proper clothing or gear, or even food to sustain them as they carried often huge loads of tourist gear to the camps.
KPAP has worked hard to change all that through a variety of projects, including a Partner for Responsible Travel Program in which all companies are welcome to participate. These Partner companies have committed not only to improve porter conditions but also to being monitored as to whether or not they actually maintain those conditions. It’s an extraordinary job. But it has paid off in better conditions for the porters who often have done the most work for the least pay.
Now KPAP is working closely with its partner companies to inform and support mountain porters, guides and the wider community who depend on them during this unprecedented crisis.
This is an excerpt from an article by Julia Hubbel. Read the full article on Medium: ‘What now, of the Kilimanjaro Mountain Crew?