By the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project.
Recommended guidelines for proper porter treatment
- Wages: The recommended wage is 6,000Tsh/day for the Marangu route and 8,000Tsh/day for all other camping routes.
- Loads should not exceed 25 kilos: Porter carries 5 kilos of his own gear and 20 kilos for the company.
- Porters receive the full amount of tip intended for them: A transparent tipping procedure in which each crew member receives his tip directly is the best method to ensure this.
- Porters are outfitted with proper clothing
- Porters have proper shelter and sleeping equipment: Each porter is required to have a sleeping bag and is provided with adequate space in the sleeping quarters.
- Porters are provided with food and water: Porters should be given adequate water and at least two meals a day while climbing Kilimanjaro.
- Number of crew should stay consistent throughout the trip: Porters should not be overloaded in order to send other crew down early.
- Sick or injured porters are properly cared for: An ailing porter should receive the same treatment that a sick climber would.
How You Can Help Ensure Proper Treatment
1. Make sure your porters are outfitted with appropriate clothing: Porters need adequate footwear, socks, waterproof jackets and pants, gloves, hats, sunglasses, etc. Clothing for loan is available at the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project’s Office in Moshi.
2. Fair wages should be paid to the porters: The Kilimanjaro National Park recommends 6,000Tsh per day on the Marangu Route and 8,000Tsh per day on all of the other camping routes. Ask how much your porters are paid and if it includes food. Showing you care that your porter gets paid a fair wage will encourage all operators and guides to treat porters fairly.
3. Make sure porters have proper food and water: If they are required to purchase their own food, wages should be increased accordingly.
4. Check the weights of porters’ loads: The Kilimanjaro National Park recommends a total of 25 kgs. which includes the porter’s personal gear. The porter carries their own day pack which is assumed to be 5 kgs. The load they carry for the company should not exceed 20 kgs. By checking that the bags are the recommended weight you ensure that the guide is using the correct amount of crew. If additional porters need to be hired make sure that the tour company is paying EACH porter their full wage when you return.
5. Count the number of porters every day: Know the number of people in your crew. You are paying and tipping for them. Porters should not be sent down early as they will not receive their tips plus the other porters are then overloaded. Lighter loads due to less food are okay!
6. Make sure your porters are provided proper shelter and sleeping arrangements: Where no shelter is available, porters need proper sleeping accommodations that include tents and sleeping bags. Sleeping in the mess tent means that the porters have to wait, sometimes in inclement weather, for climbers to finish their meals.
7. Ensure that your porters are given the tips you intend for them: If you give the tips to 1 individual you run the risk that they may not give the full amount to the crew. Collecting group tips and then tipping directly ensures that they receive the proper amount. Or make sure your tour company has a transparent method of distributing tips.
8. Take care of any sick or injured porters: Porters deserve the same standard of treatment, care, and rescue as their clients. Sick or injured porters need to be sent back with someone who speaks their language and understands the problem. If available, porters should also be provided insurance.
9. Get to know your porters and thank them: Some porters speak English and will appreciate your making an effort to speak with them. Basic Swahili language cards are available for free at the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project’s Office in Moshi. The word “pole” (polay) - which translates loosely as “I’m sorry for you” - shows respect for porters after a hard day of carrying your bags. “Asante” (asantay) means “thank you”.
10. Report any instances of abuse or neglect to the project by email
Find out more about the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project
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