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Walking above the clouds

Kilimanjaro Porter Project, Tanzania

Kilimanjaro Porter Project

To anyone who has voyaged to the roof of Africa, Arusha will garner fond memories. The town sits in the shadow of mighty Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, and is home to many who make their living by helping others reach the summit of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain.

Outside of trekking season and during the long (April-June) and short rains (November) employment opportunities in Arusha are limited for porters and guides. To combat the lull of the rains, in 2004 Exodus established three rainy season schools so that guides and porters could improve their language skills, environmental awareness, and customer service skills. Initially, the schools focused on enhancing employment opportunities or developing existing careers.

Since 2004, our Kilimanjaro Porter Project has flourished. In 2010, Exodus teamed up with the Kilimanjaro Guide Scholarship Foundation (KGSF) to provide three-month scholarships for career development courses during the long rains which taught students the importance of wildlife knowledge, tour operations and administration, social anthropology and history, and tourism geography.

In 2019, Exodus enrolled 70 porters on a three-week First Aid training course so that porters were more confident in supporting each other while working on the mountain. Their newfound knowledge also meant they were able to assist with basic medical needs within their own communities whilst not working up in the clouds.  

In 2020, we launched our Leave No Trace Porter Programme which aimed to empower porters through ‘train the trainer’ classes, teaching environmental care, ethics, and methods to 90 porters on Mount Kilimanjaro. These porters will be emboldened with the knowledge and practical skills of environmental protection resulting in preservation of the mountain, which can be taught to further porters through workshops and classes.

When the pandemic hit, we were able to work with our trusted partner, Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, to pivot our support in response, distributing health and money management information to 7,000 mountain crew and funding some subsistence farming training. Whilst tourism remained on pause, we funded alternative income generation training for over 1,000 porters, to help them put food on the table and get through an incredibly tough time.

Since 2022, when the world began to re-open, we have been supporting the delivery of ‘Village Savings And Loans’ workshops that empower participants to better manage money and generate alternative streams of income. These community led, micro-savings classes help the local mountain crew to overcome social and financial barriers and increase economic opportunities. So far, over 100 people have benefitted from the workshops and we look forward to establishing more.

Click the link below to support the Kilimanjaro Porter Project:

Exodus Foundation