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Mountain Lioness Scholarship

Mountain Lioness Scholarship

Mountain Lioness Scholarship

The literal translation for the Swahili word Ngumu” is “tough”. This is a common word we use to describe the courageous, trailblazing female porters that defy social stigmas to work alongside their male counterparts and climb to the top of Africa’s highest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

For years, female porterage has formed a vital component on our Kilimanjaro treks. One year on since we shone a spotlight on the life of Ngumu women, the Exodus Travels Foundation are proud to be partnering with Robertson Outdoor Bursary to sponsor 30 women to train and qualify as guides to the ‘roof of Africa’.  

The scholarship itself was named after Lucia Kivoi, nicknamed “Lioness”, because of her pioneering spirit as a Senior Guide and woman who helped to spearhead the acceptance of female porters on Kilimanjaro. The programme helps these ambitious women take five crucial modules taught over a three-week period, to help them gain their Guide License.

Covering Mountain Ecology, First Aid Emergency Care and Wilderness Rescue, this training provides women with the essential guiding skills to become fully certified. Becoming a porter may be all in a day’s work to some, but it’s a life-changing occupation for each and every woman on the mountain. It offers them a stable income so they can help support their families and pay for their children’s education in the communities surrounding Kilimanjaro.

In November 2020, we were pleased to announce that the first 10 Lionesses graduated our Mountain Lioness Scholarship programme and obtained their guide licenses. You can read their story here.

They were followed by a further 8 in November 2021 and 12 more graduates across 2022 and 2023. The final 2 women of the 30 will be undertaking their training in April 2024, which is a cause for huge celebration. We’re not stopping there! We are excited to be supporting the Scholarship beyond 2024 in providing further training and guiding opportunities for these trailblazing women.

£25 could pay for one woman to undertake one day of Mountain Guide training. To support these incredible women on their journey to becoming Mountain Guides donate below.

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