When checking out various companies for climbing Kilimanjaro, it’s very important to inquire how they take care of their porters on the mountain. Since porters have been abused in the past and there have been little rules to govern porter treatment, it’s important to make sure that the companies are taking active steps to insure that they are paided well, have adequate clothing and are not carrying weight above the legal limit.
Inquire about each of these things before booking with a company. Many local companies will pay you lip service and tell you everything is fine, but since many of the porters are independent contractors, you will sometimes show up on the trail and see your team of porters poorly dressed and carrying too much weight.
Every year, a few porters die on the mountain, and there has been an increase in the last few years. A few NGOs around Kilimanjaro and in the United States are trying to address these concerns. Check out this article about the recent porter deaths by National Geographic.
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IMEC, who has an office in Moshi, has started a cloth lending bank, and does educational classes on english, first aid, etc.