Mount Kilimanjaro porters’ society is a properly established society as it was duly registered on 30th September 2005 as a Non-governmental organization with a certificate no 13296 under the Non-Governmental Organization Act No.24 of 2002 of the United Republic of Tanzania.
In an effort to promote sustainability of tourism in Tanzania, Zara tours partnered with Mount Kilimanjaro Porters’ Society (herein referred to as MKPS). In accordance with this partnership, since that time and to this date (MKPS) porters are assisting Zara Tours clients during Mt Kilimanjaro climbs. This ensures employment for the MKPS porters through Zara Tours. A significant number of Porters support their families and earn their livelihoods through the jobs they get from Zara Tours.
CORE VALUES OF MOUNT KILIMANJARO PORTER’S SOCIETY (MKPS) WORKING WITH ZARA TOUR
Zara Tours as a company, obeys and promotes the rules and regulations as provided by the laws of Tanzania and never at any time has Zara Tours been sued or questioned by the authorities for not keeping and upholding the law set forth by the state.
According to rule 7 of the Mountains National Parks Regulations of 2003 a tour operator and its guides shall only hire or employ porters who are honest, disciplined and trustworthy and who are members of a registered Porter’s association and who shall hold valid identity cards issued by the registered porters Association.
Therefore, Zara tours provides employment to MKPS porters who fulfil the above criteria. Zara ensures quality climbing gear for the porters as well as financial support and advice to MKPS whenever needed.
The Mount Kilimanjaro porters’ society abides to the rules and regulations set forth as follows;
- It provides proper wages to its porters as per minimum wages set by the Labour Institutions Wage Order of 2013 GN No. 196 of the United Republic of Tanzania. Porters are paid more than the set standard wages.
- It provides meals to the porters 3 times a day.
- It provides proper clothing to its porters including but not limited to technical clothing that are required when trekking in high altitude conditions which includes water and wind resistant jackets and pants, gloves, base layers, socks, hats, sunglasses and proper footwear.
- It also provides proper shelter as porters are given access to tents or provided with sleeping quarters, sleeping bags and mats.
- Proper tipping policy is being observed as there are tipping sheets filled by the visitors. Whereas full transparency is observed and the tip is being shared to the group as suggested by the visitor.
- Loads are restricted to reasonable weight limits, which are measured in Zara hotels and confirmed with park authority when they reach respective gate/entry point. As per rule 12 of the Mountains National Parks Regulations of 2003 which limits the luggage to weigh between 18-25 Kilogram.
All the aforementioned corresponds to rule 5 of the Mountains National Parks Regulations of 2003 which provides that each tour operator and his guide shall make sure that all climbers have all necessary, suitable and adequate climbing gears and adequate foodstuff.
The society exists as a shield for porters who are registered under it with the goal of improving the living and working conditions of these porters. The porters gain the following benefits as being the member of the society;
- HEALTH INSURANCE: - With the nature of the work the porters do, it is easy to get sick or injured on the job. Therefore, all porters under Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society are registered on the National Health Insurance Fund to provide them security if they get sick or injured while working. At the beginning of every high season (where there are more tourists climbing Kilimanjaro), Mount Kilimanjaro Porter’s society ensures that all porters are healthy and medically checked, so that at the start of the season everyone is physically fit. This benefit goes hand in hand with rule 8 of the Mountains National Parks Regulations of 2003 which provides that the Registered Porters Association shall make sure that all porters intending to climb any mountain are healthy and physically fit and have justified their fitness by submitting medical certificates. They do this once every twelve months.
- FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT EDUCATION: - Proper methods of saving and spending money ensure that the porters have concrete ways and strategies of spending money, this enables them to better take care of their families. Mount Kilimanjaro Porter’s Society arranges financial management classes for porters occasionally and ensures that all porters have bank accounts where their salaries are paid into. Bank accounts allow the porters to save money for the future, especially during low season when fewer tourists climb Kilimanjaro.
- OPENING OF BANK ACCOUNTS: - the Porter’s society has opened an account at DTB Bank were all porters have their own bank accounts and bank cards, which will help them handle their money better.
- FIRST AID TRAINING: - To reduce the risk of losing lives, for tourists, porters and guides, the porters under Mount Kilimanjaro Porters society are provided with basic mountain first aid training. This enables them to be of help for each other, in the case of an emergency, but also to be effective if a client is ill. The training is usually done during low season because this ensures that there are many porters available in town, allowing the course to attain a high attendance rate.
Apart from the previously mentioned benefits gained by the porters by being the members of MKPS, there also projects set by MKPS which engage the porters, staffs, sponsors, partners and locals and includes the following;
- Mount Kilimanjaro cleanness project; this involves the climbing of Mount Kilimanjaro with the goal of picking up rubbish and other unwanted materials on the mountain.
- Tree Planting Project; It involves planting of tress and educating the community on the importance of trees.
- Car wash; Cars are washed to raise money to support day to day operations of MKPS.
In summing up, Zara Tours observes all the rules and regulations set by the Kilimanjaro National Park towards promoting sustainability in tourism and protecting the rights of all who are involved.
I therefore have good reason to believe that there are many competitive companies which run treks on Kilimanjaro and our 31 years of success in the business is already sending waves to some of our competitors. Unfortunately, they attempt to distort the market forces through foul play and applying unethical techniques on business to destroy the effort of others.
ZARA is one of the Companies owned 100% by Tanzanians hence all the profits gain goes 100% to the development of the country and her people.
Furthermore, we would like to emphasize that MKPS is not a mere society of porters with no core values. We believe that this organization plays a crucial part in the daily lives of all porters and this is due to undeniable fact that MKPS has a number benefits for the registered porters which have been explained and discussed above. ZARA Tours is proud of this and we will continue to support and play an important part in the lives and well-being of all our staff.