Supporting Porters' Rights
Adventure Alternative has a dedicated policy in place to tackle all issues in relation to Porters Rights and beyond that actively campaigns for and on behalf of these great men and women in the various mountain ranges of the world.
The unfortunate truth is that some companies, unknowingly or otherwise, exploit porters and local people in Nepal, Kenya and Tanzania because they pay below the average or recommended daily wage for a man or women to carry your luggage and group equipment on steep trails in the mountains, often without insurance or proper clothing. Most importantly the companies then expect the porter to buy his own food and pay for his own lodging along the way, which can amount to 50% or more of any salary. A porter can come home with a net salary of $10 for up to two weeks work. For us at Adventure Alternative this is wholly unacceptable.
We are partners to and members of:
- IMEC - the International Mountain Explorers Connection
- KPAP - The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project
- ETOG - Ethical Tour Operators Group, Tourism Concern
- And winner of the 'Best Personal Contribution to Responsible Tourism'
Trekking ethics - the 5 guidelines
We follow the recommended guidelines
- 1) Adequate clothing should be provided to porters for their protection in bad weather and at high altitude. This means windproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, long johns, suitable footwear (leather boots in snow), socks, hat, gloves and sunglasses.
- 2) Above the tree line, porters should have access to shelter, either a room in a lodge or tent (the trekkers' mess tent is not good enough as porters are often left hanging around till dinner is finished), a sleeping pad and a blanket (or sleeping bag). They should also be provided with food and warm drinks, or cooking equipment and fuel.
- 3) Porters should be provided with the same standard of medical care, as you would expect for yourself, including insurance.
- 4) Porters should not be paid off because of illness or injury without the leader or the trekkers assessing their condition carefully. Seriously ill porters should be sent down with someone who speaks their language and understands their illness along with a letter describing their complaint. Sufficient funds should be provided to cover the cost of their rescue and treatment. They should never be sent down alone.
- 5) No porter should be asked to carry a load that is too heavy for their physical abilities. Weight limits may need to be adjusted for altitude, trail and weather conditions. Good judgement and careful observation is needed to make this decision. And if you are going to a remote area, select strong and experienced porters!
In addition we pay our sirdars and guides an appropriate salary commensurate with their experience and responsibility so they do not have to take a 'slice' out of porters wages.
This all may sound a bit 'heavy' but it is a real situation which Adventure Alternative feels very strongly about and we continually work to better conditions for porters in all the areas where we work.
Gavin Bate, founder of Adventure Alternative, has been campaigning for years to improve the lives of porters. He has lived, stayed and trekked in all of the countries where we operate for over two decades and has continually invested in the people who he has worked with.
What does this mean?
This means that we have direct control over the way our clients are looked after. It means that you will be in safe and experienced hands. Our teams around the world are paid well and treated properly; this adds to your experience and also allows your trip payment to give those great people who surround and support you on a trek a livelihood which in turn supports their own families.
"I suppose it boils down to the reason why you have an expedition company in the first place - for me it's a way of life and a love of the countries and places where I work and the fact that I have so many wonderful friends there with whom I've shared wonderful experiences. For me to see them earn a good wage, to see this invested in their own lives and to see their children grow up with better opportunities, on the back of running amazing treks in their own countries is heartwarming" Gavin Bate
So help us help the porters so that your holiday is a great experience for you, but an even better experience for the porters!