Currently there is estimated 30 female porters and 4 female guides that are climbing the mountain weekly, out of 1000+ men. Women who climb the mountain go up against various cultural odds, as it is a highly male dominated field. However, we at WHOA believe that a career in tourism will empower these women to be strong, independent, and knowledgeable, both on and off the mountain, and education is the first step to doing so.
In 2015, female adventurer Natalie Trotta came to Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania with the intention of setting up an NGO in the effort to advance the education of several female porters, in the hopes of making them official mountain guides on Kilimanjaro. With the help of many local partnerships, she created FAWK, Foundation for the Advancement of Women on Kilimanjaro, to give women who have grown up below the foothills of this mountain the opportunity to climb it themselves.
FAWK's goal is to educate and elevate the socio-economic status of women mountain guides. The training group seeks out women who have the desire and aptitude to become guides on Kilimanjaro, whether they are already are working on the mountain or have graduated tourism school, and chosen a path to the peak.
The organization has developed strong relationships with several well organized allies in the community. African Impact, a sustainable volunteer organization in Moshi, has been working diligently to provide the women of the mountain English speaking lessons and one on one education on this climbing region.
The training group works diligently to find the right candidates for this program, women who will confidently make the commitment to education, training, proficient English skills, and licensing. With the success of female porter training, the opportunity for employment and education has immediately and directly impacted quality of life in Tanzania for both men and women. When women gain access to quality education, they earn higher wages, benefitting the community at large.
At WHOA, we want to spread this message and encourage the success of all the women who aspire to be guides on Kilimanjaro because we believe the best way for sustainable change is to have a positive impact on local women and their communities. This is why our Kilimanjaro climb is so important to us, because we see first hand the empowerment of women, both from WHOA group and the local community, grow both physically and mentally, on and off the mountain.