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International Mountain Explorers

Explore Responsibly, Empower Locally

aka IMEC   |   Boulder, CO   |  www.mountainexplorers.org

Mission

IMEC is a pioneering organization dedicated to promoting responsible tourism, environmental conservation, and community development in mountainous regions worldwide. With a focus on ethical trekking practices, cultural exchange, and education, IMEC strives to ensure that our mountain adventures leave a positive and lasting impact on both the environment and the communities we engage with. We are currently particularly active in supporting the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project in Tanzania through the Kilimanjaro Responsible Trekking Organzation. This project supports and recognizes local climbing companies who adhere to IMEC's partnership for responsible tourism monitoring partnership program ensuring ethical climbing standards for crew on Kilimanjaro.

Ruling year info

1997

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Melissa Foley

Co Principal Officer

Ms. Karen Capaldi

Main address

PO Box 3665

Boulder, CO 80307 USA

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EIN

84-1348903

NTEE code info

International Cultural Exchange (Q21)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (Q01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project

Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project Established in 2003, the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) is an initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC). KPAP is a legally registered Tanzanian not-for-profit organization. KPAP is not a porter membership organization, or a tour operating business, and does not collect any fees from porters or climbing companies.

KPAP’s mission is to improve the working conditions of the porters on Kilimanjaro by:

Lending mountain clothing to porters free of charge
Advocating for fair wages and ethical treatment by all companies climbing Kilimanjaro
Encouraging climbers to select a climbing company with responsible treatment practices towards their crew. Latest Partner List can be found here.
Providing educational opportunities to the mountain crew
KPAP has Clothing Lending offices in:
– Moshi and Arusha, Tanzania
– Outside of the Machame, Marangu and Rongai gates of Mt Kilimanjaro National Park

KPAP’s Impact

Since 2003, KPAP’s work has had a tremendous impact for porters climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. These include:

Porters on over 30,000 climbs have borrowed KPAP’s mountain climbing gear free-of-charge
Over 6,000 porters climbing with Partner for Responsible Travel companies are ensured fair and ethical treatmentevery year
More than 16,000 mountain crew have participated with KPAP’s free educational and training classes in English, HIV/AIDS Awareness and Money Management
Through funding provided by the Tanzanian Foundation for Civil Society, KPAP has instructed 5,225 porters in classes on Porter Rights
115 mountain crew have received Leave No Trace certification in environmental care of Mount Kilimanjaro
More than 1,320 mountain crew have been certified in First Aid and 69 porters and guides have been trained as First Aid Instructors and have gone on to conduct First Aid Certification courses for additional porters and mountain crew.
Through the Partner for Responsible Travel Program:

In 2014 the Kilimanjaro National Park mandated a minimum daily wage for porters of 15,000 Tanzanian shillings, which amounts to approximately US $7.50. Partner companies meet or exceed this standard 100% of the time compared with non-Partners doing so only 51.6% of the time.
Porters working with Partner companies received a total compensation of US $15 per day from salary and tip versus US $12.27 for non-Partner porters.
Partner porters averaged 2.9 meals per day compared with 2.0 meals for porters climbing with a non-Partner company.
92% of porters climbing with Partner companies say the amount of food they received was adequate compared with just 43% of porters working for non-Partner companies.
For those climbing the camping routes on Kilimanjaro, 95% of Partner porters said their tents were of good quality compared with 70% among the porters of non-Partner companies.
KPAP Website: http://www.kiliporters.org/

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Domestic workers

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

WTM Responsible Tourism Award Supporting Communities During COVID 2021

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The International Mountain Explorers Connection created the Partnership for Responsible Travel Program to recognize those tour operators committed to fair treatment of the mountain crew. Acceptance as a Partner is based upon the climbing company’s meeting the Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment on Kilimanjaro through the monitoring activities performed by IMEC’s local initiative, the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP).

There is no fee or donation required to be a part of the Partner Program. It is a part of IMEC’s mission to highlight those climbing companies with fair treatment practices. Criteria for acceptance as a Partner:

Implementation of systems that ensure fair treatment for the company’s crew.
Demonstration of compliance with the proper treatment guidelines.
Impact of the Partner for Responsible Travel Program

IMEC estimates that 7,500 some porters climbing Kilimanjaro with the Partner companies have benefited in the following ways in 2022:

Although the government has declared a minimum wage, the salary amounts paid are variable and can be as low as 10,000Tsh per day. Because it is mandatory for the Partner companies to pay at least 20,000Tsh per day, the average daily salary payment was 21,000Tsh.
Companies have different tipping procedures and climbers may give the guide the tip money assuming s/he will distribute the tip fairly. It is a Partner requirement to have transparency in tipping and KPAP reviews the tipping procedure on every climb. 95.2% of the Partner companies’ climbs had transparent tipping procedures.
Porters may eat 1 or 2 meals per day on a climb. The Partner companies are committed to providing 3 meals per day with good portion quantity reported on 99% of the climbs.
Porters may have poor sleeping accommodations and be overcrowded. Partner company porters slept in good quality tents and had adequate sleeping space 97.4% of the time.
Partner companies weigh the bags prior to going to the gate. This helps ensure the appropriate number of porters and they are carrying the 20kg weight regulation.
We are experiencing instances of companies using our organization’s name on their website who have not been accepted as a Partner for Responsible Travel. For a current list, please visit the CURRENT PARTNERS section of our website.

All legally licensed climbing companies are welcome to join the Partner for Responsible Travel Program. By choosing to climb with a Partner company, you can rest assured that your porters are taken care of well.

For more information or to register your company, please contact us at [email protected]
Thank you!

Financials

International Mountain Explorers
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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International Mountain Explorers

Board of directors
as of 02/21/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Melissa Foley

All About Africa Sustainability Consulting

Term: 2023 - 2025


Board co-chair

Karen Capaldi

Consulting

Term: 2023 - 2025

Christine Minja Trupin

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/5/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data