Since 2021, we have been collaborating with Glory Salema, Founder of the Tanzania Women Guides Foundation, to help more women join the tourism workforce in Tanzania as porters and guides on Kilimanjaro and as safari driver-guides.
We do so by addressing the root cause of the problem: access to the official certification and to paid employment opportunities.
- We help fund the tuition for the Government Mountain Guides certification course ($400), required to officially guide guests up Kilimanjaro. For each guest who climbs the mountain with us, we donate $200 to the Foundation.
- We hire newly qualified guides as trainees on our Kilimanjaro climb and safari trips so they can work alongside more experienced guides and get the on-the-job-training they need to be hired by all the rest of the companies in Tanzania who won’t employ inexperienced guides.
- We are vocal advocates for women and support the Foundation in its efforts to put pressure on local tourism companies in Tanzania to hire women.
- We employ only female guides and almost 100% female porters on our climbs, and only female driver-guides for our safaris. These guides are role models for little girls who see guiding as a viable job. By employing only women we also shatter the stereotype that women aren’t strong enough or interested in becoming porters and guides and provide a successful business model for other tourism companies.
Previous guests who have traveled with us have asked how they can contribute to the Foundation’s effort and this is how the “Sponsor a guide program” was born.
It costs about $500 for a female guide to attend Mountain Guiding school including the cost of tuition and the lodging / food for the 1-month duration of the course.
For a contribution equivalent to this amount, you can sponsor a Tanzanian woman in her journey to become a qualified mountain guide and later on, a safari driver-guide.
Details of the program
The Tanzania Woman Guides Foundation is a small and nimble organization entirely devoted to advancing women in the travel industry.
Since 2016, it has been supporting women in their journey to become porters and Mountain Guides and has trained and provided financial support for a total of 41 women who are now certified mountain guides .
The Foundation’s overheads and reporting are kept to a bare minimum to ensure resources are used exclusively for training and not to sustain a back-office team.
Glory takes care of most of the activities personally, from recruiting candidates for the 1-year program to supporting future guides during their official course and helping them find jobs.
In order to ensure the most efficient use of the limited financial resources available, only those candidates who have the potential to pass the official exam will be invited to attend the Mountain Guide course on a fully-paid scholarship provided by the Foundation.
Commitment from the guide / Foundation
Fully or partially funding the training of a new female guide gives them a chance to change their life for the better thanks to the economic opportunities that becoming a guide provides.
When women receive an education and have access to better jobs, the entire family benefits. Children of female guides and porters have a higher chance of going to school and are able to pursue secondary and even university education.
By participating in the “Sponsor a guide program” you will provide a scholarship to a Tanzanian woman on her journey towards becoming a fully certified guide.
The program will connect you with the future guide and you will be able to follow her journey:
- Meet and greet. Get to know her story and her motivations before she starts the official training. A video call will be set up for the get-to-know each other.
- Progress updates from Glory during and after the Mountain Guide training via email or Whatsapp. Training happens a few times a year.
- Progress update 6 and 12 month after the training finishes from the guide and the opportunity to meet in person if you visit Tanzania. Communication via email or Whatsapp.
The Tanzania Women Guides Foundation
In 2012, Glory Salema was one of only 2 female guides on Kilimanjaro.
Seeing this major gender gap, she wanted to do something to bring more women to the industry but realized the challenge started with access to education.
The Tanzania Women Guides Foundation was registered as an NGO in 2016 to tackle this gap.
It is committed to training women and connecting them to opportunities in tourism so the future generations of tourism professionals are more gender balanced.
Since 2016, the foundation has helped train 41 female guides on Kilimanjaro, but the gender gap remains.
There are a total of 50 female guides for more than 5,000 men. That means that less than 1% of the guides on the mountain are women. The same percentages are found among porters, where 99% of them are male.
The Tanzania Women Guides Foundations aims to close this gap and achieve a 50 / 50 gender split in the industry, with a special emphasis on mountaineering and guiding:
- Promoting female guides, and advocating for more women to be hired with governmental institutions, industry bodies and the travel industry at large.
- Delivering hands-on training programs, before official training courses and after.
- Providing employment opportunities for women in tourism in Tanzania. Hiring them for safaris and Kilimanjaro climbs and keeping a database of qualified guides to facilitate other companies hiring them.
- Empowering women to work in all leadership positions. Promoting porters to mountain guides and mountain guides to safari drivers and guides.
Become a sponsor
Any amounts and contributions towards the training of female guides in Tanzania are welcome and much appreciated and will be pulled together with other donations to finance as many training programs as possible.
If you wish to sponsor a guide, below are the estimated costs and the various options.
Sponsor the course tuition – $400
The cost of the Mountain Guide certification tuition is $400 to be paid to the government to have access to the 4 week course which includes one week on the mountain proving that you can summit. An official invoice can be provided.
Sponsor the full cost of the training – $500
The full cost to the candidates to complete the training is $500.
- The tuition paid to the Government
- Transportation to and from the Government facilities and to Kilimanjaro for the climb
- Lodging and food for the duration of the 1-month training (students pitch tents for the 3 week training).
Sponsor the full cost of the training and gear – $700
In addition to the tuition and living expenses during the training, guides also need to purchase hiking gear to climb Kilimanjaro. This includes hiking boots, a sleeping bag, a back pack and other clothing and gear that can take them to freezing temperatures.
Most of them will buy second hand gear from stores in Arusha with an approximate cost of $200 per student, in addition to the full cost of the training.
Full 1 year sponsorship – $1,000
The Foundation aims to provide training opportunities to the most remote and disadvantaged parts of Tanzania by going out to those areas to recruit potential candidates in the low season and inviting them to Arusha for a 1-year training program.
Candidates are housed in dorm-style accommodation at the Foundation’s premises and tend to a plot of land where they can grow vegetables and food for their own consumption. This teaches discipline and team work and helps keep the costs down.
During the 1-year program they receive training from Glory on wildlife recognition, customer management skills and English. This program is set up to ensure the success of these candidates in the official Government course.
The total cost of lodging and food for a year is $300, in addition to the $700 necessary for the tuition, gear and living expenses during the Mountain guide course.
If you wish to donate any other amount, it will be added into a common pool of resourced to complement other sponsorships. In this case, you will not have an assigned female guide but instead will be provided with an update on what the funds were used for.
Please select an amount that is a multiple of $10 by picking a quantity from the “Qty” drop down menu. All amounts as much appreciated, big or small.
Life in Tanzania is challenging for women.
Marriage, pregnancy, family and societal expectations and parental obligations may result in a fully trained guide leaving the workforce, be it temporarily or permanently, after completing her education.
By agreeing to sponsor a guide, you understand that the team has no control over the long term success and positive impact of the training.
A guide could work for 2 years, 5 years or a decade, and there are several factors, beyond the Foundation and often the guide’s control, that affect this outcome.