Exodus Supports Women Of Kilimanjaro With Mountain Lioness Scholarship

Exodus Travels is celebrating International Women’s day with the launch of its Mountain Lioness Scholarship, a new chapter in an ongoing initiative, the Kilimanjaro Porter Project.

The goal is to attempt to increase the number of Tanzanian women working as porters and guides – traditionally male-dominated roles -- in Kilimanjaro National Park.

Created in partnership with the Robertson Outdoor Bursary, African Walking Company, and Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, Exodus’ Mountain Lioness Scholarship will sponsor 10 local women per year for the next three years (30 in total) on a three-week-long course whereby students obtain the qualifications and skills necessary to seek employment as professional guides.

The Mountain Lioness Scholarship’s name is a tribute to the courage and determination of Lucia "the Lioness" Kivoi, one of Kilimanjaro’s first women porters and a featured subject in Ngumu: The Women of Kilimanjaro.

Lucia says that since women began stepping into porter and guide jobs once reserved for men, she’s seen an increase in women’s confidence when it comes to claiming space in the workforce, and that “a lot of women are applying for the jobs.”

This marks a major shift, as women in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania are not typically encouraged or permitted to work as porters or guides. A change in the perception of gender roles on the mountain has begun but there is still a long way to go, and a goal of the Mountain Lioness Scholarship is to assist in removing barriers -- financial and otherwise -- that prevent women from entering the field.

“Empowering women by giving them the tools and qualifications they need to carve out a place for themselves in a male-dominated field is a special thing to be a part of,” says Robin Brooks, Marketing & PR Director for Exodus Travels in North America.

“Collaborating in this way with local women in one of Exodus’ favourite destinations is such a great example of how travel can give back and improve life for the people we meet, places we visit, and planet we explore.”

Mountain Lioness Scholarship recipients will be announced in JUL 2020, and training will begin in OCT. The three-week course will include lectures and practical training, covering topics such as ethical guiding, mountain ecology, introduction to tourism and protected areas, first aid, emergency care, wilderness rescue and tour guiding techniques. The resulting license is a requirement in order to guide on Mount Kilimanjaro.

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