Climbing Kilimanjaro for Charity

A growing number of Team Kilimanjaro’s climbers are nowadays climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. While of course many of our climbers will climb Kilimanjaro with us without our necessarily knowing that they are raising money for charity while they climb, we suggest that it may nonetheless be in the interests of their cause to let us know, if they are happy to do so. Indeed, for some climbers the knowledge that climbing Kilimanjaro for charity may allow them to offset some of their own fundraising costs may be instrumental in their decision to climb, if they are in any doubt at the outset as to whether they are in a suitable position to finance their proposed fundraising trip.

How To Climb Kilimanjaro for Charity

Once a climber has decided which charity they wish to climb for, they simply complete our fundraiser’s registration form. This form requires the climber to submit an image that they wish to be featured on their campaign page, and compose a short piece of text about themselves and their campaign.

Once we receive the completed form, we then begin work on creating a customised campaign page for the fundraising climber and email a link to this page for them to post on their Facebook page (if they have one), or simply to share in turn with family, friends and work colleagues.

Register as a Fundraiser >>>

Climbing Kilimanjaro for Charity with Team Kilimanjaro


ikirwa-school-constructionThere are two schemes in which prospective Kilimanjaro fund raisers may be interested, that operate under Team Kilimanjaro’s aegis. Option 1 serves climbers who have already chosen a charity for which they wish to climb, and allows the climber to receive only limited assistance from TK, whereas Option 2 is dedicated to climbers who are still looking for a suitable beneficiary, would like to support a cause that is of benefit to the Tanzanian people, and are therefore happy to dedicate their campaign to one of the three Tanzanian charities that we work with, and value the opportunity to have their costs significantly subsidised.

Kilimanjaro Fundraising Option 1 - Climbing for Your Own Charity

If climbers can evidence that they have raised in excess of USD 17 per day spent on the mountain (or currency equivalent) for a local charity of their own choosing, we will refund USD 17 per fundraiser per day of the climb cost. Therefore, assuming for example that a climber books a 7 day trek and raises in excess of USD 119, we will refund them USD 119.

In order to receive this refund, while a climber is in Arusha, we need to see evidence that this amount has been raised and given to the nominated charity. On receipt of this evidence we will then make a cash refund of the quoted amount direct to the climber.

Where climbers are not able to provide this evidence, or where they choose to have the refund payment made by any means other than in person as cash, they must accept that while we will instruct payment of the full amount, the amount they receive will be less than the full amount, if the chosen method applies its own transfer / transaction fees. In this instance, Team Kilimanjaro will not be liable for any shortfall against the quoted amount and, typically, these transfer costs may constitute a significant fraction of the amount being transferred.

Kilimanjaro Fundraising Option 2 - Subsidised Climber Costs

Under this option, and in line with Charity Commission guidelines, the charity will use a maximum of 49% of whatever sum is raised by fundraising / sponsorship to pay for the climb, with the remaining 51% remaining with the charity.

children-at-ikirwa-waterfallTherefore, if a climber wants to climb at no personal expense, and assuming for example 4 people book to climb the 7 Day TK Rongai route @ USD 2,041 per person and have no additional or upgraded  accommodation requests, if they were able to raise USD 4,165 they would then pay this amount to Nanapai who we would invoice USD 1,922 for the discounted climb cost (with TK contributing USD 119), and Nanapai would keep the balance for their charitable causes, and there would be no personal payment necessary from the climber towards their climb costs. The climber would, of course, have to cover their own flights, visas, and any costs not normally included in a TK climb.

Similarly, if a climber is able to raise USD 2,000, then USD 980 could be used towards their climb costs, with the balance of USD 1,020 going to charity. In this case, as the climb costs are USD 2,041 per person, the climber would personally only need to pay the additional USD 942 (as TK would contribute USD 119 towards the fundraiser’s costs).

In the case of a very successful fundraising campaign, if a climber is able to raise USD 10,000, this would be paid to the charity, who we would invoice for the USD 1,922 climb cost, and USD 8,078 would be kept by them for charitable causes.

maasai-herdsmenObviously, while many have a very purist attitude towards fundraising and would like 100% of all the money that they raise to go directly towards the charitable work of the organisation they are supporting, and may therefore have qualms about a charity-subsidized fundraising system, they should please be assured that generally speaking,

1) most charities that claim that 100% of funds raised are used exclusively and directly for the cause intended, will usually need to have achieved some rather specious semantical trickery in order to maintain these claims, or else be staffed entirely by volunteers, enjoy free rent, electricity, transport, etc, etc.

2) when compared with the costs involved with UK and US charities, we believe that even with charity-subsidised fundraising, probably a far higher percentage of funds raised will ultimately benefit the cause when working with Nanapai. For comparison’s sake, their total monthly staffing and rental costs are currently USD 445 or GBP 280. It is worth reflecting on how many UK-run charities that maintain full time staffing and premises are able to keep their costs this low. There are probably none.

3) most charities (including those we work with), when wanting to do whatever they can to ensure the highest level of help is afforded to those they are trying to serve, will rather prioritise pragmatism over purist concerns, and would rather pay out a percentage of their receipts as fundraising costs, than receive far less funding in total, albeit via donations that reflect 100% of the amounts donated.

4) the overt mission of certain well-known and well-funded charities is largely to support the creation of sustainable jobs in impoverished regions where it is felt that the raw deal suffered by locals can most effectively be offset into the long term by what they refer to as economic empowerment. With this in mind, it could almost be construed as within the charitable remit of a fundraising campaign to consider many of the fundraising cost components as ‘charitable’, since the fundraising climb itself will be instrumental in the creation of jobs for people who have few alternative work prospects in areas where they would otherwise face severe economic hardships.

On reflection then, both TK and the charities that we support would far rather that a climber should raise funds for their work on a costs-subsidised basis than that they should not raise any funds at all. Those considering Option 2 are advised to learn more about the charity by visiting their website:

Nanapai >>>

Featured Charity | Nanapai - A Charity Founded and Run by Maasai Community Leaders

Team Kilimanjaro has become closely involved with Nanapai, a Community Based Organisation registered with the Ngorongoro District Council. What has attracted us to Nanapai is the respect and obvious love of the founders – Lazaro Saitoti and Lemra Kingi – for their people, as well as their extreme frankness, their honesty, and of course their concept of service. We find such qualities to be rare amongst charitable organisations in Tanzania.

The Attractiveness of Nanapai & the Illogicality of Condescending Western Attitudes

Team Kilimanjaro has difficulty identifying with the philosophies and concepts of service that are espoused by the vast majority of well-meaning foreign-run charitable and voluntary organisations that work in East Africa, because we believe that their apparent innate sense of cultural superiority is misplaced and damaging to the interests of the people they are motivated to assist. We regret that these words may sound harsh and do not want to disparage any of the good work that is being done but we cannot avoid confronting the fact that we are frequent witnesses to damage that results from a kind of mentality that seems to have inherited the same sense of moral authority as the British Victorian missionaries, yet without any claim to having any source for this authority.

nanapai-registration-numberThe effect of what we believe is the unconstructive and illogical driving philosophy for many of these works, is to on the one hand show fascination and respect for the culture of the people being helped, but essentially to betray a deep-seated disregard for the value and relevance of this culture as it pertains to the civic reinforcement of a safeguarding of a value system that has for a long time ensured that – by our estimation – Africans have enjoyed better internal tribal / civic / family relations than those of their western counterparts within their own respective ‘tribes’.

With due and sincere respect for ‘western’ culture (to speak very broadly), our argument with organisations that aim to motivate changes – that are essentially cultural – within the groups that they serve and which draw their values from their own culture, is that they ought first to be required to prove that the moral, ethical, cultural, philosophical and doctrinal standards upon which they frame their arguments for change, have resulted in a superior quality of life (as opposed to consumption rate) than that which is already enjoyed in the beneficiary community, before looking to impose these standards on Tanzanians. To illustrate our point, and with no particular appeal to any specific moral paradigm, our concern about the logic of the always tacit but manifestly nigh-ubiquitous assertion of western cultural and moral superiority, may most succinctly be understood by considering some of the following statistics.

To summarise our concerns with an uncensored transposition of the modern secular western moral paradigm into Tanzania, speaking generally, westerners:

  • have debt-reliant lives, with the average UK family having USD 12,560 of unsecured debts;
  • regularly use decision-making mechanisms that result in the fragmentation of their and other people’s families. In the UK 45% of marriages end in divorce, according to the ONS;
  • suffer widespread alcoholism with 38% of white men aged 16-74 in the UK being ‘hazardous’ alcohol users, as defined by the WHO;
  • have teenagers who are commonly addicted to some means of escaping the realities and responsibilities of normal life, via illicit drugs (12% of Brits aged 17-24 are reported as being on cocaine), alcohol or video-games (9% are addicted);
  • are generally relatively unhealthy, (51% of 20-24 year olds in the UK have smoked or now smoke cigarettes), and largely overweight (61% of Britons are overweight and 23% are obese); and suffer from a high incidence of disease (38% of Britons born this century may expect to contract cancer);
  • are wasteful. Britons throw away a third of all the food they buy according to WRAP, and are poor stewards of what others would be grateful to receive. The UK carbon footprint is 8.5 metric tonnes per person versus Tanzania’s 0.2, that is, Britain’s is some 43 times higher

lazaro-saitoti-lecturing-childrenAgain, while we have no desire to be disparaging of western culture, and acknowledge that every country and culture has its problems and challenges, we would only suggest that there is simply not sufficient evidence to support the assumption that many western-run operations seem to work on, that they have an inherently superior culture that ought to be imposed on Tanzanians. From our perspective, while Tanzanians could benefit from some business advice and English tuition if they wish to transact with the outside world, and while those who have been forced away by tourism programmes – in which the government has appropriated their ancient lands to preserve them for tourism – from their original locations and who no longer have access to the naturally occurring medicines that have kept them healthy for generations, may benefit from external help in the provision of healthcare that is as culturally compatible with their traditional way of life as possible, we nonetheless see no sense in which the secular missionary zeal to change the way that Tanzanians think to that of westerners, will bring them anything other than the same dysfunction issues as we enjoy in the west.

Why Nanapai is Different

Nanapai was founded and is administered by two brothers, Lazaro Saitoti and Lemra Kingi. Conversely with many local volunteer or NGO set-ups in Tanzania, these young men are not clever streetboys or fly-catchers with no prospects and looking to capitalise on the kindness and gullibility of foreigners to set themselves up with an attractive ‘administrator’ incomes or lucrative ‘expenses’. Rather, they are very successful community leaders with many assets and an excellent reputation. They own valuable ancestral lands in the expensive Ngorongoro, Karatu and Natron areas and are regularly invited to delegations in South America, Europe and East Asia, to represent their Maasai culture to various international cultural exchange bodies.

maasai-amputeeLazaro and Lemra are extremely proud of their culture and absolutely rooted within it. This fact ensures an entirely different ethos to most other operations. Rather than the usual challenge of trying to work out how to help people without offending them culturally or encouraging practices that would be damaging to them from within the context of their inherited moral paradigm, Lazaro and Lemra are necessarily amongst the world’s leading experts and are therefore both sensitive and informed as to how best to bring help in a way that is as respectful and culturally reinforcing, rather than compromising or damaging, as possible.

We are therefore very happy to work with Nanapai and would encourage climbers to consider very seriously supporting them. Nanapai have a number of areas of benefit and use their funding to assist:

  • Ikirwa School – a local English medium school in a beautiful region on the slopes of Mount Meru, near a waterfall, which climbers can visit before or after their Kilimanjaro climb
  • Maasai villagers, especially the very young and the very old, with medical procedures and healthcare that is respectful to the traditional methods and values of the Maasai
  • local artisans who wish to establish small businesses for their families
  • the creation of schools that observe a syllabus that respects the beliefs and values of the Maasai, rather than imposing foreign dogma and philosophies on students
  • obtaining water for families that have been driven away from their original settlements where water and traditional medicines were available, and who now have to walk an average of some 6km to find water daily

This work is very attractive to TK as we have a great respect and appreciation for the traditional culture of the Maasai and feel that both Tanzania and the East Africa tourism market owe a huge debt of gratitude to these people who have graciously suffered land confiscation and who now struggle, uncomplainingly, to adapt to a semi-agrarian lifestyle which was never naturally their lot, but which they manage incredibly well; surviving in terrain and climates where most would starve and die.

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