A Brief Summary of the Project:
As part of the 2013 phase of the Porters’ Progress UK-funded Baltoro Glacier Porter Training Project Pilot, Khurpa Care Pakistan (“KCP”) placed three instructors at Paiyu camp (4th stage of the Baltoro Glacier/K2 trek, height 3400 meters) to conduct research with visitors about issues affecting Pakistani mountain workers, mediation disputes affecting porters and customers and lead introductory training on a variety of topics necessary for porters to do their job safely.
The 2013 pilot was a successful start to achieving the goals of the project. Feedback from KCP staff, local stakeholders, and khurpas (low altitude porters) illustrate the desire for an annual KCP presence along the Baltoro Glacier trekking routes in order to raise awareness of the issues khurpas face, help resolve disputes, and improve the safety and well-being of khurpas through better knowledge and skills.
Funding for this 2013 Pilot was received from PPUK in July 2013. The project activities on the Baltoro Glacier began on August 5, 2013 and continued until October 10, 2013. The August-October project dates added logistical hurdles as the peak of the climbing and trekking season in the Karakorum generally extends from mid May to mid July, with visits steadily decreasing in August and September. Nonetheless, demand for training was high and exceeded the number who could be accommodated in each training session. The fact that so many of the proposed targets were met in this short amount of time is testament to the demand for this project.
Despite the shortened season, Khurpa Care successfully completed most aspects of the 2013 trianing proposal. KCP supplemented the planned activities on the Baltoro with additional training and outreach activities in villages of the Shigar valley after returning from the Baltoro Glacier in mid to late October. This included an additional three day First Aid course at the Shigar Degree College for 100 students who also work as porters for income to support their studies.
Notable successes of the 2013 pilot include:
- Conflict management activities
- Excellent outreach with visitors (khurpas, guides, tour companies, foreigners, Pakistani officials) on the Baltoro
- Awareness raising around issues affecting khurpas
- No accidents or porter fatalities this summer
- Effective, well-received training activities along Baltoro
- Considerable enthusiasm generated for annual KCP presence on Baltoro
- Detailed internal record keeping and internal M&E efforts
- 1771 porters attended the training and 740 porters completed all four core training topics
KCP team members wish to express their gratitude to PPUK for providing this opportunity to expand the scope and impact of KCP’s work with khurpas during the summer work season on the Baltoro. While khurpas and their families are among the most vulnerable members of one of the poorest regions of Pakistan, they are also some of the friendliest, toughest, and most proud people to be found anywhere. It is a privilege to be doing good work in a tough region of the world.
At the end of the 2013 Pilot, KCP held a public exhibition of the 2013 PPUK-KCP Pilot activities at the K2 Motel in Skardu that was attended by all heads of the primary government departments in Baltistan. Radio and local media outlets were also involved with publicizing these activities. These successful public connections continue to raise awareness and elevate the profile of all mountain workers in Baltistan.
–Zahid Hussain & Paul Charlton
To download the full PDF Report please click 2013 Khurpa Care Annual Report for PPUK