Home Institution

Middlebury College

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Nepal: Development and Social Change


This project sought to determine what the labor conditions of porters working in Annapurna are and the factors both immutable and human-influenced that shape them. To do so, I interviewed government bodies, national and regional trekking organizations, unions, agencies, guides and porters to ascertain what issues a broad term such as “labor conditions” encompasses. Participants highlighted the importance of insurance, wages, weight carried, equipment, access to employment, job training and topography as important factors. I will argue that large advocacy organizations shape these issues, and therefore the porter market, at a national level. Discrepancies in employment experiences between porters are therefore only somewhat shaped by region; more influential are the employers, who apply, ignore, or distort nationally set labor standards. While this paper will focus on large organizations, their policies, and the application of those policies by agencies, other “objective” factors such as topography and the new road from Pokhara to Jomsom and Muktinath will be examined as well.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Civic and Community Engagement | Collective Bargaining | Finance and Financial Management | Inequality and Stratification | International and Comparative Labor Relations | Labor Relations | Other Business | Unions | Work, Economy and Organizations


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