2018 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report

This has been a busy year and we are proud to report success and progress on a number of fronts, most notably in our Girls in Action (GIA) Program. Through GIA we delivered health education classes to 583 girls and 111 boys in Kathmandu! We also organized hikes for over 200 girls,  informational lunches for 60 girls from three schools, and three seasons (ten weeks each) of  a couch-to-5 & 10k running programs,  purchased running uniforms and sports bras for over 100 girls, delivered menstrual health classes for over 180 girls, and reusable sanitary pads for 96 girls. We did this while working to keep 21 at-risk children in school through tuition, uniform & book subsidies and other school retention strategies. And we did this with less than 5% going toward administrative costs – and all thanks to your support through your donations, expert advise and words of encouragement. Thank you!

Our annual report is organized by our main program areas: Girls in Action, Youth Scholars,  Ad-Hoc and Community Projects, Development, Governance, and Financials. We always encourage participation and value transparency; if something is not clear or you would like more detail, please let us know.  If you are unfamiliar with Wide Open Vistas, it might help to know that we are evidence based, small, and are principled in keeping administrative costs low and program impact high. For more information, read how we got started. If you are one of our valued donors, you may be looking for information about claiming a deduction on your 2017 taxes. Either way, we hope you are interested in reading more about what we accomplished in 2017

Girls in Action

This program was a significant focus for us this year; we hired a half-time program lead (Nikita) and built a comprehensive program designed to empower girls. The foundation for this was created in 2106 by Sonam Shah  who started taking girls who lived in northern Kathmandu on hikes and runs.   Last year, with generous support from our donors,  we formalized and extended this program – hiring a program lead (Nikita), choosing a name ‘Girls in Action’ along with a logo, and developing and implementing multiple approaches to empowering girls.  Nikita is doing a great job leading this program. We are grateful to Sonam for helping plant the seeds for this program; and we are happy to report that Sonam is now living in the USA with her husband and getting ready to start her undergraduate studies. She continues to help and advise us as a volunteer board member.

Girls in Action! Our program lead Nikita (front left) and team!

Girls in Action! Our program lead Nikita (front left) and team!

GIA Running Program

Over the course of 2017, we organized three 10-week seasons during which girls trained for either a 5k or a 10k run. During the first season we had 42 girls finish the whole season and participate in the Kathmandu Trail Race Series 10k run organized by Trail Running Nepal. During the second season – 135 girls registered and 43 girls participated in another Trail Running Nepal race, completing either 5k or 10k routes on August 19th. Take a look at the picture below! Elena won 3rd place in 10k. Pramisha and Gunjan tied for 3rd in 5k race. Way to go girls! For more updates, please see our GIA page.


Our third 10 week training block started on September 16th with 93 girls registered, and a distribution of 100  sports bras (donated by Columbia Sportswear in partnership with Delta Galil). Thanks to Stephanie Gundel (our new board member) for facilitating this.  A total of 25 pairs of running shoes were also distributed to girls in need, as many were showing up in sandals. During this season, an average of 30 girls made it to the weekly training and 27 girls recently completed their race. 

 

GIA Health Classes

Organizing health classes in schools was another big priority in 2017.  We started with building a curriculum. It was developed and conducted by Dr. Samjhana Belbase (who also serves as our current volunteer Child Protection Officer and board member). February found 270 girls from grade 5 to 10 participating in classes were held at Budhanilkantha Higher Secondary School. The curriculum included personal hygiene, menstrual health, reproductive health and family planning.

Later in the year, WOV collaborated with an organization called Shahayam Nepal to organise five day long health classes. This classes included sexual education and self defense classes in 5 schools; where we reached 313 girls and 111 boys.We have added $250 to the 2018 budget to cover the purchase of a projector for these classes. 

Girls observing during a self defense class

GIA Menstrual Health Initiative

We decided to conduct a pilot project to educate and provide reusable sanitary pads (2 each) to 96 girls from class 9 and 10 in Budhanilkantha School. We plan to continue to broaden this project to reach other classes and schools. The total cost for this pilot was 47,650 Rupees (~$476 USD).

Menstrual Health Class

Menstrual Health Class

GIA Professional Lunches

On October 14th, WOV organized its first-ever ‘lunch with inspirational women’ for GIA girls at the Budanilkantha Campus. We were glad to have Ranju Darshana – a youth activist and candidate for mayor in Kathmandu as our guest speaker. Approximately 30 girls attended the session from 3 different schools. The girls were interested on Ranju’s life story and what she had to say. We continue to develop strategies to make these lunches more interactive and provide maximum benefit for the girls.


 

We had our second ‘lunch with inspirational women’ in December, and we were glad to have Aishwarya Rani Singh as guest speaker. Aishwarya is an inspiring young woman who has received “Nepal Bidyabhushan “Ga”” and “Nepal Chhattra BidyaPadak” from Hon’ President of Nepal for being the top student among the entire bachelor program for Kathmandu University. Her life stories are equally impressive and inspiring. Until October, Aishwarya was the President of Women Lead, a non-governmental organization that supports and provides opportunities and skills to young women. The program was attended by 30 young girls from 6 different schools and colleges. Ms. Shova Chetrri, Vice Principal of Budhanilkantha Higher Secondary School joined us and expressed her words of admiration to our participants.

With the objective of the lunches being to inspire and develop self-confidence in girls, the program has been successful. The girls shared what they learned from the session and were happy to have the opportunity to be a part of this program.

Field trips and hikes

In 2017 we had six hikes to different places: Dada Gaon (village), Kapan, Shivapuri, Chisneni, Tarebhir and Jamacho. More than 200 girls have joined our hiking trips.

At the Shivapuri gate, just before we started our journey.

 

Youth Scholars Program

Under the ‘Youths Scholars Program’ we are providing subsidies for tuition, stationary and uniforms to 11 girls and 10 boys. All students receive $200 of annual support plus a medical exam with follow-up. Grades and attendance are being collected quarterly. At the start of each calendar year, we review the previous year with the recipients and contracts are renewed. We have a profile for each student on the Youth Scholars page of the website, and we have direct sponsorship links for scholars in need. Where tuition is less than $10 per month (as it is in the government schools) we have tried to use the extra money to provide hot lunches; however evaluation of this approach found that the lunches were not always reaching the students. Moving forward, we will instead give this money directly to student’s mother with encouragement to use it for lunch food.  

The 21 youth scholars that we support are all doing well. We did medical exams at the beginning of year and signed contracts. In the spring, we enrolled two new girls, bringing our total to 21 students at 9 different schools. Over the course of the year, we spent $3,272 on subsidies for tuition, uniforms, books, and hot lunches. 

WOV new scholar Rina(right) and her mother(left) signing an annual contract with Sonam Shah.

We are proud and excited to have Smriti, a WOV scholar on the board. Smriti helps run different programs under GIA and provides feedback on program areas from the ground. This is a step forward in giving youth scholars a voice in board meetings and gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts directly with the with the board members.

A letter from one of our Youth Scholars

A letter from one of our Youth Scholars

 

In early November we did a goal setting exercise with the scholars. We are working to develop an approach for re-visiting goals and also for getting regular updates from students. Likewise, we have been working on our process for collecting, storing, and analyzing measurement variables like grades, attendance, and poverty index. These will be useful for evaluating our progress and programs and also when applying for external funding. And in December, 17 WOV scholars visited Karkhana , an organization which uses innovative tools and techniques to enhance child learning.  

Goal setting exercise with our Youth Scholars & Parents

Goal setting exercise with our Youth Scholars & Parents

 

Group picture at Karkhana

Group picture at Karkhana

 

Medical Program

We cover a comprehensive medical exam for every student upon enrollment, and at the end of each calendar year at a high quality clinic in Kathmandu (Nepal International Clinic) where we have a discounted rate. Outside of this, few receive quality medical screenings and we feel health is important for succeeding in school. We pay $25 per exam and budget an extra $15 for any follow-up (typically deworming and immunizations). We cover basic referrals and durable medical costs. We have funded vision correction for one student, and we are currently covering thyroid medication and follow-ups for one student. Usually, costs beyond the initial exam are minimal and the remainder becomes part of a risk pool should there be higher costs for a particular student.  We also set aside $1,000 every year as a medical emergency fund. This is all a considerable amount of money in Nepal, but should it not be enough, we will do our best to connect students and families with local resources.Starting next year, we will begin medical screening for WOV scholars in January.

Budget Notes

We spent $2,398.59 on tuition subsidies including lunch. This was out of $2,640.00 budgeted. For books and uniform subsidies, we spent $873.79, out of $880 budgeted. We spent $215 out of $880 for medical exam, as most were done in late 2016.

Community and Ad Hoc Projects

Bathroom 

Using funds raised after the 2015 earthquake we helped build a new girls bathroom at a government school (Budhanilkantha) in northern Kathmandu. We also had a wooden cabinet installed inside the bathroom for supplies. The school keeps it stocked with sanitary products and girls are asked to donate 1 rupee (about 1 cent) per month toward these costs. There are five stalls, all are squat toilets. Each has a water spigot, a bucket and a dipper. On the outside of the bathroom there is a row of faucets for hand washing. Some challenges with this bathroom are keeping it stocked with sanitary pads and clean; the school is taking the lead on these efforts and we are monitoring and doing our best to help. For example, we found that there was a manual process where they had to connect a hose to fill the water reservoir on the roof. We found this wasn’t being done reliably and used $200 to buy a water pump and pipe fitting for the girls bathroom.

 

Development

We had a good first and second quarter thanks largely to fundraising efforts by Linda Quirk, and Sandy and Colin Suckling. They raised funds while doing the Langtang Fastpack with Seth and Sudeep. They also had a great time visiting the students and exploring Nepal. We extend a huge thanks to this trio for their efforts. Also to our stalwart supporters like Nicola Stanhope in the UK who donates monthly through the reoccurring donation mechanism on our donation page. And thank you to every one who has donated. Even a dollar goes a long way in Nepal! 

 

Sandy (in yellow), Colin (with mouth open) and Linda (in between girls) attending a GIA run.

We also want to give a special shout out and thanks to the Ballard High School (Seattle, Washington) Gymnastics Team! This awesome group helped WOV with fundraising in 2016 and this year. Their support is making a BIG difference in for kids Nepal. Thank you for your passion, enthusiasm, and generosity!

Ballard High School Gymnastics Team

Ballard High School Gymnastics Team

Governance

While we have been a registered charity in the US for a number of years, the process is much slower in Nepal. However, we are happy to report that WOV is now registered as a non-profit company in Nepal. Thanks to Gandhi & Associates for helping us on legal side.  We hired a new program coordinator in Nepal, Nikita Thapaliya. We also now have a new Child Protection Officer, Dr. Samjhana Belbase, who is also in the board.  Dr. Belbase, like all of the other board members, volunteer and do not receive any compensation of any manner.

We had four quarterly meetings in 2017, minutes to all can be found here. During those meetings, we had a number of changes to our board structure including: nomination by Seth Wolpin for Stephanie Gundel to the board and into the position Director of Development. Stephanie has been helping out for a couple years and has been one of our principal fundraisers in Seattle, recruiting her girls gymnastics teams to help fund raise.  She has also made two visits to Nepal where she ran with the girls and has a background in nutrition which may be helpful with some of our program areas. She recently worked with Columbia Sportswear to donate 100 sports bras. Big thanks to past board members: Alysha Fung Koehler,  Dorjee Sherpa, Janet Peterson, and Tania Gavidia!

As part of our legal formation in Nepal, and along with our efforts to always have better voices on the board, we have also expanded our board to include the following new members. Legal requirements in Nepal maintain that there are five Nepalis on a Nepali board (Dr. Pranav who was already on our board is also Nepali and represents a sixth Nepali board member). In the coming months we will figure out how to work with two boards while also reducing redundancy!

  1. Smriti Katuwal – Smriti is a WOV Scholar and studies in grade 12 in Budhanilkantha College. We are excited to have someone from our Youth Scholars Program on the board! 
  2. Sonam Shah Thakuri – Most of you are familiar with Sonam. In past she helped run WOV programs mainly Girls In Action in its early beginnings. 
  3. Dr. Samjhana Belbase – Samjhana graduated from Bharatpur College of Medical Sciences last year and is preparing for graduate medical school. Samjhana developed our first ever health curriculum and conducted classes to over 270 girls from various schools early this year. She is also our Child Protection Officer.
  4. Avash Pandit  – Avash is an associate Lawyer at Gandhi and Associates(G&A), one of the reputed law firms in Nepal. He did his LLB from Cardiff University, UK and is a supervisor within the corporate department. 
  5. Ajay Shrestha – Ajay has been engaged as a founder in Bloom Nepal School and is Vice Principal at the school. He has degree in Computer Science from Bangalore University.

Office space

We have a new office space! This is a co-working office space in Kalopul, Kathmandu called ‘Work Around’. WOV is paying $20 per month. Meeting room, WiFi and tea are included. It has been funded through the Ad-Hoc budget, as it was not included in the 2017 budget, but was deemed necessary by the board.

We pay $20 a month for access to this co-working space in Kathmandu

Budget

We raised $18,420.90 and after credit card transaction fees, our net donations were $17,488.52.  These transaction fees, ranging from 2.9% to 6.56% fees were our single biggest ‘expenditure’; if you are considering a sizable, or re-occuring donation, to Wide Open Vistas – please contact us to explore direct deposits to our bank account via paper check or electronic deposits.

Revenue Dollars
Gross via Main Pages & Fundrazr $6,828.16
Net $6,624.32
Percent Lost to Transaction Fees 2.99%
Gross via Crowdrise (Adventurer Pages) $11,098.00
Net via Crowdrise $10,369.46
Percent Lost to Crowdrise 6.56%
Misc Donations – Direct Deposits (Wells Fargo) $494.74
Total Gross Raised All Sources $18,420.90
Net Revenue Raised All Sources $17,488.52

Over the course of 2017, we spent $15,505.  We under spent our budget by $4,114.76.  You could view this as WOV being frugal and saving money; but really a non-profit should (in most cases) be spending the money it has budgeted on various programs, otherwise it may not be fulfilling its mission. How can we account for this? The single biggest area we under spent was in the Girls In Action program, by almost $2,000. The main reason is because we over budgeted for uniforms and shoes, not accounting for girls (and gear) continuing on between seasons. We also over estimated the cost of attending races. Another $1,000  that went unspent was the medical emergency reserve fund for the youth scholars, something we are glad we did not need to spend. In the same programmatic area – we under spent on  the medical exams; this was because these are done once per year and completed at the end of 2016 and we ended up scheduling them in early 2018 – the only costs we incurred in this category were for two new students we added in 2017 and some ongoing expenses for one student who has a minor medical issue requiring monthly testing.

For the ad-hoc fund, we increased the budget mid-way through the year to cover anticipated legal costs for registering as a non-profit in Nepal but these costs were less than expected.

2017 Budget Budgeted Spent
Tuition Subsidies $2,640.00 $2,398.59
Uniform/Book Subsidies $880.00 $873.79
Medical Exams & Follow up. $880.00 $215.61
Medical Reserve Fund $1,000.00 $0.00
Adhoc-project/fund $1,420.00 $979.35
Administrative (Office, bank fees, etc) $300.00 $513.05
Development (fb etc) $500.00 $518.82
Girls In Action Program $9,000.00 $7,017.36
Country Director $3,000.00 $2,988.67
Totals $19,620.00 $15,505.24

 

2017 What was spent and what was budgeted.

 

 

Our biggest expense category is the Girls in Action Program. All of the cost below are in Nepali Rupees – dividing by 103 provides a reasonable conversion rate.

Costs directly attributable to each student Budgeted Unit cost (R) Freq Planned Annual Budget(R) Spent (Main) Spent (Petty) Total Spent Remaining
Race Fees (Transport, entree, snacks, certificate) 400 3 162,000 19,940 63,145 83,085 78,915
Running Gear (Shirt, shorts, shoes, badge) 1,500 1 202,500 114,080 0 114,080 88,420
Costs shared across all students
Health Classes (transport, food, honorariums, supplies) ( 6,810 2 13,620 61,200 522 61,722 -48,102
Field Trips (hikes, transport, food, misc) 5,000 6 30,000 5,276 1,500 6,776 23,224
Lunches with Professional Women 9,240 2 18,480 7,810 6,300 14,110 4,370
Office Costs 15,000 1 15,000 25,796 0 25,796 -10,796
Miscellaneous 1 0 50 0 50 -50
Country Director Salary 185,400 1 185,400 146,111 0 146,111 39,289
GIA Coordinator Salary (20 hours per week) 300,000 1 300,000 342,525 0 342,525 -42,525
Totals 927,000 722,788 71,467 794,255 132,745
Totals (USD estimated) $9,000 $7,017 $694 $7,711 $1,289

When you combine our assets in Nepal with those in the US and use a conversion rate of 103 rupees to every dollar, our total assets at the end of 2017 were $19,494.

Assets Amount USD
Paypal $5,591.27
Wells Fargo $13,155.20
Crowdrise $200.00
Nepal Bank $465.93
Nepal Petty $1.91
Office Deposit $80.00
Total $19,494.31

 

In our recent winter quarter meeting, the board voted to approve a $22,712 operating budget for 2018. We also aim to raise an additional $2,500 toward our emergency reserves (we currently encumber $7,500 as emergency reserves which falls short of our goal of covering operating costs for six months); making our fundraising goal for 2019: $25,212

2017 Budget Budgeted Spent Remaining Encumbered Balance
Budgeted 2018
Tuition Subsidies $2,640.00 $2,398.59 $241.41 $0.00 $241.41 $2,640
Uniform/Book Subsidies $880.00 $873.79 $6.21 $0.00 $6.21 $880
Medical Exams & Follow up. $880.00 $215.61 $664.39 $0.00 $664.39 $880
Medical Reserve Fund $1,000.00 $0.00 0 $0.00 $1,000.00 $1,000
Adhoc-project/fund $1,420.00 $979.35 $440.65 $0.00 $440.65 $1,500
Administrative (Office, bank fees, etc) $300.00 $513.05 -$213.05 $0.00 -$213.05 $1,000
Development (fb etc) $500.00 $518.82 -$18.82 $0.00 -$18.82 $1,000
Girls In Action Program $9,000.00 $7,017.36 $1,982.64 $0.00 $1,982.64 $10,663
Country Director $3,000.00 $2,988.67 $11.33 $0.00 $11.33 $3,150
Totals $19,620.00 $15,505.24 $3,114.76 $0.00 $4,114.76 $22,712.82

The sub-budget for the GIA program is below

Costs per 50 students * 3 seasons 2018 planning (USD est)
Race Fees (Transport, entree, snacks, certificate) $874
Running Gear (Shirt, shorts, shoes, badge) $1,699
Costs shared across all students
Health Classes (transport, food, honorariums, supplies) $388
Field Trips (hikes, transport, food, misc) $388
Lunches with Professional Women $388
Office Costs $437
Miscellaneous $97
Menstrual Health Program $971
Country Director Salary $1,890
GIA Coordinator Salary) $3,181
GIA Running Coach $350
Totals $10,662.82

Help Support Wide Open Vistas

WOV operates with less than 5% of all funds spent on administrative costs, over 95% of funds go directly to program areas. Donations will support our core ‘Youth Scholars’ program while also supporting the second year of ‘Girls In Action’, which reached hundreds of girls in northern Kathmandu in 2017 with runs, hikes, health classes and more.  WOV has been able to accomplish a lot in Nepal over the last few years thanks to your generosity. For us, a little goes a long way and we greatly appreciate your support!

 

Thank you from Wide Open Vistas

Thank you from Wide Open Vistas

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