OTYO! (A Sigh of Relief) is a relatively new NGO. Our history is comprised of organizational structure building, program design, fundraising at the ground level, obtaining 501 (c) (3) status. Building solid support from Ugandan and US communities. Building donor base. Receiving financial and in-kind donations (clothing, books and land). Established connection/ partnership with a large NGO based in the UK.
We visit Uganda regularly to conduct needs assessments, establish and maintain contacts and networks to the communities and to similar CBO’s and NGO’s, conduct organization business, and research potential income generating crafts and industries.
OTYO! will not only support local CBO’s, but will also create structures to ensure that positive changes in the community endure, and that programs improving quality of life have a place to expand, such as the Community Centre.
As of May 2019, we are essentially reaching our necessary funding for the first room of the Community Centre, which will house a starter library, the Pad Project, and bathroom facilities. Our hope is to break ground on this room approximately one year from now, and operational immediately following construction.
Additions to the Community Centre will be worked toward in the longer term.
Here are a few of our milestones…
2005 – 2013
- Conducted initial needs assessments.
- Developed the vision, mission, and goals of OTYO; created and made official the nonprofit organization.
- Defined organizational structure.
- Developed outreach and fundraising strategies.
- Recruited members.
- Hosted physical information sharing and fundraising events in San Francisco, including Bissap Baobab Restaurant.
- Welcomed Louise Kelenge as a board member, who lives in Kampala, Uganda, running a business, and facilitating OTYO’s operation in Uganda.
- Received artwork for donation auction from Alex Calder, James Kitamirike, and David Kibuuka.
- Created and implemented social media outreach arenas on Facebook and Twitter, building consistency in our outreach and information sharing, and linking continuous news feeds between our website, Facebook, and Twitter.
2014 – 2019
- Travelled to Kebisoni, Rukungiri, Uganda in 2014, 2015, and 2017, partnering with community members, including government and church officials, to conduct needs assessments regarding youth needs and programs, community needs, and opportunities to support orphans, women, and children impacted by the AIDS crisis.
- Researched potential income generating crafts and industries (i.e. Evelyn Namale, Women on Lead, Hands of Grace, Centenary Park).
- Obtained a site and Certificate of Title from the North Kigezi Diocese, Kakinga Parish, for our library community center, with the Archdeacon and Church Board voting for it enthusiastically.
- Partnered with local organizations and CBO’s doing similar work in the population.
- Refined and set up our digital structures to convey our vision, mission, core values, history, project information, and to conduct our organization business and outreach.
- Partnered with Trust for Africa’s Orphans (TAO).
- Refined and structured our website to serve as the nexus of our information sharing and outreach.
- Have regularly conducted successful social media fundraisers, about once per month, with the website linked newsfeeds and updates also serving to promote donations continuously.
- Have held several successful “dine and donate events” through GroupRaise, about quarterly, including at Maverick Jack’s and Dino & Santino’s in SF Bay Area.
- Created account with BiddingForGood, and implemented ongoing auctions for our fine African artwork and other items.
- Received a generous donation of a few hundred children’s books for our Centre library, through efforts of Cathy Chappell-Chambers, worth approximately $1200, from a private elementary school in San Mateo.
- Received donation of more than 50 sets of gym clothes from a local private school through the coordination of Cathy Chappell-Chambers, which were distributed to local youth in Kebisoni, Rukungiri District during our 2017 needs research/outreach visit.
- Established Linked-In account for OTYO! to help facilitate recruitment of board members, personnel, and volunteers.
- Began importing all digital documents and resources to Google Drive to serve as our nexus of communications.
- Maintained communications with land donor by sending letter to the Deacon of the Kigezi Diocese, updating our progress and timeline for breaking ground on the project.
- Some of our fundraising is periodic and some is ongoing. About 95% or more of what we raise is banked for our projects, and about 5% or less goes to our operating costs. OTYO! A Sigh of Relief is a stable, functioning organization, well within budget, that is making meaningful progress in fundraising, and in all of our work.