2017 Was a Big Year for Planeterra!

Dear friends and supporters,

More than ever before, we saw our partners generate enough income to reinvest back into their communities. We saw youth gain greater agency and find new opportunities for full-time employment in the hospitality industry. We also saw once-marginalized women become decision- makers for their households, helping them gain a newfound confidence through tourism.

With 2017 came big changes for the Planeterra team as well. We reached a tipping point as 50 in 5 rapidly brought on new projects that connected communities to the tourism market. With this expanding growth, we knew we would need more hands on deck, and we’re happy to introduce two new change-makers to our team – Alanna and Rhea.

Alanna joined Planeterra having worked with community development and conservation programs in Zimbabwe and South Africa for several years. Rhea previously worked with women in South Asia, developing her expertise in skills development programs. With this growth, our global team of seven community development practitioners was able to bring to market 15 new projects in 2017.

Each of these partnerships is special and unique, and we’re excited for you to read about each one. This impact report will take you across the globe (and our oceans too!) as we share our year of expanding programs worldwide to directly support an additional 447 women, 66 youth, and 672 community members. In 2017, Planeterra projects provided increased livelihood, employment, and training opportunities to a total of 1,185 people.

It has been humbling to see lives changed by our global work, not just within the communities we partner with, but also amongst each other. We each embarked on new journeys this year, taking us outside the scope of our previous expertise to new countries, cultures, and communities. It is our hope that this report fully embodies the passion we share for the communities we work with, and that you enjoy reading about another year of work that we did together.

From all of us,
Jamie, Adrienne, Kelly, Rhea, Alanna, P.Tung, and Joel

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Planeterra named finalist for WTTC Award

We’re thrilled to report that Planeterra and our partners at G Adventures are finalists in the “Community” category of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, hosted by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)! As Community Award Finalists, Planeterra’s work has been recognized as a leader of sustainable tourism in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage.

Please read the press release from WTTC to learn more.

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One Year After the Nepal Earthquake

In April 2015, an 8.1 M earthquake rocked Nepal that swept through the Kathmandu Valley triggering avalanches on Mount Everest and in the Langtang Valley. The earthquake took the lives of over 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000. Tremors and major aftershocks could be felt for months afterwards, and hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless and lost their livelihoods, making it hard for the people of Nepal to have certainty of their future.

Tourism is such a powerhouse for the economy of Nepal, and it’s the largest source of foreign exchange and revenue for the country. Many rely on tourism in this country, and we at G Adventures knew that it was our role to help our friends in Nepal, bring tourism back to this country.

Within 24 hours of the quake, G Adventures launched a campaign to raise funds for those affected by the earthquake. Our focus was to bring immediate relief and long-term rebuilding efforts to those that relied on the tourism industry as their primary source of income. Our campaign focused on supporting long-term rebuilding efforts to support porters, homestay hosts, local guides and our sisters at SASANE (link to project page or previous earthquake post).

In two weeks, G Adventures had raised over $200,000 CAD from our generous extended family – our travellers, donors, friends & family, and our partners from across the world. It was inspiring to see these donations and well wishes for our friends in Nepal sent from all corners of the planet. We heard from over 35 countries. Thank you.

With the funds raised we were able to mobilize immediate emergency efforts to our sisters at SASANE to pack vehicles that were sent to rural villages in the Langtang Valley – the hardest hit area of the earthquake. These vehicles were packed with fuel, salt, popped rice, fresh water, blankets and tarps, and our sisters distributed these supplies to over 900 families in Nuwakot, Sindhapalchowk, Kharipati, Bhaktapur, and Ghyangphedi.

Planeterra, G Adventures, and our ground partners formed a task force – working with a local engineer who had previous experience constructing properties with earthquake preventative methods. This task force evaluated applications for rebuilding homes from porters in the Everest region, homestay hosts, local guides and our SASANE sisters, and dispersed re-building grants dependent on need to 152 family homes. Our focus was to support families who were reliant on the tourism industry, and had no other means of income or support otherwise.

With the remainder of the funds, Planeterra and G Adventures invested funds to bring long-term tourism back to the area, as the creation of jobs would be critical for communities in the months and years ahead. We worked with our partners to support an indigenous Tharu community just outside of Chitwan National Park to develop a local community homestay program, and helped outfit this village with water tanks and a solar panel grid so the community would have access to hot water and electricity throughout the winter. We also supported the development of a second SASANE Sisterhood of Survivor site in Pokhara, and within 3 months started running G tours through this location to bring back income, jobs, and hope to this organization. Both sites are now hubs of support for women across the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara, providing vocational training in the hospitality industry, outreach support for women coming out of trafficking, and long term job support for so many more girls. We are happy to see the success of this organization being recognized globally, and last year, with Planeterra and G Adventures’ support, SASANE won the United Nations World Tourism Organization Award for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism in a non-governmental organization.

It’s been incredible to watch the teamwork and resilience this country has gone through. Nepal is back up and running with so much to offer. The best thing you can do to support this country is to go visit. The people and our friends are waiting to show you how amazing and special this country truly is.

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11 New Projects Launch

Last year at this time, the Planeterra Foundation launched the ambitious 50 in 5 Campaign, to raise $5 million CAD to develop 50 new social enterprise projects by 2020. Since that time, we have been working hard to set the pace for the next five years, and we are pleased to share with you some of our results.

Since September 2015, the Planeterra Foundation has raised an astounding $1.1 million dollars. Our founding partner G Adventures’ continues to provide a generous annual donation to support our operating costs. This means that 100% of public and corporate donations are directed towards our projects. At our launch, we were also fortunate to receive multi-year funding from Live Out There and Deloitte to kick start news projects each year throughout the campaign.

With these donations, Planeterra has been able to launch 11 new social development projects in nine countries. That translates to 34,475 new community members whose lives are being changed by our work since the launch of 50 in 5.

Click through to read more about each of the projects launched through Planeterra’s 50 in 5 Campaign:

  1. Ubuntu Community Lunch (Kenya)
  2. Bike with Purpose (Belize)
  3. Cafe Chloe Training Restaurant (Australia)
  4. Barauli Community Homestay (Nepal)
  5. The Castaway (Oceans)
  6. Turkey Almond Park (Turkey)
  7. Belize Women’s Pottery Project (Belize)
  8. Tengger Community Homestay (Indonesia)
  9. Bali Community Lunch (Indonesia)
  10. El Hongo Community Restaurant (Mexico)
  11. Magdas Refugee Employment Hotel (Austria)

Stay up to date on to learn about all the latest project launches across the globe!

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