Women's Microfinance Initiative

Started by women in the Washington, D.C. area, WMI makes loans to impoverished women in developing nations who have no access to banks. Issuing affordable, collateral-free loans for as little as $50, WMI promotes women's economic empowerment to reduce global poverty. WMI's goal is to help poor women build assets to stabilize their income, improve their familiy's living standard, become advocates for their families/communities, and transition into independent banking and the formal economy.

WMI borrowers making new lives for themselves

WMI borrowers making new lives for themselves
WMI borrowers attend weekly support group meetings where they discuss business problems and celebrate their successes. They use their profits to buy food, pay school fees and improve healthcare for their families. They gain self-confidence and become advocates for improvements in their commmunities. (view small | med | large | orig)

WMI borrowers receive business training

WMI borrowers receive business training
Training is an important part of the WMI loan program. All borrowers must attend business training sessions. They are issued notebooks, pens and calculators to keep track of income and expenses. (view small | med | large | orig)

WMI borrowers pay off their first loans

WMI borrowers pay off their first loans
The first WMI borrowers received their loans in Jan. 2008. The loans were for a 6 month period and all of the borrowers made their payments on time. They paid off their loans in July 2008 and WMI staff were on hand to celebrate and present them with a graduation present - new tote bags. (view small | med | large | orig)

Children showing WMI staff the village

Children showing WMI staff the village
After the loans were issued the children took the WMI visitors on a tour of the village. Uganda is a very densely populated country - 75% of the people live in rural areas. It has one of the highest birth rates in the world - 7.2 children per family. There are many AIDS orphans in Buyobo and they are cared for by relatives and neighbors. (view small | med | large | orig)

WMI borrower signing loan documents

WMI borrower signing loan documents
All WMI borrowers executed formal loan agreements. They were given copies of their agreements to keep for their files. WMI believed it was important to treat the borrowers with respect and as valued clientele. (view small | med | large | orig)
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