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 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)

WMI staff meeting with borrowers

WMI staff meeting with borrowers
June Kyakobye, Robyn Nietert and Montana Stevenson from WMI traveled to Buyobo to launch the loan program. They, along with Olive Wolinmbwa and other elders from the village, met with each borrower individually to review her business idea and make sure she understood the loan terms. (view small | med | large | orig)

Potential borrowers wait for their turn

Potential borrowers wait for their turn
The women in Buyobo were eager to apply for loans. They waited patiently for hours until WMI staff could meet with them to review their business ideas. Montana Stevenson, WMI's college intern, spent time reviewing all of the loan terms with borrowers while they waited. (view small | med | large | orig)

Buyobo Uganda

Buyobo Uganda
WMI launched its program in the Buyobo region of northeastern Uganda. This rural area is in the foothills of Mt. Elgon and has little in the way of public services. Most villagers do not have electricity, indoor plumbing or running water. There are no banking service of any kind in the area. Credit is available only from local money lenders, who charge exorbitant interest rates. (view small | med | large | orig)

Bulambuli women meet to hear about WMI's loans

Bulambuli women meet to hear about WMI's loans
The women of the Bulambuli Widow's Association were seledcted as the first borrower's in the WMI credit program. WMI board members traveled to Uganda in Jan. 2008 to meet the women. Dressed in their best outfits, they held a day long meeting and listened intently to all of the loan program details. (view small | med | large | orig)

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