Using footage from both Uganda and Kenya, WMI's new video - Building The Road Out of Poverty - shows the WMI loan program in action. Please take a couple minutes to check out the video on YouTube, which can be accessed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kA7bEgnYro
Colleen Rossier, a 2010 graduate from UVA with a degree in environmental science travelled to Uganda in January 2011 for a 3 week internship with the WMI loan programme. She joined Montana Stevenson and Ainsley Morris who have been in Uganda since the end of September working with the ladies on their transition to independent banking and preparing a banking manual. Colleen currently works for the US Department of Agriculture and was especially interested in local farming techniques, animal husbandry, and environmental stewardship. Click here to see a slideshow of her visit including many shots of the WMI loan program in action and village life.
If you haven’t already done so, take a minute to look at the latest blog post from the field on the WMI web site and you will see the smiling faces of some of the first Buyobo Motorbike Ladies posing with their hogs. http://wmionline.wordpress.com/. That’s right! WMI loans have empowered women to start buying motorbikes so that they can solve one of the most intractable problems rural businesswomen face: lack of reliable transportation. Rather than waiting for the government to provide a reliable transportation infrastructure, WMI borrowers are earning enough money to start taking matters into their own hands. The motorbikes are economical and can handle the rugged terrain. Women use them to transport goods, search for suppliers and markets, and provide transport to other borrowers who need it. The Buyobo Motorbike ladies are providing a resource for the entire village.
You will smile when you see how proud these women are of their accomplishment. Like Priscia Mafabi, with one hand on her cell phone, and the other balancing her motorbike, you can see that she is definitely taking care of business!
As the summer comes to a close, we want to share some of the exciting events that happened at WMI during the past few months.
First off, the Walt Whitman High School interns from Bethesda, MD returned August 16 from their three-week trip to Buyobo, Uganda and the surrounding area! Just a few of their accomplishments include: successfully setting up the Internet café in Buyobo with 10 computers donated by Discovery Communications; constructing the foundation for three new classrooms for Buyobo Primary School; teaching local school children; undertaking an educational survey with primary students in Kabale on behalf of the Mpambarra-Cox Foundation; and meeting with local representatives, WMI staff members, and borrowers.
The interns also had the opportunity to go on safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, take a gorilla trek, and tour the Ngamba Island Chimp Sanctuary, the only research facility for injured and trafficked chimpanzees.
While the interns are still organizing their videos and photos to be uploaded to the WMI website, take a look at this short PowerPoint presentation to get an idea of the terrific contribution these young adults have made to rural communities in Uganda. WMI is grateful for their intrepid spirit, hard-work and enthusiasm! http://wmionline.org/newsupdates/WMI-Uganda-Trip.pdf
Additionally, the Bethesda-based WMI interns ended their hectic summer with the successful completion of three in-depth Fact Books that document the impact of the loan program and four research papers that highlight improvements in critical areas.
Based on data collected over the past two and half years from over 400 WMI borrowers, the interns were able to prepare Fact Books that provide an intimate portrait of WMI borrowers and an accurate assessment of how the loan program has transformed their lives. Check out the Fact Books on the WMI web site—we think you will be surprised and extremely gratified by the significant in-roads the loan program has made in combating rural poverty in East Africa.
The summer interns also sifted through two years of reports prepared by WMI Local Coordinators after monthly visits to borrowers’ businesses or homes, who take note of: family health and welfare; domestic relations; business operations, progress and challenges; as well as the status of the borrower’s book keeping. After analyzing the data from the LCRs, the interns prepared papers on four critical areas that have been significantly impacted by the WMI loan program: Gender Relations; Child Development; Health; and Business Operations.
The papers can also be found at: http://wmionline.org/dataanalysis/profile/profile.html
The three new pilot loan programs launched in April in Bududa, UG and Siaya and Ol Moran, KY have been operating smoothly, with 100% loan repayment, and very efficient Local Coordinators, all of whom have requested the addition of follow on loan groups. Responding to the borrowers’ excellent performance and to the local demand, in July WMI added a new loan group in each of Bududa and Siaya. A new loan group will be added in Ol Moran in October. With their excellent track records, two new groups will be added to each of Bududa and Siaya in October.
We hope this update gives you an idea of the enormous impact the loan program is having on the lives of hundreds of families formerly living in poverty in rural villages in East Africa. Thank you for your continued support that has allowed us to expand WMI’s footprint and reach more women and families with life-transforming loans and training.
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