1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa

 
$145,957
$4,043
Raised
Remaining
Sep 12, 2013

Changing Lives!

WMI Training Session
WMI Training Session

Just 5 years ago, in January of 2008, WMI issued its first 20 loans; this year WMI will issue its 10,000th loan. 
The loan program has had an enormous impact in improving living standards for the rural women of East Africa and their families.  Olive Wolimbwa, WMI’s in-country program director reports several key developments that illustrate the loan program's success in bringing about fundamental social and economic changes that improve the lives of women: 

  • Women are buying land and building permanent houses;
  • Women are opening bank accounts and using ATM cards;
  • Domestic violence has reduced;
  • Loan hubs are thriving in areas recovering from insurgency fighting;
  • WMI trainers cover East Africa to pass on business skills to rural women;

TRAIN THE TRAINERS:

Sarah sells second-hand clothes at a market where everyone else sells second-hand clothes also. She doesn’t always sell all of her clothes. What should she do?

Allen sells flour, maize, vegetables, cooking oil, and batteries at a road-side shop nearby. Which element of her inventory will likely sell the slowest, and why?

Lena has been selling flour for months. Every month her profits remain constant. Is her business growing? How can Lena reinvest more money in her business?

The fictional stories above were scenarios presented during a recent training session for WMI’s local coordinators in Buyobo, Uganda. The training was conducted as a TOT – or “training of trainers.” WMI’s 17 local coordinators present at the training serve as liaisons to their own communities around WMI’s headquarters in Buyobo, as well as liaisons to all of WMI’s rural loan program partners throughout East Africa. These liaisons visit WMI’s other affiliated programs on a quarterly basis to conduct 2-3 day business trainings for new borrowers to the loan program.  The “training of trainers” builds upon the coordinators’ existing framework of business knowledge, particularly so that they can incorporate this knowledge into the trainings they conduct quarterly, as well as pass this knowledge along to local borrowers in Buyobo whom they visit on a monthly basis to supervise and coach them on their businesses.

A common challenge with small businesses in Uganda is that entrepreneurs often find it challenging to find a proper product mix. The trainers emphasize the importance of conducting market research to determine market opportunities, using fictional scenarios and encouraging the women to act out scenarios to illustrate their points. They learn how to improve their products/services and sell new, complementary products and services.

WMI’s 17 trainers will train over 1,700 new borrowers in 2013.  Here is a picture of one of our training
sessions in Ngarendare, Kenya and one of our borrowers at her store.

WMI LOAN PROGRAM IMPACT: 2013

Each year WMI surveys borrowers in the loan program to collect data on program impact. In 2013, WMI's college interns analyzed data from over 1,000 participants in the WMI loan program to assess the impact of the program in empowering rural women and improving household living standards for their families.  Each of the loan programs WMI funds in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania serves rural women from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds
who face different local challenges; but, they have one thing in common - they are systematically excluded from access to financial services. This exclusion severely limits their ability to provide for their families and improve their
living standards.

The full reports are available on our website www.wmionline.org.  Here are some highlights:

  • Income Gains – Only 11% of our borrowers earned more than $1,000 per year when entering the loan
    program.  Within 6 months, 72% borrowers reported earning more than $1,000 (annualized)
  • Savings Gains – By one year, 59% of borrowers reported saving at least $10 per month.

Across WMI loan hubs in East Africa the results continue to be impressive!   Over 1,000 borrowers have now graduated from our training program.  By empowering women to become economically productive through a formal credit/training program and graduating them into regulated banking WMI has proven a sustainable economic model for reducing poverty and social injustice.   Thank you so much for your on-going support! 



Training in Ngarendare, Kenya
Training in Ngarendare, Kenya
Toppie at her Shop
Toppie at her Shop
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Organization

Project Leader

Robyn Nietert

President
Bethesda, Maryland United States

Where is this project located?

Map of 1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa