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.
Jun 5, 2012

College students arrive in Uganda

Dan, Xaveria, Danielle arrive at WMI in Buyobo
Dan, Xaveria, Danielle arrive at WMI in Buyobo


The Journey Begins

June 3, 2012 by WMI college intern team

Malembe! After a long, tumultuous, sweaty journey, we have arrived in Buyobo. Considering we
are going to be here for a couple of months we thought we should start this blog by introducing ourselves.

We are WMI's summer collgege interns. From Toronto,Canada we have 21 year old Danielle DaCosta, a recent Anthropology graduate from McGill University.  From Stockholm Sweden we have Xaviera Alvarez-Nordstrom, a 22 year-old Classics student at Glasgow University.  And finally, Dan Higgins, a 25 year-old International Development student from Essex, England.

Since arriving on Friday afternoon we have been overwhelmed by the friendly welcome we have received and the beauty of Buyobo. Our highlight so far being the WMI meeting we attended today which began with a note-perfect welcome song from the BWA women and some of the borrowers.

We are super excited about our time here and are eager to get involved in helping the WMI in any way we can. As we all know nothing really goes to plan in Africa, however, we have a few activities that we hope to accomplish, or at least make some progress with, over the next two months. These include, helping some of the WMI
workers with their computer skills, carrying out some surveys of the borrowers, help out at Buyobo Primary School however we can and raise awareness about the importance of water filters by way of organizing a raffle with filters as the prize. 

But our main job is to ensure the Walt Whitman High School interns that are coming in a couple of weeks have an enjoyable and productive time and make some great new friends here in the village.  Six of the high school students are returning interns – this will be their second visit to Buyobo, so they already know more about village life and WMI’s work here than we do!

The initial solar panel system project sponsored by the high school students has already been installed in the 3 new classrooms in Buyobo (which were built and funded by the high school interns over the two previous years).  We will work with the high school students to double check the installation and hopefully add some capacity to it while they are here.  The teacher’s tea and bun program is also being renewed by the high school students.  We are meeting with the assistant head teacher, Ambrose Masolo, to find out how the program has helped Buyobo Primary
School teachers be more effective.

Follow our blog of the summer intern events in Buyobo at: http://wmionline.wordpress.com

Links:

Mar 19, 2012

KONY 2012: Status of Northern Uganda

Former child soldiers perform for WMI trainers
Former child soldiers perform for WMI trainers

The KONY 2012 video has generated significant controvery involving Uganda.

On March 9, the Uganda Government responded in a press Release:

Misinterpretations of media content may lead some people to believe that the LRA is currently active in Uganda. It must be clarified that at present the LRA is not active in any part of Uganda. Successfully expelled by the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces in mid-2006, the LRA has retreated to dense terrain within bordering countries in the Central African area. They are a diminished and weakened group with numbers not exceeding 300. The threat posed by the LRA in our neighboring countries is considerably reduced and we are hopeful that it will be altogether eliminated with the help of US logistical support.

The people of Uganda, especially those in the north of the country are on a path of rebuilding, reconciliation and reintegration and are now vibrant and prospering communities. To aid this prosperity the Government implemented a 10 Year Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP).

This past January. WMI president, Robyn Nietert, assisted with training workshops for poor women in Gulu, Uganda, which was the epicenter of the LRA insurgency and subsequent IDP camps. She reported that the area was peaceful.

Over a million people were displaced in northern Uganda during the fighting and tens of thousands of children were abducted. There are currently many international NGOs and local Ugandans working on reconstruction and stabilizing the local economy, which was devastated.

WMI opened a loan hub in Gulu last October to give rural women in the area a chance to start businesses. In April, WMI will open another loan hub even further north in Atiak, the site of the largest massacre of civilians by LRA troops, which took place in 1995. Every April 20, Atiak commemorates those who died.

WMI is partnering with two local Ugandan community based organizations to launch these loan hubs: Childcare Development Organization - Uganda and Blessed Watoto (Children).  These groups are working very hard, with limited resources, to bring economic opportunities to northern Uganda as it recovers from the impact of the 10 years of fighting. They are on the ground running small outreach initiatives on a daily basis. They provide services and support activities for orphaned children in the region. WMI believes that working at this grassroots level is the best way we can help the women and families of northern Uganda rebuild their lives.  We appreciate your support as we bring more and more microfinance opportunities to women in East Africa who have been disenfrachised and marginalized.  It is inspiring to see how they build assets to better lives with the small opportunity provided by a WMI loan.  

Links:

Feb 21, 2012

WMI's January/February 2012 Trip to East Africa

 

WMI President, Robyn Nietert, just completed a month long field trip to visit WMI borrowers and staff in village loan programs throughout East Africa.  The trip results were excellent.  The women in the loan program are continuing to expand their businesses, improve their families' living standards and transition to bank loans and the formal economy.  Through funding from supporters, WMI has been able to continue adding new loan hubs so that more impoverished women can have an opportunity to launch a business to support their families.  Check out the blog posts and pictures on the WMI web site to see the progress on WMI borrowers in 2012: http://wmionline.wordpress.com/

Links:

 
   

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