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1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa

by Women's Microfinance Initiative
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa
The new building opens its doors to the Buyobo community.
The new building opens its doors to the Buyobo community.

The loan program is continuing to expand rapidly and currently has over $60,000 in outstanding loans to women in 50 rural villages around Mbale, UG. The loan repayment rate is 100%. Local Coordinators visit the borrowers on a rotating basis to talk about their businesses. We thought you might like to hear about some of their reports on the borrowers' progress:

NABAFU PHOEBE – BLUE (TAILORING)

"The business is growing, there is new stock but she says the customers are scarce. nevertheless she is hopeful that in the next month when the harvesting coffee begins and as we draw near to Iddi day and x-mass time she will be having more. The family health is good and family helps in minding the home and the elder son helps in marketing. He moves round with pieces of clothes so that those interested may buy on the price he’s instructed. Phoebe says the loan programme has benefited her a lot, she has been able to acquire furniture (chairs), and mattress and she pays school fees without stress, all this is from her profit. The book keeping has been managed."

NAMAROME ALLEN – BLUE (PRODUCE AND SHOP)

"Both businesses are running smoothly Allen is involved much in the buying of maize and the husband helps in shop keeping. She says when the maize season will be over she will be trading in coffee. The family health is good and living happily. The WMI programme has helped her in meeting school dues and improving on the standard of living for this reason she is happy and appreciative for the programme. Record keeping is being handled properly."

ALLEN NAMBOZO – LIGHT BLUE (SHOP)

"The business is doing well. She says she has been staggering in the first weeks but as per now she is stabilizing. Her shop is new in the community where by she did not have the customers and did not have the experience in managing a shop. She says the knowledge given during the training helped her a great deal and she is grate full for the work WMI has done for her. She says she begun slowly using the skills taught and she is improving day after day. She says, long live WMI. The family health is good and she has a plan of involving the elder daughter so that when she is away the daughter can help her."

WMI is very fortunate to have 2 interns in Buyobo for 6 weeks to work on educational issues and tutoring. They are Margot Vandervossen, who just graduated from Leiden University with a degree in International Relations, and Brian Miller, who is in the Master's in Education program at Binghamton University in NY.

Business success and education go hand in hand. The interns are tutoring village children who are on school break and recommending improvements to the daily school program, as well as adult education options.

WMI shipped 1,000 donated children's book to the village in November. Margot and Brian reported that hundreds of children turned out to watch them unpack the books and shelve them in the library the women have started in the building WMI constructed this past spring. There were big smiles all around.

In October, WMI hosted a World Bank Training to Train program in Buyobo. Ten village women met for 3 days of intensive business training. They live in the villages alongside borrowers and will be able to provide ongoing business training to ladies in the loan program.

I will be traveling to Uganda in January, 2010 and will interview several local widow's associations and community outreach groups that have asked for WMI's help in starting a microloan program. Next year we are looking forward to launching even more rural women on their way to establishing businesses, including a group in Kenya.

The loan program has had a profound impact on borrowers’ lives. It has allowed them to improve the standard of living for their entire family in a very short period of time. WMI has posted results from its semi-annual borrower surveys on its web site: wmionline.org

Thank you for your ongoing support of WMI's microloan program. With your help, we are changing the face of poverty, one loan at a time.

Buyohildren reading from the donated books in the new building.
Buyohildren reading from the donated books in the new building.

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Alexis and Brian visited this project on May 7th, 2009. They write:

The first thing we noticed about WMI was the brilliant smiles and joyous expressions on the faces of the nearly 200 women who greeted us. Shortly after our arrival, we were whisked off to see how construction is coming on the soon to be opened WMI office. This space, funded in part by GlobalGIving, will provide an office for WMI, a location for loan disbursement, and a much needed meeting space to replace the tent they now use. We paraded, en masse, out of the hall and down the main street to see the borrowers’ businesses. With nearly 200 women, parade is no overstatement; there was singing, dancing, and even crowds lining the street to watch the commotion. We tasted chapatti (a local snack) at one woman’s restaurant, we eyed the selection of another woman’s used clothing store, we peered into yet another woman’s general store, and so much more. All of these businesses have benefitted from the loans GlobalGiving has supported.

In talking to several of the women, we began to see the impact GlobalGiving funding has had on their lives. Camida Wasukira, one of the first women to receive a loan from WMI, runs a restaurant with her husband. In January of 2008, she took her first loan of just $100. She invested her loan in her business, and doubled her monthly income. She has reinvested some of her business’ profits by buying a cow, whose milk she uses in her restaurant. Aside from newly started savings, the rest of her profits have benefitted her family. Her 4 children used to go to school barefoot and hungry. Today, she is able to pay school fees, purchase shoes, and feed her children three nutritious meals a day. Other women told us they can now afford medications for their children, employ others (in so doing extend the impact of WMI), and for the first time in their lives, they can even buy personal items, such as shampoo. There is no doubt that WMI is making a substantial impact in the lives of these women, and through them, their community as a whole.

During our visit we came to find that WMI is a very special organization. Unlike many similar projects, WMI provides valuable training on saving, record keeping, and budgeting. The success of the organization can be seen in their 100% repayment rate among the 200 members. WMI hopes to expand their program, and provide these invaluable loans to many more women. Be sure to keep your eyes out as they post more on GlobalGiving.

When asked what they would tell their friends about this project, Alexis and Brian said, “Incredible: You need to see this!”

Olive Wolimbwa, WMI Manager,leads the borrowers in song
Olive Wolimbwa, WMI Manager,leads the borrowers in song

In a January 2009 trip to Uganda, WMI Board Member Trix Vandervossen and I visited many of the borrowers in the WMI loan program and also issued another round of loans. We have much good news to report!

At the end of March, WMI will have 200 borrowers and all of their businesses are thriving. We toured individual business operations and talked and ate with virtually every borrower in the program. They are so proud of their progress. Many of them showed us their records and were extremely proud of their book keeping. They are using their profits to buy medicine, pay school fees, improve their households and expand their businesses. Entire families help with the businesses the women have created. Most are requesting even larger follow up loans every 6 moths to expand their businesses. The women were clearly self-confident and determined to succeed.

WMI is concentrating on expanding the loan program to first time borrowers in near-by villages so that the cycle of poverty can be broken for more and more women in rural Uganda. WMI broke ground on a small building in the villages it serves, and with this permanent home WMI will be able to increase its lending operations. WMI borrowers reside in over a dozen villages and will hopefully spread throughout the entire Sironko District in 2009.

WMI still maintains a 100% loan repayment rate. For these women, their word is their bond, and they have honored their pledge to repay and to cross-guarantee each other's loans. The enormous effectiveness of microloans in combating chronic poverty is clearly visible throughout Buyobo, Uganda. It is a humbling experience to be welcomed into the lives of the women of Buyobo and to be part of a program that is changing the face of poverty one loan at a time.

WMI Board Member, Trix Vandervossen, helps fill out loan forms
WMI Board Member, Trix Vandervossen, helps fill out loan forms
Kamida Wosukira, WMI borrower, caters lunch for a group meeting
Kamida Wosukira, WMI borrower, caters lunch for a group meeting

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Organization Information

Women's Microfinance Initiative

Location: Bethesda, MD - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @wmionline
Project Leader:
Robyn Nietert
President
Bethesda, Maryland United States
$251,854 raised of $275,000 goal
 
2,601 donations
$23,146 to go
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