1,000 Microloans for Rural Women in East Africa

by Women's Microfinance Initiative
Oct 10, 2011


After many long hours of hard work by 10 college interns this summer, and supervision by project directors Montana Stevenson and Ainsley Morris, the 2011 WMI fact books have been finalized and posted on the WMI web site. The fact books document the loan program impact and the results continue to be impressive. They also provide an in-depth profile of the demographic characteristics of WMI borrowers on a village by village basis.   

WMI 2011 Fact Books   

Quick Demographic Profile: 

  • An astounding 90% of first time borrowers live on less than 50 cents per day when they enter the WMI loan program. The World Bank defines poverty as living on less than $2 a day, and "extreme poverty" as living on less than $1.25 a day.
  • 90% of borrowers reported having less than $25 in savings at the time of their first loan. 
  • Over 90% of borrowers lived in homes with dirt floors.
  • Only 5% of borrowers used electricity as their source of light.
  • Less than 50% of borrowers had mosquito nets for all household members.
  • The majority of borrowers have 4 or more children and additionally care for children who are not their own (many orphaned by AIDS). 

Because WMI collected the data separately in each loan hub, it is now able to compare the information from the different hubs. For instance, in the Bumwalukani loan hub in Bududa District, Uganda over two-thirds of first time borrowers are living on less than 10 cents per day. That's one-fifth of the amount of some of the other hub locations. The ability to compare statistics gives WMI opportunities to tailor the loan program to the specific needs of different loan hubs.  

The best news is that the loan program impact surveys demonstrate enormous gains by WMI borrowers after just 6 months in the loan program:

  • The number of borrowers living on less that 50 cents per day dropped from 90% to just 5%.
  • Almost 100% of borrowers reported saving regularly and listed their top three reasons for saving as: emergencies, healthcare, and businesses expansion.
  • Nearly 75% of borrowers have more mosquito nets after their loans.
  • 100% of borrowers report an improvement in their business skills since receiving their first loans.
  • Almost 100% of borrowers report that the loan program has had a positive impact on their lives.

The complete loan program impact fact books are posted on the WMI web site. Check them out!

Loan Program Impact Fact Book - Buyobo, Uganda 

Loan Program Impact fact Book - Siaya, Kenya  

For the first time, WMI was able to prepare a comparison of baseline data from information gathered from baseline surveys of borrowers over a three year time span. The data show that the general living standards of borrowers when they enter the loan program are fairly consistent over the 3 year period. This data implies that there are no external forces or circumstances in the villages or local economy that are resulting in improvements in the general living standards of local residents. It substantiates that improvements in borrowers' living standards after they enter the loan program are attributable to their businesses and not outside factorsComparison Fact Book.



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Organization Information

Women's Microfinance Initiative

Location: Bethesda, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.wmionline.org
Project Leader:
Robyn Nietert
Bethesda, Maryland United States

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