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:
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 trainingsessions 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 backgroundswho 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 theirliving standards.
The full reports are available on our website www.wmionline.org. Here are some highlights:
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!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.