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WMI's Northern Uganda Loan Program Operations

To me I feel that if the war was not there, the women would not need so much of this kind of support, but we are seeing that there are so many widows, also women are married to uneducated men that cannot provide much for the family. High birth rate is also a problem.To me I feel that if the war was not there, the women would not need so much of this kind of support, but we are seeing that there are so many widows, also women are married to uneducated men that cannot provide much for the family. High birth rate is also a problem. Someone might have 6 kids who are their own and then 6 more dependents. They all need clothing, school fees, medical care, etc. Women need to grow their businesses to sustain their growing families."

- WMI Loan Hub Coordinator Sylvia Akello



WMI Impact in Northern Uganda

Because of the WMI Program loans, women in northern Uganda are able to start their own businesses. With the income they make they are able to stabilize their families and start to rebuild their lives. There are very few resources for rural women in the north of the country and WMI fills a void by providing village women with sorely needed access to business capital.

Before joining the WMI loan program:

  • 53% of borrowers were living on less than $250/year
  • Only 11% were earning over $1,000/year

After 12 months in the loan program:

  • Only 3% of borrowers were earning less than $250/year
  • Fully 48% were earning over $1,000 per year

This is an increase of over 650% in earning power! This dramatic improvement in income leads to more meals, more mosquito nets, more shoes and school uniforms for children and overall healthier families for the borrowers. WMI's 2013 Northern Uganda Factbook provides a comprehensive look at the loan program impact.



Meet the Northern Uganda Loan Program Administrator

Sylvia AkelloSylvia Akello has a degree in education and moved to Atiak when she married. She grew up during the insurgency in the north and remembers when rebels would kidnap children who were digging in their family garden plots... read more



Borrower Biography

Meet Grace Aber who was widowed with 9 children, several of them orphans she cared for in her home. Surviving on less than a dollar a day, she struggled to pay medical bills and could not afford shoes for all the children... read more



Drumming and Dancing

Northern Uganda has a large population of orphaned children and children with just a single parent. Drumming and dancing are a cultural tradition in the area and many teenagers and young adults have taken this traditional art form to new heights. Watch the video clip of children of WMI borrowers performing for guests.



Special Projects

Cow manure produces methane gas that is processed to power cooking rings and lights
Cow manure produces methane gas that is processed to power cooking rings and lights

Milk pasteurization and bio gas fuel are two special projects in the area that WMI is supporting through partner NGOs and borrower initiatives to improve village life through new technologies.

One of the WMI borrowers and her husband received help from Heifer Project to build a bio-gas generation unit. It uses animal waste to power cooking and lighting and is really quite ingenious. The family credits WMI with providing extra capital to expand their farm and purchase more animals.

WMI's operating partner in the Gulu loan hub in Northern Ugnada, Childcare and Development Organization - Uganda, has obtained an industrial milk pasteurizer and now has a small shop right in Gulu. The pasteurizer was acquired from a bankrupt farmer's co-op and operates for the benefit of local farmers. Many of the women in the loan program in Gulu received cows from Heifer Project and now have a place to sell their milk. The women would like to increase the number of cows that they have and develop the dairy products business. The milk products are very popular with the residents of Gulu and the surrounding area. Parents come in to the store to buy milk, which is sold in plastic bags, for their children.

Gulu Dairy Products Business Childcare and Development Organization - Uganda


Region Background

Northern Uganda Loan OperationsWMI's loan hubs in northern Uganda is located in an area that was in the midst of the 20 year insurgency (mid 1980s - 2006) that devastated much of Northern Uganda and resulted in over 1.5 million internally displaced persons. The Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group lead by Joseph Kony, orphaned thousands of children, devastated villages, and disrupted the regular economy for two decades. The United Nations has designated northern Uganda as an area with significant challenges that needs special attention to achieve human development.

The people of northern Uganda have endured countless hardships, and struggle to rebuild their lives after losing children, husbands and siblings. Through all of this destruction and devastation the women of northern Uganda are extremely resourceful.

In joining the WMI loan program, women find a resource to help them begin to rebuild their families and households. Many women take advantage of booming trade with the South Sudan.

The world's newest nation lacks basic goods and services - a void the women of northern Uganda are seeking to fill. Our borrowers sell fish, produce, homemade sesame sweets called sim-sim, and other products to the people of South Sudan. Many traders cross the border on a regular basis to bring supplies back home. The traffic passing through Atiak and other small villages on the way to South Sudan is relentless. Huge 18-wheelers share the dirt road with pedestrians and bikers.

Women of Northern UgandaMost borrowers' businesses focus on selling fish, produce or some other type of local food such as beans or dairy. WMI launched a loan hub located in Atiak in April 2012 and after a six months, a vast majority of borrowers are able to provide for more household needs and report overall healthier families. The WMI Loan Program Director in East Africa, Olive Wolimbwa, finds that the women of Northern Uganda are extremely hardworking as they struggle to rebuild their lives. Because of WMI's loan program, these women now have the tools to create a better life for themselves and their families.



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