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WMI's Northeastern Loan Program Operations

We are the children of WMI member, Florence Weslilile, bringing our thanks to WMI"We are the children of WMI member, Florence Weslilile, bringing our thanks to WMI. We are bringing our thanks because since our mother starting getting the loan for the first time she managed to pay for us school fees in time, school uniforms, scholastic materials (books, pens, pencil sets), etc."

- Signed by the eldest on behalf of Florence's nine children
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The northeastern region loan area covers Bududa and Manafwa Districts on the slopes of Mount Elgon.The northeastern region loan area covers Bududa and Manafwa Districts on the slopes of Mount Elgon. The loan program hub launched here in 2010. It now graduates women from WMI's two-year, village-level microfinance program to independent banking every calendar quarter. Each year the women in Bududa celebrate the graduation of borrowers to bank loans and financial autonomy with a joyous parade and feast.

WMI partners with Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH) to operate the loan program serving the Bumwalukani village area and Manafwa Districts.The Bududa Vocational Institute provides support for the loan hub serving the Bududa area and was instrumental in the 2012 construction of WMI's satellite office there. The building has been a wonderful boost to the loan program.

WMI Impact in Northeastern Uganda

Due to the loans and business training WMI provides, borrowers have increased the productivity of their businesses and greatly improved their standard of living as well.

Before joining the WMI loan program:

  • 11% of borrowers were earning less than $250/year
  • Only 2% were earning over $1,000/year

After 6 months in the loan program:

  • Only 2% of borrowers were earning less than $250/year
  • 73% were earning over $1,000/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 Northeastern Uganda Local Coordinators

Betty BigaleEach WMI loan hub is operated on the ground by the head of a local woman's group. In Northeastern Uganda, there are three hubs that have supported each other and shared business skills through a peer-to-peer transfer of knowledge. This mutual network of support has expanded the loan program in the area under the leadership of women like Betty Bigale... read more

Region Background

Northeastern Uganda Loan OperationsThe Bududa and Manafwa Districts are located in NE Uganda, near the Kenyan border, and are home to 3 WMI loan hubs. Although the land is fertile, there is no longer enough of it for every family to be able to sustain itself by growing their own food; most families have no regular income. While there is a weekly market nearby and a small commercial center, residents have to travel one to two hours to Mbale to go to a bank or to the post office.

This area has one of the highest birth rates in Africa, with the average family having eight children. Public schools in the area are "free", however many families cannot afford to buy school uniforms, shoes, or the school supplies that are necessary to attend school. Along with these economic struggles, malnourishment and diseases, particularly malaria, are common.

Nestled in the hills of Mt. Elgon, during the annual rainy season this area is prone to landslides which can cause enormous damage. A mudslide in Bumwalukani in 2011 took the life of a WMI borrow and several children. The poor terrain and roads hamper emergency relief efforts, which causes further suffering. During the most recent mudslide, WMI sister programs in neighboring loan hubs brought relief supplies to the Bududa women. The deforestation of the hillsides for firewood and building lumber has caused the ground to become unstable in many areas. Only aggressive seedling planting and reduced use of firewood for cooking will reverse the extensive damage the environment has sustained.

Hills Of Mt. Elgon Hills Of Mt. Elgon

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