WMI sponsors Fellowship programs in East Africa to assist loan hubs with executive administration and human-capacity building. The Fellow's basic function is to act as the chief field coordinator for operations. The Fellow helps build leadership skills among the local staff, assists in implementing effective systems operations, troubleshoots issues, assists in developing appropriate chains of command and reporting systems, and improves staff computer/technology skills. The Fellow also documents program activities (photographs and interviews), creates content for the organization's web site, and interfaces with other non-profits to build local collaborations.
Qualifications include a college degree; prior work in the development sector is helpful, as is knowledge of business operations. Vacant Fellow positions will be posted on the WMI web site as they become available.
All Fellowship positions are currently filled for 2021.
Jane John Masila
Jane John Masila is a graduate of the Institute of Accountancy in Arusha, TZ. She developed skills in accounting and management in her position at Aboni Plantations, Ltd. where she reported to the Managing Director. Her duties included preparing income and bank payment vouchers, monthly financial reports, and bank reconciliation. Prior to that Jane interned at the Regional Commissioner's Office in Arusha where she provided support for administrative and financial operations.
She is fluent in English and Swahili. Jane is assisting the WMI loan hubs in Tanzania with executive administrative training and loan program operations and expansion.
WMI welcomes Kaycee Corcoran as the 2019/2020 Resource Fellow in Buyobo, Uganda! Originally from Philadelphia, PA, she earned her BA in Sociology from Penn State. After graduating in December 2016, she embarked on her 26-month Peace Corps Service in a rural town in Eastern Uganda, teaching alternative gardening to combat climate change and methods to improve household nutrition.
Additionally, she worked at the grassroots level with women's groups to introduce low capital income-generating products that could meet local needs such as bio briquettes (formed charcoal made from organic materials or charcoal dust), and potholders. Previously, the village had used gathered firewood and women experienced burnt fingers daily before they started sewing their own potholders, both of which are now small sources of income for the women in the group.
WMI would like to welcome our 2017/2018 fellow Caitlin Seandel! Caitlin is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California and holds two bachelor degrees from San Diego State. Her primary BA is in International Security and Conflict Resolution with an emphasis in conflict and conflict management.
Caitlin worked with organizations that represented the students of color where she not only participated in but organized campus, city and state-wide rallies. These experiences allowed her to realize her passion was in human rights/social justice and international development. After graduation, she moved to Phnom Penh to teach English for a year. While there, she taught English and created a women empowerment workshop through the Cambodian Arts and Scholarship Foundation. Caitlin is joining WMI after being in tech sales in the Bay Area for 2 years.
WMI welcomes Kirsten Miner as the 2016/2017 Resource Fellow in Buyobo, Uganda. Kirsten is a Washington State native and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in Public Health and Women Studies. Before graduating in 2011, Kirsten served as the Women's Action Commission Director under the Associated Students of the UW, working together with the campus Women's Center to represent the interests of the 20,000 women constituents of the University.
Following graduation, Kirsten served for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in a rural village in Zambia's Muchinga Province. Her work focused primarily on implementing malnutrition intervention and malaria reduction programs, as well as conducting health education campaigns on HIV prevention and maternal health. Kirsten is joining WMI from Seattle's Center for Infectious Disease Research, where she spearheaded the Center's Global Health Seminar series and provided administrative support across several labs and departments.
Ashely Van Waes
The WMI Fellow for 2015/2016 is Ashely Van Waes, who hails from the great state of Nebraska. Ashley received her Bachelor's degree cum laude at the University of Nebraska with a focus on International Business and Economics. During her college career, Ashley became involved in development and gender economics. She took a special interest in social provisioning and studied extensively how microfinance organizations operate effectively in low-resource settings.
Ashley studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina during which time she volunteered at a local women's shelter. Upon graduation from college, Ashley took a position with the International Association of Feminist Economics (IAFFE) as a research aid and eventually an event coordinator. She spearheaded the coordination of the 2014 IAFFE Annual Conference held in Ghana. Before receiving the Fellowship, she was with Americorps, working at the American Red Cross in New Orleans, Louisiana where she responds to disasters to assist clients in their recovery process.
WMI's 2014 Resource Fellow is Melissa LaReau. Melissa holds a master's degree in international affairs from Texas A&M University and bachelor's degrees in economics and political science from Hartwick College (NY).
Melissa studied international affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service. She worked closely with the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and was involved with the creation of their post-conflict and development databases. Melissa's undergraduate economics thesis was a case study on microfinance. She spent time in Ayacucho, Peru gathering data on group lending and developed a game theoretic model that demonstrated why women are incentivized to pay back their loans. In addition, Melissa was an exchange student in Recife, Brazil and has studied abroad in Ireland, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Melissa left her position as a senior transfer pricing economist with Ernst & Young to join the women of Buyobo.
WMI's 2013 Resource Fellow in Buyobo is Liz Mooney. Liz received her BA from Brown University, where she concentrated in International Relations with a curricular focus on Global Security and a regional focus on the Middle East. She has had three years of Arabic Language study and participated in a language immersion program at Alexandria University in Alexandria, Egypt.
Liz's interest in microfinance grew while working as an Associate at the Capital Good Fund (CGF), a financial empowerment organization based in Rhode Island. At CGF she developed a wholly-owned, for-profit subsidiary called Capital Good Technologies, dedicated to closing the digital divide among low-income Americans by offering an affordable line of environmentally-friendly technology products. Most recently, Liz worked as a Research Analyst at Milcord, building a data base to support foreign humanitarian assistance operations.
We are very happy to announce the addition of WMI Resource Fellow, Hannah Kahl. She is a native of Martha's Vineyard, MA and previously worked with Earth Birth in Atiak, Uganda as a community organizer. Hannah is a 2006 graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelors in anthropology. She graduated Cumma Sum Laude and was admitted into Phi Beta Kappa (undergraduate honors organization). Hannah has worked in community organizing in the lowest income parts of Boston and also with the Center for Social Leadership at San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico.
Hannah is assisting Olive Wolimbwa, WMI's Local Director, and WMI's East Africa team with building their management capacity and setting up systems and procedures to supervise all loan hub activity. She is visiting visit all loan hubs and assist with budgeting and program.
WMI Project Director
WMI Project Director
Montana Stevenson and Ainsley Morris were in Uganda and Kenya working on WMI projects for 10 months starting in September 2010. They traveled to Kabale in Southwestern Uganda to launch new loan programs and to central Kenya to visit existing ones. They visited other WMI village programs throughout East Africa to collect data and train borrowers and loan hub managers.
In January 2011, WMI graduated its first borrowers to independent loans with PostBank Uganda (PBU). Montana and Ainsley surveyed 120 WMI borrowers and conducted personal interviews with half of them to understand their banking needs. Their research led to the development of the longitudinal study on the impact of the loan program on borrowers and their families. After reviewing book-keeping practices, they prepared a basic accounting tutorial and provided advanced training to help ensure financial autonomy.
Montana was an Echols Scholar at the University of Virginia, graduating in 2010 with a history major and economics minor. She traveled to Uganda in January 2008 to help launch the loan program and has interned with WMI each summer since then, leading a high school summer internship visit to Buyobo in June,2010. Ainsley graduated in 2010 from the University of Edinburgh with a Master's of Arts with Honors in Economics. She worked with WMI over the summer of 2010 to develop surveys and outline the transition manual.
The banking study, transition manual and advanced training was supported in part by a generous grant from the Boeing Corporation and was conducted in conjunction with PBU.For pictures and comments about Montana and Ainsley's journey, follow their blog at: wmionline.wordpress.com. To see a slide show of Montana and Ainsley's work in the villages, click here.
Montana and Ainsley with new WMI borrowers