Mission and Goals
Women's Microfinance Initiative (WMI) is a non-profit organization founded by a network of professional women in the Washington, D.C. area.
WMI makes loans available to impoverished women who have no access to banking services. Issuing affordable, collateral-free loans for as little as $50, WMI promotes women's economic participation and carries the hope of prosperity to poor, rural areas of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Microfinance helps the poor grow tiny businesses to generate income that they can use for basic needs, education, healthcare, and savings. After two years in the WMI village-level loan program, women can transition to bank loans or their businesses can become self-financing. They achieve financial autonomy and join their country's formal economy.
WMI distributes loans through village-level organizations and works with these partners to develop social outreach networks.
WMI is a transparent, home-grown, non-profit organization dedicated to non-exploitive lending practices. It has no debt and minimal overhead costs: all U.S.-based board members, interns, and staff work on a volunteer basis.
WMI's mission is to establish village-level loan hubs, administered by local women, to provide capital, training and support services to rural women in the lowest income brackets in East Africa so that they can engage in income producing activities.
WMI's goal is to help women build assets so that they can stabilize their income, raise their standard of living and reorient themselves and their families.
WMI's small loans bring big changes to impoverished women, who use the money to build small businesses. With pro bono legal assistance from the law firm of Baker & McKenzie in New York, WMI issued its first microloans in January 2008. By the end of 2023, WMI had issued over 96,000 loans totaling over $12,000,000 to women in more than 1,000 villages.
WMI has developed a unique economic model to transition women to institutional banking and the formal economy in 24-months. Loan funds are recycled so that the program becomes self-sustaining. WMI is making financial inclusion a reality for village women in East Africa.
How It Works
How WMI Borrowers Generate Income
See how WMI members start a variety of creative businesses to generate income.
Olive Wolimbwa Discusses Program Impact after 10 years
WMI celebrates 10th anniversary with new video by Local Director, Olive Wolimbwa, discussing WMI's 10 year impact.