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Winter 2009 - College Interns

Winter 2009/2010 - Buyobo Interns

Summer 2009 - Buyobo InternsIn December 2009, Margot van der Vossen from Bethesda, MD (Walt Whitman high school alum) and Brian Miller from Rochester, NY, traveled to Buyobo to spend six weeks interning for WMI. Equipped with an M.A. in International Relations in Diplomacy International Studies from Leiden University - the Netherlands (Margot) and a Master's Degree in Math, Science, and Technology Education from St. John Fisher College, in Rochester, NY (Brian), they focused on developing WMI's fledgling youth tutoring program and helping the ladies with loan program procedures.

Summer 2009 - Buyobo InternsHaving brought over 1,000 donated children's books with them, Brian and Margot expanded WMI's children's library, and continued the tutoring program introduced by interns Danica Castraith and Tobin Jones in May 2009. They also set up a PTSA/educational committee to take charge of the tutoring programs and other educational endeavors, turning over all duties and responsibilities to a community-member committee.

Through their meetings with solar power providers in Kampala, Margot and Brian were able to do comprehensive cost-comparisons for solar lighting options. They brought several demo solar products to Buyobo with them, and villagers were excited to learn about these new options. While traveling through Sironko, Margot and Brian met almost all of he loan program clients and were able to develop information about their living standards and how the program had improved their lives.

Summer 2009 - Buyobo InternsThanks to extremely generous donations from WMI supporters, the 1000+ books that Margot and Brian added to the library generated much excitement throughout the village. Parents expressed their gratitude for helping their children develop valuable reading skills, and were immensely happy to see their children spending their free time reading. The books were very useful in the tutoring program, particularly the non-fiction, as they help fill the void of science and history educational resources at the local public school.

Summer 2009 - Buyobo InternsMargot and Brian spent as much time as they could getting to know the people of Buyobo. Brian spent many of his evenings playing soccer with the local young men, and Margot got to know the children and other spectators, chatting about everything from favorite Champions League teams to American politics to the upcoming elections in Uganda.

Both Brian and Margot are optimistic that the economy of the Buyobo region will continue to grow and expand through the businesses made possible by the WMI loan program. They saw how the women borrowers are better able to feed their families, obtain medical care for household members and pay school fees for their children though the income they earn and money they save.

Check out the links below for more information about Margot and Brian's work and the tutoring program.

Summer 2009 - Buyobo Interns

January 2010 - Buyobo Intern

January 2010 - Buyobo InternIn January 2010, Alex Richardson, a sophomore at Oberlin College, travelled to Buyobo with WMI President Robyn Nietert and Advisory Board Member Denis Kalule to assist with the first major loan issue of the year and to help transition the first WMI borrowers to bank loans with PostBank Uganda. Alex was also in charge of photography and videography for the trip, documenting the progress the loan program has made in just two short years. He caught the enthusiasm of the entire village in his video of the ladies' parade to the Trading Center to celebrate the loan program's second anniversary and the graduation of the first borrowers to bank loans.

Check out his work posted on the WMI web site at:

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