Allen Namerome And Her Husband Ambrose
WMI lends to women, but entire families support their businesses. Everyone pulls together to make these businesses a success. Families take control of their futures and are empowered to make choices that improve the living standards for the entire household.
Tailoring is a popular local business
Tailoring is a popular local business because there is high demand for clothes. Talented women create their own designs or follow patterns to make school uniforms.
Little Lambuli imitating his grandparents at work
Children imitate what they see. Children of WMI borrowers see their parents and grandparents engaged in business activities. They grow up seeing family members working hard so they can have a better life. In an area of the world where 95% of people are self-employed, children of WMI borrowers will have the opportunity to carry on a thriving business started by their parents and grandparents.
Selling at Bweri Market in Rural Uganda
Meet Mary Makoba selling onions at the Bweri Market, outside Buyobo, Uganda. Her business generates about $100 a month in profit. With onions selling for about a penny a piece, how does she do it? Volume! Volume! Volume!
Working 6 days a week she and her husband are constantly assessing the market. She buys from traders and farmers when prices are low, then stockpiles onions in a 5 foot square mud hut until market prices to creep up. Onions keep for a long time! Since receiving her first WMI loan in April 2008, Mary has purchased a goat, chickens, farm tools, a piece of land with legal title, and managed to save about $400. Her husband helps her by tying the onions, purchasing and transporting them.
Neither she nor her husband read or write well so their elder son, who is married, keeps the books. Mary has 10 children and WMI loans have allowed her to make enough money to pay school fees easily. Mary says she is saving to build a small shop to operate along with her onion business. When Mary first started in the WMI loan program her household income was about $20 a month. WMI loans have increased her household income by 500%. Your support has made Mary's journey to financial success possible!
For more recent pictures of WMI borrowers at their businesses, log on to WMI's Notes from Uganda.
Creating handmade beads from discarded paper
Creating handmade beads from discarded paper is a handicraft that has provided a number of women in the WMI loan program with a small business opportunity. The paper is rolled into different shapes and then varnished. Ladies are able to sell the beaded jewelry to retail outlets or businesses in Kampala that are shipping overseas.
WMI launched three new village loan hubs
In 2011, WMI launched three new village loan hubs: two in Uganda and one in Kenya. Here WMI president, Robyn Nietert, consults with Betty Bigale, the head of the Bududa Development Centre Women's Initiative, WMI's field partner in the new loan hub in Konokoyi village, in northeast Uganda.
The Local Coordinators of WMI's new loan hub in Shikokho
The Local Coordinators of WMI's new loan hub in Shikokho, Kenya are Susan Busolo Gusinjiru and Jennifer Musanga Miheso. Their biographies are listed on the WMI web site: Local Coordinators. WMI is partnering with the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church and the Shikokho Women's Group to operate the loan hub. These groups have been providing outreach services in this rural areas for the past decade. Shikokho is about an hour from Kakamega in south central Kenya.
Maasai women in Alelailai village
Maasai women in Alelailai village in the Ngorongoro Conservation area, 2 hours from the town of Kiratu, learn about the WMI loan program. Olive Wolimbwa and her team traveled from Buyobo, Uganda for 36 hours by public bus to reach these women who will be the first in Tanzania to receive WMI loans. Having been relocated by the government from Ngorongoro Crater to the extremely dry region surrounding it, they live in harsh conditions and were very grateful for the launch of the loan program. WMI is partnering with the Maasai Sustainability Initiative, founded by Judy Lane, to establish this loan hub in Tanzania.
Annual WMI Potluck Dinner
Over one hundred supporters gathered for the Annual WMI Potluck Dinner at the Carderock Springs Club in Bethesda, MD. It was a terrific evening of good food and good friends for a good cause. WMI president, Robyn Nietert, updated everyone on WMI's expanding activities. She also introduced WMI's brand new video which is now featured on the web site Home page.
Volunteers with the WMI loan program in Buyobo, Uganda
During the summer of 2011, more than 15 high school and college students, plus young adults (and a few not so young!) volunteered with the WMI loan program in Buyobo, Uganda. They taught in the local school, completed construction of three new classrooms, helped with computer training, and most of all built lasting relationships. Here, Ainsley Morris and her new friend take a stroll.
2011 Graduation Ceremony
WMI board members and volunteers share the joy of a loan program graduation ceremony with women of the Bulambuli Widow's Association in Buyobo, Uganda in January 2010.
WMI Slide Show
Colleen Rossier, a 2010 graduate from UVA with a degree in environmental science, travelled to Uganda in January 2011 for a 3 week internship with the WMI loan program and she documented WMI's annual visit. She joined Montana Stevenson and Ainsley Morris who had been in Uganda since the end of September working with the ladies on their transition to independent banking and WMI President, Robyn Nietert. Colleen worked for the US Department of Agriculture for three years and left to pursue a Ph.D. at UC-Davis. She is especially interested in the women's farming techniques, animal husbandry, and environmental stewardship.
CLICK HERE to see a slide show of her visit, including many shots of the WMI loan program in action, the January 2011 graduation ceremony and village life.
Visit to Uganda
Click here to view a presentation of scenes from WMI's 2011 annual visit to program operations in East Africa.
Fall Project UpdateClick here to view a presentation of scenes from WMI's Fall 2010 project in Uganda and Kenya.
Trip to Uganda and KenyaClick here to view a highlights of WMI's 2010 Trip to Uganda and Kenya
Tutoring ProgramClick here to view a presentation the WMI Tutoring Program
New Building in BuyoboClick here to view a slide show of the building going up in Buyobo.
Highlights from Loan RoundClick here to view a slide show of highlights from the January 2009 loan round, assisted by WMI Board Members Robyn Nietert and Trix Vandervossen.
Buyobo LaunchClick here to view a slide show of the January 2008 launch of the WMI loan program in Buyobo, Uganda, assisted by Board Members Robyn Nietert and June Kyakobye and intern, Montana Stevenson.
WMI Internship Slideshows
Click here to view a slide show of the graduation ceremony held January 2011 in Buyobo, Uganda as told by Colleen Rossier.
Walt Whitman High School Interns
Click here to view a slide show of Walt Whitman High School Interns with WMI Borrowers in Buyobo, Uganda.
WMI Tutoring Program
WMI Tutoring Program PowerPoint. In May/June 2009, two WMI interns from McGill University, Danny Straith and Tobin Jones, traveled to Buyobo to launch a tutoring program for the children in the village. Their work was continued by graduate students Margot Vandervossen and Bryan Miller in December 2009 and January 2010.