Day-to-day loan program operations at each loan hub in East Africa are managed by local women whom WMI has trained. The women are members of the loan program and leaders in their communities.

WMI operates from a rural headquarters in Buyobo, Uganda with additional physical loan pavilions located in outlying villages (making loan issuance and repayment logistically feasible for busy village women who are wives, mothers and entrepreneurs). Our team at the Buyobo Women's Association manages the local loan hub in Sironko District, Uganda and also provides supervision and oversight for all other loan hubs in East Africa. The BWA staff of 30 has developed tremendous experience in rural microfinance operations and training techniques that are tailored to the needs of village women. They have sent training teams to all of the loan hubs in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

WMI EAST AFRICA MANAGEMENT TEAM - BWA staff: Olive Wolimbwa, Director (front row standing, 7th from left); Jackie Namonye, Assistant Director, (front row standing, 8th from left); Irene Wetaka, Head Coordinator (back row standing, 6th from left); Grace Mangala, Operations Manager (front row standing, 9th from left); Milly Walimbwa, Finance Manager (front row standing, 6th from left); Robyn Nietert, WMI President (front row standing, far right); and, representatives of the spouses committee (back row standing, right).
Local Management Staff: Olive Wolimbwa, Director (front row standing, 7th from left); Jackie Namonye, Assistant Director, (front row standing, 8th from left); Irene Wetaka, Head Coordinator (back row standing, 6th from left); Grace Mangala, Operations Manager (front row standing, 9th from left); Milly Walimbwa, Finance Manager (front row standing, 6th from left); Robyn Nietert, WMI President (front row standing, far right); and, representatives of the spouses committee (back row standing, right).


Alaileli Maasai Sustainability Organization (AMSO) - Alailelai village, Alailelai Ward, Tanzania

Ngali KitmwasNgali Kitmwas, Head Administrator, was born in 1990 in Ngorongoro District within Nainokanoka Ward in Nainokanoka village. She attended the local primary school and completed her secondary education in 2009 at Embarway Secondary School within Ngorongoro District. After graduation, she married her husband John, in a ceremony in Alailelai village. Together with her husband she operates a small shop. In 2011, she began studying English in a course in Karatu. In 2012, she was elected as coordinator for the WMI microfinance loan program within Alailelai Maasai Sustainability Organization (AMSO), by all members of the microfinance loan program.

Maria Johane OlouluMaria Johane Oloulu, Assistant Head Administrator, was born in 1987 in Nagarenaibor, Longido , Tanzania . She attended Maasai Girls Girl where she completed her O Levels. She completed her A Level education at Moringe Secondary School. She then attended Mount Meru University and obtained a diploma in cultivation. She is married and has one child, a daughter named Nangidai, born in 2013.

Bududa Women's Development Group (BWDG) - Konokoya village, Bududa, Uganda

BettyBetty Bigala, Head Administrator, A graduate of the New Era Secretarial College in Nairobi, Ms. Bigala worked at Bududa Secondary School for 25 years. She joined Bududa Vocational Institute in February 2010 and is widowed with 7 children. Since WMI began a program in Konokya in October 2010, Ms. Bigala has coordinated and trained loan groups, compiled borrower reports and handled loan distribution.

Rose NekesaRose Nekesa, Assistant Head Administrator, was born in 1966 in Kaato, Manafwa District. She is a single parent. Her two children, Catherine and Alex, were born in 1982 and 1986. Rose attended Secondary School through Senior 3. She worked in a supermarket in Nairobi as an accountant before returning to Uganda. She started a restaurant business in Bududa Township using her WMI loan.

Buseesa Community Development Centre (BCDC), Buseesa village, Kibaale, Uganda

Winnie KyakuhaWinnie Kyakuha, Head Administrator, Winnie is the backbone of the BCDC and has been with the organization since its inception in March 2009. Winnie was born and raised in Buseesa Parish, having attended the SND's Notre Dame Academy up through her O levels. Winnie went on to receive a diploma in secretarial studies, foregoing further education in order to send her younger siblings to primary, secondary, and nursing school, and to support her family. As the BCDC Director, Winnie attends all monthly loan meetings and monthly Supervisory Committee meetings, conducts visits to BCDC members' businesses, and manages the BCDC's accounts. She became the head administrator of the WMI loan program when WMI partnered with BCDC's existing loan program in late 2012.

Buyobo Women's Association (BWA); formerly Buyobo Widows' Association - Bulambuli village, Buyobo, Uganda

Olive WolimbwaOlive Wolimbwa, Local Director, Born in Mbale in 1965, Olive was the fifth of 14 children. She is extremely active in the community serving as the treasurer for the Buyobo Secondary School board and Buyobo Church of Uganda as well as teaching primary 2 at Buyobo Primary School. To top it off, Olive is the Local Director of the WMI loan program in Buyobo, overseeing all loan program operations.

As a pioneer borrower, she was key in establishing the loan program in communities in the Mt. Elgon region and became chairperson of the Buyobo Women's Association in 2009. As the WMI loan program grows, Olive's role has expanded to supervision and oversight of all operations in Eastern Uganda as well as training new loan hubs in East Africa.

Jackline Nagudi NamonyeJackline Nagudi Namonye, Assistant Local Director, Jackline was born in 1972. Before acquiring a WMI loan, she was barely supporting her family of 5 by selling cold drinks by the side of the road. After receiving her WMI loan, she went back to school and trained as a teacher which helped her in acquiring methods and skills to supplement WMI's training by helping other borrowers with their marketing and bookkeeping. She began to assist at training sessions and then attended the World Bank "Training to Train" session and is now a certified trainer. She is also a gifted singer and helped write the many WMI songs. As Assistant Director, she works aside Olive in all aspects of loan program operations.

Phoebe Irene WetakaPhoebe Irene Wetaka, Head Coordinator, Irene attended primary school and secondary school and then studied at the Buweri Teachers' College. She taught in primary schools until 1996, when she was appointed as Acting Head-Teacher until 2001. She then acted as Deputy Head-Teacher until 2008. In March of 2008 she joined WMI as a borrower and volunteered to help organize her group members. Irene was promoted to Coordinator and selected to participate in Training to Train in order to help educate the women who were participating in the loan program. She runs a business in second-hand clothing, which allows her to pay tuition for one of her daughters to attend University.

Milly WalmimbwaMilly Walmimbwa, Finance Manager, Through her mother Olive, Milly has been exposed to the efforts of WMI since its founding. In 2010, she started volunteering at WMI. While completing secondary school, she was the secretary and helped with office work. Upon completion of university in 2016, she was hired as the Finance Manager. Milly is responsible for all of BWA's financial operations. She also supports the loan center in Bududa, completing their finance reports each month, and consults to other hubs as well. Fluent in Lugisu and English, Milly also supports our interns as they interact with borrowers.

E. Lushaya Women's Group (ELWG) - East Lushaya village, Kabale, Uganda

HopeHope Kazahura, Head Administrator, Ms. Kazahura, a widow, cares for her 3 children as well as 3 orphans from her extended family. She worked as the Director of Kabale's Drucilla Balaba Training Center, which provides vocational training to young girls, and in 1997 was promoted to her current position of Project Director for Compassion International, where she oversees several centers and directs all child development activities. As the co-chair of ELWG, she coordinates and trains loan groups, handles loan issuances, complies borrower reports and provides empowerment information sessions in nutrition, health and education for the ELWG.

Korongoro Community Trust (KCT), Norongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and Moduli District, Tanzania

Sinyati Loromotu NgamuriakiSinyati Loromotu Ngamuriaki, Sinyati was born in 1998 at Engaruka village. She is the last born of her eight siblings. Her parents were pastoralists and her dad dies in 2009. She grew up in a very rural environment marked by extreme poverty. Sinyati performed well in primary school and went on to Irkisale Secondary School, graduating in 2016. After that she joined University of Institute of Rural Development Planning at the Mwanza campus in a Certificate course, followed by a Diploma course in Development planning at the Mwanza, where she graduated in January 2020.

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (Lewa) - East Laikepia and Meru District, Kenya

In 2015, WMI entered a new partnership with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya, which had started a microfinance outreach for the local women who live in the rural villages surrounding the Conservancy. The collaboration with Lewa merged the loan hubs WMI had started in the area into Lewa's existing operations.

Purity MwendePurity Mwende, Community Program Administrator, handles the day to day financial management of the loan program serving Ngarendare in East Laikipia; Ntumburi in Meru District; and, other villages surrounding the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Uganda. She holds a first degree in Business Administration and is close to completing a Masters in Business Administration. She is also a certificate holder of accounts training. Before joining Lewa in 2011, she worked for a rural bank project which focused on financial inclusion for villagers. She is extensively engaged in the business skills and financial literacy training for our borrowers in northern Kenya.

Mara Oiti Women Self Help Group, Aitong Village, Masai Mara, Kenya

Manuella Leparmarai SopiaManuella Leparmarai Sopia, Manuella was born and raised in Samburu in the North East of Kenya. She holds a certificate in business administration from Meru university. Manuella worked for Samburu county government for 1 year as a secretary in the County Government Finance Office. She currently lives in Maasai Mara with her husband and 2 children where she runs her Agrovet business. She is passionate about business and women empowerment activities.

Matuwa Micro Finance Women Group, Buputo, Manafwa District, Uganda

Jennifer KhawoyaJennifer Khawoya, Head Administrator, Jennifer is 50 years old and married with 5 children. She and her family live in a semi-permanent house in Butinduyi village in Manafwa District. She is a dynamic leader and well- respected among the women and in the local community. Trained as a school teacher, Jennifer now operates a tailoring business in the village.

Shikokho Chanuka Women C.B.O - Shikokho, Kenya

Jennifer Musanga MihesoJennifer Musanga Miheso, Head Administrator, Jennifer is married with six grown children. For her formal education, she completed 12th grade or Form Four at Butere Girls Secondary School near where she grew up in Kakamega District. Her career as a senior manager with KENYA POSTA spanned thirty years. She has now retired and is a general farmer here in Shikokho. She is one of the six founding members of the Shikokho Women's Group (SWG), begun in 1979. She values their long history together, as well as their enthusiasm during the United Nations Conference on Women in 1985 and the active days with Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, which energized them to incorporate and work together to better the community through self-help projects and led the progress toward individual businesses and training in partnership with WMI. She looks forward to this opportunity to guide and encourage the women throughout the entire Shikokho area to successfully manage their individual WMI small business loans and continue to benefit from WMI training sessions in the future.

Tloma Community Organization, Karatu, Arusha, Tanzania

Eliminatha Slaa MargweEliminatha Slaa Margwe, joined GWOCO at its inception in 2013, but she's been in business much longer. She started out as a butcher 19 years ago. A few years later, her husband left her with eight children to take care of (she has had 11 children in total, but three are deceased). She supported her family independently, and her GWOCO loan allowed her to expand her business from butchering goats to cows and other livestock.

Eliminatha served as Secretary of GWOCO from the beginning, and was promoted to the position of Chairwoman in August when the former chairwoman retired. Under her leadership, GWOCO is expanding to new villages and more women in our current villages. Eliminatha's favorite part of the job is passing on her knowledge of entrepreneurship to other women in her community and beyond.