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.

Blessed Women's Association - Atiak, Amuru District, Uganda

Akello SylviaAkello Sylvia, Head Administrator, was born in Gulu, Northern Uganda. She completed her Advanced Certificate of Education (NACE) there in 2010. She then started an additional certificate course in social work and social administration (SWASA) which she hopes to continue when funds are available. In 2011 she worked with Golden Youth Boda-Boda Association. The organization gave youth motorcycles in the form of loans and taught them about record keeping and good business practices. She moved to Atiak last year when she married. She quickly saw the reality for rural woman in Atiak as she took her Chipati to sell in the market each morning and then met weekly with a local savings and loan groups designed to help widows pay school fees. She loves singing, reading, and working with children.

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

OliveOlive Wolimbwa, Local Director, Ms. Wolimbwa, 42, was a widow for five years until she remarried several years ago. She received training in Uganda as a primary school teacher and taught school for 15 years. She is the Local Director of the WMI loan program overseas and continues to work with the school district as well as directing loan program operations. She helped establish and is head of the Buyobo Women's Association and is a key force in developing village-level resources. Ms. Wolimbwa has 7 children and cares for 2 AIDS orphans. As the WMI loan program grows, Ms. Wolimbwa's role has expanded to supervision and oversight of expansion programs.

JackieJackline Nagudi Namonye, Assistant Local Director, Ms. Namonye is 31 and was a widow for many years until she remarried last year. She has 5 children, and before acquiring a WMI loan, she was barely supporting her family selling cold drinks by the side of the road. After receiving her loan, however, she used her knowledge of English and her basic math skills to help other borrowers with their marketing and bookkeeping. She began to assist at training sessions and then attended the World Bank "Training to Train" session. She is now a certified trainer. She is also a gifted singer and helped write the WMI anthem. She assists Ms. Wolimbwa in all aspects of loan program operations.

IrenePhoebe 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.

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.

Karin Women's Group (KWG) - Gulu, Uganda

Evelyn AchiengEvelyn Achieng, Head Administrator, Evelyn is 32 and married, with one child. She has always been very determined to succeed no matter what the circumstances. She lost both her parents while she was in her second year of high school and had to discontinue school in order to take care of her younger siblings, one that was still a baby. She later went back to finish high school and even continued on to higher education, attaining a diploma in HIV/AIDS Social Care in the Community. She prides herself on her ability to make friends and to serve the community. She is determined to make the Gulu loan hub succeed and grow. She says the positive effects she has seen among the borrowers and their families keep her motivated! Along with being a leader in WMI, she is currently raising her 8-month daughter, working at the Childcare Medical Center as an administrator, and running her (quarry) business. She buys precut stone and then sells it to people in the area that use it for building. She is sure that with her own hard work, accompanied by her WMI loan, her business will continue to increase.

Hope OkenyHope Okeny, Local Liaison, As the founder of Childcare Development Organisation Uganda, Hope is an entrepreneur and works to support her community. She is an accomplished project manager and has extensive skills in the areas of community dialogue, business training, coaching and mentorship, projects management, and leadership training. At CDO Uganda, Hope manages various programs that deal with healthcare, psychosocial support, livelihoods, and food security in the community. One of her latest projects is working to build a medical centre for the community to improve health services. Hope's business background provides her with the skills and knowledge to teach local entrepreneurs business skills. Hope is married with three children. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and reading.

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.

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.