Summer 2019
WIL News & Updates
Message from the President

WIL has had a very exciting and accomplished year thanks to all our volunteers and donors. This newsletter highlights some of those accomplishments. I am especially proud of the good work done around developing WIL’s strategic plan and the initiatives that we will take on over the next 6 years. A detailed account will be available this fall in our annual report.

I am very pleased to report that this year’s major fund raiser, the Annual Appeal letter sent in February, raised over $22,000 from a broad group of WIL members and supporters. This appeal was extremely successful and will allow WIL to fund micro finance banks, empowerment grants and the educational programming for members that are all critical to our mission.

I look forward to seeing you in the coming year whether it be at one of our informative programs, at a service day or member get together.

Nancy Alter
WIL Strategic Plan Takes Shape

After several months of planning, a day-long, large group Strategic Planning Retreat was held on December 15, 2018, facilitated by a team of 3 external consultants led by Nancy Aronson. There were approximately 60 participants consisting of the WIL Board, WIL members (all members were invited) and external stakeholders, including donors, Empowerment Grant recipients, organizations administering micro-finance funds to WIL Village Banks and presenters at WIL educational programs.

The purpose of the Retreat was to identify strategic directions to guide the work of our organization for the next 6 years. These strategic directions will enable us to:
  • Continue to add value and make a unique contribution 
  • Have impact; make a difference
  • Connect to our individual passion and energy

Watch for a soon to be released detailed article describing our process and the decisions on initiatives that WIL will is undertaking.
WIL Programs Kick off on September 3rd
Amanda Martin from Etta Projects will present: Renewable Energy and Quechua Women in Bolivia on Tuesday, September 3 at 5:00 PM at Independence Live! (1919 Market Street). The program kicks off WIL’s 2019-2020 season of educational programming dedicated to expanding awareness of important international women’s issues.

Amanda Martin currently serves as the director of the Community Transformation Center with Etta Projects in Buena Vista, Bolivia. An experimental space for Bolivian and international visitors to learn, create, build, experiment, and collaborate, the CTC showcases model systems for water, sanitation, hygiene, alternative medicine, environmental conservation, and integrated agricultural systems. With over two decades of international development experience, Martin has served as the director of two non-profit organizations. She spent four years in Guatemala as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in rural Mayan villages, served as an English teacher in Southern China, worked for a human rights organization in Colombia for three years, and created a public health college for adult refugee students from Myanmar, in a refugee camp on the Thailand/Myanmar border.

Created in 2003, Etta Projects is a non-profit public health organization dedicated to working with rural communities in Bolivia to establish sustainable access to water, sanitation, and health care. WIL has selected Etta Projects as a Women’s Empowerment Grant Recipient in 2019 to fund the training of village women and purchase the construction materials to build bicycle blenders. With this support from WIL, 25 rural Quechua women community leaders will learn how to build bicycle-powered blenders as a creative and sustainable alternative to scarce fuel sources.  The project will not only empower the women to use these renewable energy appliances themselves to make medicinal plant remedies for the villagers, but also enable them to train other women in their villages to build their own blenders.
Amanda Martin
Mark Your Calendars: Upcoming Programs

Additional programs for WIL this year will be a lecture by Mike McGrath , host of the nationally syndicated PBS program You Bet Your Garden , on Tuesday, November 5 , and Alexandra Wolkoff from Puentes de Salud , a nonprofit organization promotes the health and wellness of South Philadelphia's rapidly growing Latino immigrant population through high-quality health care, innovative educational programs, and community building, on Tuesday, February 4 .
20th Micro Finance Loan Funded

This past January, WIL awarded its 20 th micro finance loan fund to the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF) in the Philippines. NWTF is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to provide sustainable financial and client-centered developmental services to the poor. WIL committed $5,000 to NWTF’s Dungganon Project which is a Grameen-style group lending program for women.

NWTF was founded in 1984 and serves marginalized urban and rural women all over Central Philippines. WIL’s loan fund is revolving and will provide micro financing to small groups of women who pledge joint responsibility for loan repayment. Loans are $170 on average. Terms can be from 3 – 36 months, with the average being 7 months.
The loans support women’s small entrepreneurial enterprises as a first step to helping them rise up from deep poverty to a sustainable life for themselves and their families. NWTF provides the women with business capacity building and financial management training. This may include business development, inventory management, bookkeeping and technical training specific to their particular business. NWTF requires a mandatory savings equivalent of 5% of the loan and offers optional life and health insurance.

We were especially fortunate that one of WIL’s Micro Finance Committee members had the opportunity to personally deliver WIL’s check to NWTF and meet with staff and a number of women who are past loan recipients while she was visiting family in the Philippines. We hope this will be the beginning of long-term relationship with NWTF.

In the next few weeks WIL will receive it’s first report from NWTF. The Micro Finance Committee is looking forward to reporting to WIL members and supporters how WIL’s loan fund to NWTF is helping poor women in the Philippines improve their lives and possibly one day become community leaders. 
2019 Empowerment Grants Help Many Women
The WIL Empowerment Grants Committee announced the 2019 projects on International Women’s Day, March 9, 2019. The Committee met in February 2019 to present and discuss 33 of the 63 proposals submitted. Eleven grants were selected for funding for a total of $10,000. There are new applicants as well as some which are building on previous successful projects. One grantee is a graduate of an entrepreneurial empowerment program funded in 2018! Here is a brief description of the 2019 Empowerment Grants. Please feel free to ask for more information.

Read about the grant recipients' projects here.                                                       
Service Committee Update:
A Busy Spring, a Busier Summer/Fall

When the Service Committee accepted applications for service projects, we underestimated how busy we, and the WIL membership, would be. Below are the projects finished and in process for this Summer and Fall! 

WIL’s Custom Kenya Safari with Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
WIL’s 2020 trip to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is full. We have 8 members going on this special adventure, with a behind the scenes tour of Lewa, community & village visits, as well as wildlife viewing, cultural experiences and a visit to Reteti Elephant Sanctuary. Stay tuned… we will be sharing stories and photos from this wonderful trip!