July/August  2012 




In This Update:



 2012 WMI Fact Books Document Successes - Now Online

This summer WMI's hardworking college interns analyzed data from the WMI loan hubs and prepared fact books that show the demographic profile of WMI borrowers and the impact the loan program is having in improving lives. The results continue to be extremely impressive.

WMI is serving an extremely poor population. 96% of borrowers who enter the loan program are living on less than $2 a day - the UN definition of living in poverty. That has not changed in the 4 years since WMI launched the loan program. There is no general improvement in the baseline poverty level of the rural women who seek out WMI loans.

But there are immediate and sustained economic improvements for WMI borrowers:

Within 6 months their incomes increase by an average of 66%. Within 12 months, nearly 75% of borrowers are earning over $6.50/day, with 35% earning over $10/day. By 24 months 51% of borrowers are earning over $13/day with 25% earning over $21/day. The women's increased earnings translate into significant improvements in household living standards.

Please take a few minutes to check out the fact books on the WMI web site and see for yourself how WMI is changing the face of poverty for women in rural East Africa.


WMI 2012 Fact Books 

 High School Interns Return From Uganda


For the third consecutive summer high school students from Walt Whitman in Bethesda, MD served as interns in Buyobo, Uganda. Led by history teacher Bob Mathis, they taught at the local elementary school, created a teacher's garden and joined the women in carrying our simple business tasks like harvesting vegetables and sorting beans. The interns returned in early July and Della Turque-Henneberger wrote an article about her experience for the Washington Post Blog.


Archie Mears Joins WMI Advisory Board 

Archie Mears, an experienced microfinance executive, has joined the WMI Advisory Board. Archie is the former Managing Director of Opportunity International Uganda, a regulated microfinance institution serving small and medium enterprise clients with loan, savings and money transfer services. He is a life-long banker specializing in African operations. He spent 28 years with ANC Grindlays Bank and also held executive positions at Stanbic Zambia and Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda. Archie retired from his Opportunity International position this past April and has generously offered to provide his guidance as WMI continues to expand and build its local operations. Archie currently resides with his wife in West Linton, Scottish Borders, United Kingdom.   


Follow WMI On Twitter!


WMI now has a Twitter account and you can follow us on Twitter at: @wmionline.


Thanks to Jess Littman, WMI high school intern in Buyobo 2010 and college intern in Bethesda 2012, for launching and managing WMI's newest social media platform.

Former WMI College Intern Wins Photojournalism Prize

Tobin Jones, Buyobo's 2009 Summer College Intern, recently won the Echo Foundation's prestigious student international photojournalism competition for original photography responding to the question, "What does democracy or tyranny; justice or injustice look like?" New York Times Senior Photographer Tyler Hicks judged the competition and awarded the grand prize to Tobin, now a graduate student in photojournalism at the University of Westminster in London. His prizewinning photo was taken in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. The prize was a trip to The Echo Foundation in Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention and the opportunity to spend a day with legendary Life Magazine photographer Bill Eppridge.  

These are some of the wonderful photos Tobin shot for WMI during his internship:

tobin yellow hat  tobin close up kid

    tobin purple scarf tobin dani tobin olive b  tobin white scarf  tobin kid tobin green dress



Thank you!




The WMI Board of Directors



Robyn Nietert          rgnietert@aol.com  

Betsy Gordon          betsygord@mac.com
Deborah Smith        deborahwsmith@yahoo.com
June Kyakobye        junekyaks@yahoo.com

Trix Vandervossen   bvandervossen@imf.org

Jane Erickson         ericksonjn@verizon.net
Terry Ciccotelli            terryciccotelli@gmail.com