September/October 2011



In This Update:


  • Meet Margaret Video - PLEASE POST ON FACEBOOK

  • Josh Kershenbaum's Random Act of Kindness

  • WMI Featured Charity During November On Tototown

  • WMI Launches Gulu, Uganda and Shikokho, Kenya Loan Hubs 



If you haven't had a chance to view WMI's new, 3-minute "Meet Margaret" video, please take a few minutes to watch it now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as8HI7-h_Cw  


Created by one of WMI's very talented summer interns, Erin Kelly, it was filmed entirely in Buyobo, Uganda and captures the essence of how the WMI loan program improves lives. Margaret shows us her business and in her own words describes how it has changed her life.


We have received a terrific response to the video. If you have a Facebook page, please help us get the word out on WMI by posting the Meet Margaret video. Dozens of people have alrready done so and it is definitely helping to increase WMI's visibility! 



In early October, WMI received a donation from a new contributor, Josh Kershenbaum, which was followed shortly by numerous other new donations made in honor of Josh Kershenbaum, who had challenged his friends to support WMI. In writing to Josh to thank him and ask how he chose to engage his friends on behalf of WMI, the following story unfolded. It will make you smile. Our joint efforts are recognized by others and even inspiring them. It's really remarkable.


Dear Robyn,

Thank you so much for your email. I was going to write to you to tell you what my friends have been up to. It's a great story that is still unfolding. It began the other day when I found a $5 bill on the sidewalk while walking to lunch. When I got home, I shared this on Facebook and asked my friends to share ideas for what I could do with the money. The suggestions ranged from "buy a slice of pumpkin pie" to "donate it to a microfinancing organization" (seriously!). It really got me thinking about how one could do the most possible good with $5... a very interesting question, as I'm sure you know. It seemed clear to me after a while that the best thing to do was to use it to help others help themselves and to inspire others to do the same. When I decided that this was what I was going to do, I went online and searched for microfinancing organizations and found yours. I then shared my decision with my friends on Facebook and challenged them to help make the $5 grow by making similar donations. I was blown away by the response. Many of my friends got on board right away; some even reposted the idea on their status. I don't know how many people ultimately joined in, but I intend to keep this going for as long as I can and to encourage others to do the same. One thing is for sure... I will never use a found dollar to buy a lottery ticket again!  



 Keep up the great work!! I will keep doing what I can to keep this wonderful tree growing. 


 Very truly yours,
Josh Kershenbaum 






In November, WMI is the featured organization on the website "TotoTown" (www.tototown.com). TotoTown is a Bethesda based fundraising company that uses their "Daily Deal" website to raise money for local non-profits. TotoTown is similar to Groupon or LivingSocial, but 20% of every coupon sold is donated to a charity of your choice. Registration on TotoTown is easy and free.   If you are interested in any of TotoTowns daily deals, 20% of the sale will go to WMI.

To Register for Tototown:

  • Go to www.tototown.com.
  • Click "Register Here."
  • Write "WMI" in the "Who is your favorite cause?" box.
  • Click "Sign Up!"

WMI's newest new loan hubs in Gulu, Uganda and Shikokho, Kenya were launched this past October.  Olive Wolimbwa, WMI's Local Director, traveled with her training team from Buyobo, Uganda to both loan hubs to orient the new WMI borrowers and Head Coordinators who will be administering each hub.


To operate the Gulu loan hub, WMI is partnering with the Childcare and Development Organisation Uganda (CDO-U), a registered, local non-profit organisation.  Its mission is to improve the socio-economic well being of vulnerable and orphaned children and families in the Gulu District.  CDO-U is a story of commitment by its founders, Hope Okeny and Hellen Akwero, to address the challenges faced by thousands of children in Northern Uganda who have been orphaned by 23 years of civil war and affected by the HIV AIDS pandemic.


In Shikokho, Kenya, WMI is partnering with the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church and the Shikokho Women's Group to launch the loan hub.  These groups that have providing outreach services in this rural areas for the past decade.  The loan hub coordinators are: Susan Busolo Gusinjiru (Suzie) and Jennifer Musanga Miheso, whose biographies are listed on the WMI web site:  http://www.wmionline.org/who/coordinators/local_coordinators.html


Olive and her team braved the fierce rainy season weather to organize the training in Shikokho.  They were joined by two trainers from WMI's Siaya, Kenya hub, who will be the back-up resource for the new hub in Shikokho. This excerpt from Olive's Report will give you an idea of the tremendous dedication of WMI's local staff:


  On Friday 14th Oct 2011 I traveled to Shikoko to train Shikoko women's Group.

  I started the bus journey at 9:00am in the morning and reached at 8:00 in the night.  It rained throughout the day and the road from Sigalagala was impassable. I reached somewhere and I removed my shoes because they were too heavy at that time. The distance which I moved on foot was 3km, imagine.

   Millicent and Margaret from Siaya joined me later, they also arrived when they were wet and Margaret had a baby. We slept at Jeniphers place. Jeniphers and her husband were so welcoming and caring. In the morning of Saturday we went to Shikoko clinic where we conducted training, delayed a bit, and we stared at the training at 11; 00am.  40 women turned up for the training and everybody was excited to get a loan, I told them 20 will get now and others will get after may be in January.  The ladies participated very well and they asked very many questions which I managed to answer.


One of WMI's greatest strengths is the peer-to-peer training and back-up support that it provides to new borrowers and new loan hub coordinators.  The dedication of all of WMI's local staff helps make the loan program so successful.  The local staff is extremely grateful for all the support provided by WMI donors here in the USA.      

Suzi and Jennifer
Suzie and Jennifer, Coordinators for the Shikokho Women's Group



Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the women and families who benefit from the WMI loan program.  WMI's success is a result of your efforts. Your ongoing interest and support is helping to change the face of poverty, one loan at a time.



The WMI Board of Directors


Robyn Nietert  [email protected] 

Betsy Gordon [email protected]
Deborah Smith [email protected]
June Kyakobye [email protected]
Trix Vandervossen [email protected]
Jane Erickson [email protected]
Terry Ciccotelli [email protected]