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