FALL 2017             





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In This Update...

  • Combined Federal Campaign in Full Swing - WMI #40320
    10th Anniversary Video
    10th Anniversary Video
  • World Bank and IMF Presentations 
  • Harvard's Kennedy School Awards WMI A $6,000 Grant
  • Tanzania Loan Program Expands
  • WMI Creates Its Own Loan Tracking Software
  • WMI is 10 Years Old  - check out the video!
WMI Participates in Fall Giving Campaigns 
It's the fall charitable-giving season at federal agencies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. WMI is actively participating in all of these campaigns and has been invited to make presentations at numerous agencies.  This is a great opportunity for us to get the word out about our work and achievements over the past year.

If you work at a federal agency please consider supporting WMI through your office giving campaign: our CFC number is 40340.  WMI is listed in both the World Bank and IMF registries of qualified charitable organizations.  The WB's Community Connections Campaign and the IMF's Charitable Giving have a multiplier effect as individual contributions are partially matched each year.  It is a great way for WMI to increase the impact of donated funds.

WMI receives over $50,000 a year through these various campaigns and is very grateful to the many supporters who contribute to WMI through their office-based charitable giving programs.

(L to R) World Bank Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Sandie Okoro, staff attorney Edith Mwenda, and WMI's Robyn Nietert
WMI President, Robyn Nietert (third from left) with Axel van Trotsenburg (to her left), Head of the World Bank Development Finance Vice Presidency and Staff members

Students at Harvard's Kennedy School Award WMI A Grant 
WMI was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from a graduate student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government announcing that WMI had been selected by a team of students to receive a $6,000
unrestricted grant.  Professor Christopher Marquise, visiting Professor of Social Innovation and Public Policy, further informed us that the students in his course on Philanthropy had conducted a rigorous selection process and after vetting numerous organizations WMI was recommended for a grant. 

Part of the focus of the course is to give 
students the responsibility of choosing a non-profit to receive funding (which was provided by a private educational foundation for this purpose).  Managing the award process themselves gave students hands-on experience in screening a non-profit's performance and impact, as well as direct insight into the role of philanthropy in addressing public problems. WMI was thrilled that it had risen to the top of the students' vetting process and quite delighted with the unexpected award.
Tanzania Loan Program Improves Lives of Maasai Women and Families

Rachel Blackmore
WMI partners w
Ponja Tayai
ith the UK-based non-profit, Weston Turville We lls for Tanzania (WTWT), co-founded by Rachel Blackmore in the UK and Ponja Tayai in Tanzania, to provide microfinance and community-based health services to Maasi women in  Nainokanoka Ward,  in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. 
The rural area where the Maasai live presents numerous challenges.  Farming is restricted, there are few resources, and there is limited access to health care. The Maasai are a determined and adaptable people who are working hard on solutions to these problems through education and microfinance loans to increase their economic activities beyond pastoralism.   Rachel recently made a field visit to Nainokanoka to help support the expansion of the loan program (through additional funding from WMI) and provided this very encouraging update :  

I 've been meaning to write you about the successes of the loans. The groups are running very well and having a great positive impact on the community. When I was there recently I sat in on one of their
meetings. It was very touching to see how seriously the meeting was taken and how well organized it was. Once all the loan installments had been paid back for that week, and the books stamped, the money was counted and then given as another loan to one of the women who had not yet received a loan. The money is returned briefly to the golden metal box, with three padlocks, it is then re-loaned so it is continually put to work.

It was also very mo ving to hear what their different businesses were and what a difference it is making to their lives. The first women were buying and selling maize, the next rice, then cooking oil, tea, sugar, greens and beads. Their business successes are enabling them to have enough for their families to eat and their children to go to school. They are also finding that they are receiving greater respect from their husbands and reduced violence. I've attached a couple of pictures of the women and their business - the woman in red in Massoi - one of the very capable loan leaders.

WMI Creates Its Own Loan Tracking Software
Joel running through the software prototype with the BWA Executive team in Buyobo
WMI and it's partner, the Buyobo Women's Association (BWA), have decided to develop software to not only help track loans and manage our finances but also to help manage our data so we are better equipped to support borrowers in more effective ways.  The WMI loan program is unique in dispersing and collecting loans right from a village hub office, centrally located in the rural areas where our clients live.  Because the women are organized into loan groups of 20 and into geographic sub-hubs, typical loan tracking software does not provide the level of detail or specific information the hubs are now tracking via spreadsheets and ledger books. 

For the past six months we have been working with two talented Ugandan engineers, Elvis and Joel, both in their early-20s, who have routinely traveled from Kampala up to Buyobo to meet with the BWA team and learn the intricacies of the loan program's operations.  They have now developed a wire frame prototype which our team is debugging to make sure it covers all loan and data collection functions. Elvis and Joel work closely with Milly (our Finance Manager) and Caitlin (our WMI Fellow) as well as the BWA Executive Team to perfect the software and tailor it to fit all of WMI's needs. We are optimistic the program will be ready to go before the end of the year and the BWA ladies plan on having Elvis and Joel back for the launch party!

WMI is 10 Years Old  - check out the video!

It's hard to believe that WMI was incorporated as a non-profit 10 years ago this month!  In that time, we have issued over  40,000 loans totaling approximately $5,000,000.

If you haven't had a chance to watch the short 10th anniversary video please take just a few minutes to do so - you won't regret it!  It features narration by our Local Director, Olive Wolimbwa, as she takes you on a tour of not just the loan program, but all of the ancillary community service projects that have been made possible as a result of the loan program.  The women choose the projects themselves and it is startling to see the length and breadth of the projects' impact in improving the quality of life for the entire community.  

Thank You!

WMI is extremely grateful for all of the support provided by our donors. Your commitment and thoughtfulness has allowed WMI to continue to expand and bring the benefits of economic opportunity to thousands and thousands of village women throughout East Africa.  

One of the most frequent refrains WMI President, Robyn Nietert, hears when she visits the far flung WMI loan hubs each year is: "Thank you for remembering rural women."  

A heartfelt thank you to every one for making our outreach to the rural women of East Africa a reality.
The WMI Board of Directors  
Robyn Nietert    Betsy Gordon    Deborah Smith     Jane Erickson  
      Terry Ciccotelli     Trix Vandervossen    June Kyakobye  
Contact Information
phone: 301-520-0865                   
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