July/August 2015            




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In This Update...

2015 - WMI Loan Program Impact:

  • Fact Book Data Indicates Loan Program Continues to Alleviate Poverty 
  • New Videos Document Loan Program Impact on the Village Community
  • College Intern Program Impact and Appreciation



2015 WMI Fact Books Show Loan Program Impact

This year WMI analyzed data collected from more than 2,000 surveys completed by women in the loan program. This large amount of data allowed us to identify patterns that emerged as women became more experienced entrepreneurs and as they increased the size of their loans. One basic trend was clear throughout all of the data: women who started businesses dramatically increased their household income, savings and standard of living.
In trying to understand the loan program results in terms used to assess global poverty, we looked at the 2015 Pew Research Center analysis on poverty levels. Their research classified those who live on $1.25 per day as living in "dire poverty", while those who earn $2 to $10 per day are considered "low-income." Those living on $10 - $20 are considered "middle-income" and those earning $20.01 - $50 are considered "upper-middle-income."
UGANDA - Before entering the loan program, 76% of WMI borrowers were living below the "dire poverty" line. After just 18 months in the loan program, only 28% of borrowers were living below the dire poverty line. This is a 63% reduction in the dire poverty level. Even more encouraging was the fact that a full 10% of women had moved into the "middle income" level after 18 months in the loan program and were earning more than $10/day.
The loan hub in Buyobo (Sironko District), Uganda is the largest and oldest in the WMI program. Because the program has been so enormously successful there we have supported its expansion to 70 loan groups totaling 1,400 borrowers. We studied this loan hub separately and found the improvements in household income, savings and living standards to be even more dramatic than throughout Uganda as a whole. In Sironko District, less than one-half of one percent of borrowers entering the loan program had household incomes of more than $1,559/year. After 24 months in the loan program, 96% of borrowers were earning more than $1,559/year, while 42% were earning at least $2,670/year.
KENYA - Baseline data collected from the borrowers indicates that nearly 100% had household incomes of $240 or less per year before entering the loan program. After joining the program, over 90% reported earning over $240 per year, with 65% reporting monthly income of $492 or more. This increased monthly income shows a transition from dire poverty to low-income, a significant development for these women.
This increased income translates directly into improved household living standards as women report spending their business profits on more and better meals, medical care, school fees and upgrading their homes.
Please take a few minutes to look through the 2015 Fact Books to see how your support has empowered rural women and their families throughout East Africa.

  2015 Uganda Fact Book                                          


New Videos Explore Impact of Loan Program on Village Community

In addition to analyzing data on how the loan program alleviates rural poverty and helps rural women improve their household living standards, WMI continues to document the impact of the loan program on the community at large. Because we structured the loan hubs to be self-sufficient and operate as autonomous entities, they are able to use some of the interest from the loans issued to benefit the entire community through village-wide outreach programs. This summer, our college interns in Buyobo created new videos to show how the loan program is improving health and education opportunities for the community at large.
Community Projects Expand Through WMI Loan Program
Community Projects Expand Through WMI Loan Program
Villgage Girls Groups Funded by WMI Loan Program
Village Girls Groups Funded by WMI Loan Program









College Intern Program Impact and Appreciation 


One of the ways WMI educates young people about microfinance and the issues surrounding poverty alleviation is through our college internships, both here in the US, as well as in East Africa. We have hosted nearly 100 college students over the past eight years. Many of them have let us know that the opportunity to work directly with personal and economic information provided by the borrowers or the chance to collaborate with borrowers one-on-one in rural villages has changed their perception of poverty and inspired them to incorporate concerns about poverty alleviation into their career choices and future plans.
WMI is grateful for the hard work of this year's summer interns in Bethesda, MD - without their dedication and insightful input we would not have been able to organize and analyze the volumes of data collected from the ladies in the loan program during the past year.  We appreciated the support from: Simon Amat (University of Virginia), Lucas Karron (Boston College), Caitlin Kennedy (American University), Eric Rogers (Pepperdine University), Beki San Martin (University of Virginia) and Sienna Romano (American University), a returning college intern who worked remotely this year to prepare the Tanzania Fact Book and who continues to support the loan hubs in Tanzania through her involvement in organizing health outreach initiatives.
Abigail Gellman (Princeton University) and Jing Xie (Princeton University) spent 2 months in Buyobo, Uganda creating the videos that show the impact of the loan program on the community. They worked tirelessly interviewing borrowers and village residents so that they could bring you footage that shows how the impact of the WMI program has reached beyond loans and business training to improve health and education opportunities for the community at large. Thank you ladies for your excellent work!


Thank you all for your continued support!



The WMI Board of Directors


Robyn Nietert          rgnietert@aol.com  

Betsy Gordon           betsygord@mac.com
Deborah Smith        deborahwsmith@yahoo.com

June Kyakobye        jgkyakobye@yahoo.com

Trix Vandervossen   bvandervossen@imf.org 

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