Olive Wolimbwa,

WMI's Local Director




    March/April 2011






In This Update:




In this issue:


  • WMI Annual Potluck a Success
  • Shop and Support WMI in Bethesda, MD
  • 2010 Annual Report and Audit Completed
  • Web Site Updates
  • High School Summer Internship Trip to Uganda
  • WMI Project Directors Complete Work
  • WMI Ships More Children's Books!
  • WMI 50 Cocktail Party - May22



Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Annual WMI Potluck dinner at the Carderock Club House on April 10th.  It was a great turn out with over 100 guests.  Many people took the time to make an annual contribution a few weeks earlier during the Global Giving matching day in March - this increased their donations by 30%.  Others who couldn't attend the event still took the time to donate online through the WMI web site.  This outpouring of support resulted in a total of over $13,000 in funds for new loans! 

The new WMI video was a big hit at the Potluck.  If you haven't had a chance to view it, take 9 minutes and 56 seconds to see the enormous impact WMI is having on the lives of impoverished women in East Africa.   Click here to watch video.  If you would still like to contribute to WMI's annual campaign we would love to have your support!  Just follow this link to the WMI donation page and click on the orange DONATE button. Donate now.

Many thanks to Sally Kelly, Kathy Staudaher, Alsion Ewing, Meris Sparrow, Deborah Smith, Noelle Lewis, Christina Espostito and Mica Hinga for their help in organizaing the event. 



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There is a new way for you to help WMI without writing a check! Register at www.TotoTown.com and when you buy a "deal" from a Bethesda area merchant, 20% of the purchase will go to WMI. You need to specify WMI as your favorite charity when you register.

TotoTown will also give you $5 in credit when a friend you refer becomes a member. This is a convenient new way to support WMI and we hope you will all participate!




WMI's 2010 annual report and tax audit have been completed and the results are terrific.  In 2010, WMI raised over $170,000.  This represents a 60% increase over last year's fundraising results.  Individual donor support increased and WMI is grateful for all of the supporters who have made WMI a part of their family's annual charitable giving plan.  Foundation support also increased.  WMI hopes to continue to expand both avenues of revenue during 2011.  The Annual Report is posted on the web site and includes the organization's major accomplishments during 2010.  Annual Report. 



Follow the road WMI borrowers take to financial independence with the new timeline map posted on the WMI web site.  With the pro bono assistance of graphic artist Campbell Mattiello, this new web site feature maps the four year journey of a WMI borrower from poverty to financial autonomy.  The Journey graphic is an easy to understand and effective tool for conveying the basics of the WMI loan program.  Click the link to check it out.  The Journey.


The web site also features a new annotated slide show of WMI's president, Robyn Nietert's, 2011 annual visit to Uganda earlier this year.  The slide show highlights the progress of WMI's local operations and shows how the loan program is expanding to new village hubs.  Click the link to view the slideshow.  2011 WMI visit. 



This year another group of high school interns will again travel to Buyobo, Uganda to work with the WMI loan program.  In June, students from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, MD and Georgetown Day School in Washington D.C. will continue the work started by last year's WMI high school interns. WMI board member, June Kyakobye, will accompany this year's student contingent.  Last July, the high school students completed construction of the foundation for three new classrooms for Buyobo Primary School.  Since then private donations, WMI support and financial contributions from local villagers have raised enough money to complete construction and the new buildings are almost finished.  The interns will paint and decorate the classrooms and move the children's books from the WMI building to one of the new classrooms which will be used as a children's library.  The interns will also tutor at the Primary School and assist with ongoing computer training.

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Three new classrooms for Buyobo Primary School near completion



In September 2010, recent college graduates Montana Stevenson and Ainsley Morris headed to Buyobo, Uganda for a 7-month trip to conduct research and analyze data, prepare training materials, visit all WMI village hubs and report on their progress, coordinate operations with WMI's banking partner and prepare a banking manual.  Their work was made possible in part by a grant from the Boeing Corporation.  They successfully completed their project goals at the end of March and headed to Europe for 60 days.  They will return to Buyobo on June 1 to coordinate activities and prepare for the high school interns' arrival and then will return to the US with the interns in early July.  The banking manual, banking fact book and advanced training materials have provided much needed written resources, guidelines and research data for WMI borrowers.  We are grateful to Boeing Corporation for their financial support!



In March, 58 boxes of children's books donated by WMI supporters in Bethesda, MD arrived in Kenya.  The books were picked up and transported to Siaya, Kenya, one of WMI's village hub locations, by Rev. Fr. Richard Odhiambo Oloo of ASEMBO IFABS PROJECT, which operates two children's centers in the Siaya area. Free shipping on British Airways was provided courtesy of Jim Cannon, president of Toto Communications and husband of Whitman teacher Laurie Safran.  Jim traveled to Buyobo, Uganda last year as a part of the Walt Whitman High School internship trip.   This latest shipment brings the total number of children's books donated to WMI village hubs to nearly 5,000!  Many thanks to Kathy Staudaher, Alison Ewing, and Meris Sparrow, who organized the book donation project, and to the dozens of students (particularly Christina Esposito) and parents who volunteered their time to make the children's book donation such a huge success.   



The WMI 50 is a group of WMI supperters who have commited to donate $250 a year for two years to the WMI loan program.  WMI hosts two annual cocktail parties where WMI 50 members can get together in a smaller group to socialize and learn more about WMI operations.  The fall party was held at the home of Board Member Betsy Gordon.  On May 22nd, Advisory Board Member Beth Tomacello will hold the second event at her home in Chevy Chase, MD.  If you are interested in joining this wonderful group of committed individuals, please email Kathy Staudaher at staudaher@verizon.net.



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  rgnietert@aol.com
Betsy Gordon betsygord@mac.com
Deborah Smith deborahwsmith@yahoo.com
June Kyakobye junekyaks@verizon.net
Trix Vandervossen bvandervossen@imf.org
Jane Erickson ericksonjn@verizon.net
Terry Ciccotelli teresa.t.ciccotelli@saint-gobain.com