Welcome, friends! Our journey together began with baby steps that witnessed the first disbursement of small loans in May and June of 2009. We are truly amazed not only by the overwhelming support we have received in this endeavor but, most significantly, by the drive and determination of our client members, some of whom have moved surpassed our expectations. Please take a few moments to watch our 2012 video report to hear their stories. It is significant that what began as a mere idea from a spiritual partnership formed over 25 years ago with a community across the world has quickly evolved into a vibrant program where women, in particular, are being empowered to run their own small businesses and accumulate financial savings, a great majority of them for the very first time.
We are pleased to report that the program has greatly expanded from the two peer groups with the initial membership of 41 clients to six groups with a total clientele of 120 members. Meanwhile, two new groups are in training for possible participation in the program. Our aim is to reach a critical number of clients where the program can accumulate a sufficient loan portfolio or enough of the revolving fund to be self supporting. This goal is now within reach as some of the clients are already in their third or fourth round of loans with their confidence rising and steady loan repayments.
In the meantime, we have been gathering important information to better measure progress out of poverty for our clients. We have employed the Grameen Foundation’s methodology in this exercise and hope that we will be able to demonstrate and share the success of the program with you soon. To ensure the sound and robust stewardship of funds, two audits of our implementing partner in Kenya, Efforts of the Poor in Development (EPID-Kenya) have been conducted as a part of our commitment to transparency and financial accountability. The work of WAF remains on a volunteer basis to keep administrative overheads to a bare minimum. Likewise, EPID-Kenya also operates on a minimal budget with only one full time employee, Mr. Linus Muyaga whose profile can be viewed in our 2012 video report. We also support a critical accounting resource on a part time basis. As the portfolio grows, the expectation is to hire a permanent accountant/loan officer when resources permit.
To our donors, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude for making it possible to launch and sustain our program that has already begun to transform lives. We hope that the 2012 video report helps to convey the progress our client members have made and their appreciation of your commitment and support.
We received our first grant in Spring of 2011, awarded to us by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Civic Program Advisory Committee (CPAC).
This is only the beginning of our journey. With each successful client and peer group — and a growing network of supporters — we look forward to deepening our efforts in the coming years!
Thank you for your interest and support!
James A. K. Munthali