In partnership - The U.S. Blue Group of WISE Women (left) and their counter parts, the Uganda Blue Group of WISE Women (right).

MICROCREDIT – Women In Support of Education, 

Microfinance and Empowerment (WISE-ME)

What we do

Our WISE Initiative is unique and strategic. Unique because in our spirit of partnerships, we partner U.S. women who provide seed money for loans with the recipient women in Africa. Strategic because the initiative is part of an incentive program that draws loan recipients from the school parent body in an effort to address the twin issues of delinquency and school drop outs.

WISE was launched in October 2010 after we conducted a study that indicated that illiterate parents were one of the major impediments to children completing primary school. The $50 to $150 loans are provided after classes in financial literacy, submission of a business plan and completion of a baseline survey. The women have to pledge to keep their children in school and prioritize education in the home. We measure the attendance records of children under the WISE initiative to monitor compliance.

How we work

The WISE initiative supports the Elsie Lushaya Women’s Group (ELWG), a local community based initiative. ELWG forms peer groups of twenty women per group drawn from our partner schools.  The women are required to attend PTA meetings, prioritize education in the home and attend empowerment classes in which the women learn about maternal and fetal health, hygiene, efficient agricultural methods and education. WISE is conducted in partnership with Women’s Microfinance Initiative.  Read more about the program at http://www.wmionline.org/

Program Features

  • Loan amounts of $50 – $150 (increase to $250 after 18 months)
  • No collateral required
  • Distribution through ELWG
  • Term of 6 months
  • Interest rate of 10% (20% annually)
  • Successful borrowers are eligible for follow up loans
  • Loan groups of 20 borrowers
  • Weekly Support Group meetings
  • Training, technical assistance, follow-up support
  • Local Coordinators visit borrowers on a regular basis
  • Head Coordinator provides weekly reports to our offices
  • After 24 months, transition to 1 year bank loan of up to $500 which is 100% guaranteed by our partner, WMI
  • After 36 months graduation to independent banking in two Phases:
    • Phase I bank loans of 1 year up to $1,000; borrower provides 20% deposit, 20% collateral guarantee and WMI provides 11% deposit guarantee
    • Phase II – bank loans of 1 year up to $2,500; borrower provides 20% deposit, 80% collateral guarantee and our partner, WMI, no longer provides any guarantee


Grace Musimenta - a WISE borrower invests in a pig

Increased household incomes, improved school attendance, increased parental involvement in school meetings and children are better equipped with scholastic materials. WISE has a 100% repayment rate on loans, the women are actively saving and are engaged in empowerment programs that have provided information on business, health and education.

Program Statistics

For information about the program, please click on the Fact Book below: