WMI was founded in November, 2007 by seven Washington DC area professional women to address women's economic disenfranchisement in rural East Africa. Two board members were working with a rural women's association in Sironko District, Uganda through a church project, and the village women asked for help to establish a loan program. WMI, unlike conventional aid initiatives, preserves its capital basis by providing loans rather than subsidies. WMI makes loans to impoverished women in developing nations who have no access to banks. Issuing affordable, collateral-free loans for as little as $50, WMI promotes women's economic empowerment to reduce global poverty. WMI's goal is to help poor women build assets to stabilize their income, improve their familiy's living standard, become advocates for their families/communities, and transition into independent banking and the formal economy. In its ten years of operation, WMI has created 13 geographical loan hubs in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, issuing over 40,000 loans totaling $5 million to 14,000 women. 5,000 have graduated from WMI's two-year loan and training program.