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Conduit for loans to women in third world gains funds

Women's World Banking, an organization that aims to facilitate borrowing by women entrepreneurs in developing countries, has received $1,119,000 in new grants and $500,000 in loans.

The additional funding, said Michaela Walsh, the founder, will allow the organization an increased capacity to provide ''guarantee funds.'' Women's World Banking makes loans to local banking institutions, which in turn make credit available to women entrepreneurs, using the funds as a guarantee against default. In third-world countries, women often find it difficult to borrow funds. Ms. Walsh said the additional grants and loans will bring the organization close to covering its administrative expenses for the next three years.

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She said her top priorities have been to round up funding for her organization, increase the size of the guarantee loans, and set up new local affiliates. This has been accomplished in the last six months, she said. In addition, there is now more than $1 million in capital.

The new grants include $750,000 from the Swedish International Development Authority and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. In addition, the Canadian International Development Agency has made a grant of $100,000 and the United States Agency for International Development, under the mandate of its Women in Development Office, has made a grant of $269,000. In addition, AID has lent $500,000 to the organization for the loan guarantee program. Earlier donors included the Norwegian, Swedish, and Uruguayan governments.

Within the last several months, Ms. Walsh's group has greatly expanded its lending program. Local institutions receiving guarantees have made about 100 loans, worth $200,000. And many new affiliates have been established in Latin America and Africa.

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