Development Grants

Our Scholars are creating the changes they want to see in their communities and society. The Community Development Grant program helps them to do this, providing them with capital to start or expand their own community projects and businesses. 

Community Development Grants are open exclusively to WMI Graduate Scholars and provide the opportunity to start or significantly expand a community-based organization, non-governmental organization, business, or community service project.  All graduate scholars are eligible to apply for a Seed Grant of up to 1000 USD. Upon Successful implementation of the Seed Grant, scholars can work in-depth with WMI staff to develop expansion strategies and apply for a Growth Grant of up to 5000 USD. Previous Seed Grants have supported primary and secondary education programs, health programs, youth employment initiatives, agricultural development projects, and peace and conflict resolution programs.

Igniting Change Around the World

We are proud to announce that we have awarded 108 community development grants to WMI scholars from 19 countries since 2016! Our graduate scholars are making great strides in their communities and world. Here is where transformation is taking place.

Seed Grant Awardee Spotlight


Mawien, a medical doctor, identified the need to prevent maternal morbidity and mortality through early diagnosis and appropriate treatment/ early referral of the most fetal hypertensive disorders in pregnancy amongst pregnant women in Lou Ariik village through his work at the University of Bahr el Ghazal- Medical School. He believes that quality health care during prenatal, perinatal and postnatal are important interventions for preventing maternal and new-born mortality and morbidity.

Safe motherhood principle emphasizes that every pregnant woman should be in position to carry a healthy pregnancy and safely deliver a healthy baby at the end of her pregnancy.  It is also an important social and economic investment and as well a matter of human rights and social justice that leverages on the fact that every pregnancy faces risk that could potentially be low or high. However, statistics in Africa show that the risk of a pregnant woman dying of hypertensive disorder is one in 16.

In the last two years, Dr. Mawien and other doctors at the clinic observed that women die due to complications of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia that is diagnosed late.  The Enhancing Safe Motherhood project reached 200 pregnant women and girls to sensitize them on the dangers of hypertension in pregnancy and screened them for the same.  One thousand resource materials with health information were also distributed to the community of Lou Arik village. The aim was to reduce the number of at risk pregnant women and girls in the community.

Dr. Mawien will continue implementing the project with the aim of reducing the maternal morbidity rate for women and girls in his community.  


Meet Some of Our 
Community Development
Seed Grant Awardees

Grace Tiwari

Beekeeping Enterprise Project

Abdul Koroma

Community-led WASH Project
Sierra Leone


She is a Super Women


Capacity Enhancement Training of Local Humanitarian Organizations

Lisa Dennis

Greenwich Town Homework Center


Jean Aime Musabyemungu

Give Them a Chance - Bring Back Their Dignity Project

Meet Isabela in Uganda. She is helping young women become successful entrepreneurs. Support scholars like Isabela today! 

With an educational background in agriculture, Grace began working in her family’s rural village to create an income-generating beekeeping entrerprise to support vulnerable female subsistence farmers. Ten women will be selected with priority given to those who are single and belonging to one of the lower castes in the nation. Through this project, beneficiaries will learn the basics of beekeeping such as components of the beehive, honey production and processing, marketing and pricing, and money management. In addition to educational sessions and ongoing expert support, beneficiaries are supported with starter beehives and apiary equipment.

Abdul identified a water and sanitation crisis within the Weima community. He observed that the lack of proper water and sanitation in this community is not limited to inadequate facilities but also the inability to sustain existing WASH facilities, which become dilapidated over time making their usage unsafe. With a Community Development Seed Grant, Abdul and community members will improve access to sustainable water sources and create a platform to access sanitation opportunities through the creation of a community-based organisation and a micro-finance group to support sustainably managed WASH self-supply systems. This project will impact 50 direct community beneficiaries and a total of 100 indirect beneficiaries.

Young people are drawn to Jacquelyne’s positive can-do attitude and endless zeal for life. As the Executive Director of the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV, Jacquelyne helped the organization grow and attain international recognition. Working nationally the organization works to end the stigmatization of being young and HIV positive. Now Jacquelyne wants to help other organizations grow and has launched the LinkUp Consultants Management firm. In her endless effort to do more for the community she also started the Above All Kindergarten Day Care and Primary School and “it has provided jobs to four young mothers and a safe place for 63 pupils of which 20 don’t pay because they’re orphans.” WMI Scholars elected Jacquelyn to be the first elected chairperson of the WMI Uganda Fellowship which she lead for three years through to the hosting of the Dream Big Conference in 2018. Jacquelyne shared that her goal is to continue mentoring more young people to become leaders.
The Southwest Region of Cameroon has been affected by ongoing civil unrest since 2016. As part of the humanitarian response, large international aid agencies and NGOs have come to assist the region, and in turn, they have recruited local talent by providing better-paying jobs, working conditions, and career prospects. As a community development professional, Fru Delvis has seen local organizations suffer as their most experienced staff resign to work for international organizations. To improve this ongoing challenge, Fru implemented a five-day training for 35 staff members of local humanitarian organizations to strengthen their professional skills in crafting humanitarian needs assessments, project design and management, monitoring and evaluation, staff safety and security, and report writing.
Passionate about math and conscious of the struggles other students face with the subject, Lisa developed the Greenwich Town Homework Center in her community of Kingston, Jamaica. In partnership with her local church, Lisa renovated an unused building with volunteer labor and opened the free math and accounting homework center for students ages 13-18 who are preparing to take the standaridized caribbean Secondary Examination Certification exam.
Now able to give back to his community as a Graduate Scholar, Jean Aime Musabyemungu, from Rwanda, was awarded a WMI Seed Grant for his multi-faceted program that improves the socio-economic welfare of teen mothers and their children by offering trade and business training and guidance, a reproductive health course, strategies for completing their education and more. With the start-up grant support, the trained tailors are now capable of preparing 300 uniforms yearly to sell at local primary schools.