Opportunity International

Our mission is to provide opportunities for people in chronic poverty to transform their lives. Our strategy is to create jobs, stimulate small businesses and strengthen communities among the poor. Our method is to work through sustainable local microfinance institutions that provide small business loans, savings, insurance and training. Our commitment is motivated by Jesus Christ's call to serve the poor. Our core values are respect, commitment to the poor, integrity and stewardship.
Jul 16, 2014

Education July Update

At the close of 2013, Opportunity International’s four education finance products — school improvement loans, school fee loans, tertiary loans, and EduSave school fee insurance — had helped school proprietors add classrooms, ensured that children could stay in school, and funded higher education. Thousands upon thousands of children are starting on the right foot because of investments in their education. The exact number of children who benefited from these investments in 2013? A stunning 572,350.

Opportunity has increased its loans in all areas of education, from school improvement to school fees. School improvement loans allow proprietors to install proper toilet facilities, purchase textbooks and desks, and provide their students with a safe educational environment. School fee loans mean that children can continue their educations, even if their parents cannot afford tuition. Tertiary loans help students pursue their dreams of university or vocational school. In Uganda alone, Opportunity plans to support an additional 3000 students with school fee loans by 2016. Eleven schools in Rwanda had received school improvement loans by the end of 2013, just one year after the launch of the program.

But education is about so much more than just loans. That’s why Opportunity provides training to school proprietors, to promote quality improvement and ensure they can effectively manage their schools. Training ranges from School Financial Management to Teacher Management to various pedagogical methods. 540 proprietors and teachers in Ghana – 80% of the school owners -- have participated in this training. Youth financial training has been implemented as well, with workshops on financial literacy and saving expected to affect 6000 at-risk Ugandan girls by early 2016.

Even after all the successes of 2013, we’re still not satisfied. We believe in sustainable development, and are in the middle of studying strategies for expanding our educational footprint in Tanzania, Colombia, India, and beyond. With the power of education, we can transform the lives of young people worldwide and break the cycle of poverty once and for all.

Jul 16, 2014

Tanzania July Update

Rich in natural resources, southern Tanzania is the country’s most fertile region and is ripe for agricultural development. Opportunity Tanzania is making financial services accessible to its clients so they can take advantage of the high-potential land at their fingertips. 

Although its low population density makes brick-and-mortar banking cost-prohibitive, the high incidence of cell phone usage among the rural population indicates that mobile banking would be a very viable solution. 190 loans have already been disbursed in southern Tanzania, through six cost-effective delivery channels that take the place of physical buildings.

Financial training is growing as well, with a 9% growth in outreach from 2012. Over 9000 clients are benefiting from resources such as new financial literacy training modules that are developed in the local language, Swahili, and distributed to Trust Groups. Opportunity Tanzania officers are also testing a pilot Individual loan product for clients who graduate from Trust Group loans. Opportunity’s outreach to smallholder Tanzanian farmers was just launched in 2014 and has already accomplished so much — and it’s only getting started.  

Jul 16, 2014

Banking on Africa July Update

In 2013, Opportunity International reached 1.2 million savings clients in Africa — a nearly threefold increase from 2009. Client deposits total $68 million. Over $120 million is circulating the continent in Opportunity loans, helping our clients work toward cleaner water, better education, safer homes, and a brighter future.

Agricultural finance grew tremendously in 2013, with 26% more loans disbursed to farmers than in 2012. The total amount loaned was $20.4 million, or more than double the amount loaned the year before. Opportunity increased its outreach to smallholder farmers in five countries — Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Mozambique, and Rwanda — with plans to launch outreach in Tanzania in 2014. Technology will play a key role in agriculture as well, with Opportunity piloting loans to finance tractors and GPS technology.

Education was another major focus of 2013, with Opportunity Uganda disbursing over 100 School Improvement loans and 4500 School Fee loans. Opportunity Uganda also launched EduSave in 2013, a free education insurance that ensures school fee funding in case of a parent’s death or disablement, and now covers nearly 13,000 families. Opportunity Malawi also launched EduSave in 2013, protecting the education of over 127,000 children.

Finally, Opportunity increased access to financial services in Africa, through the expansion of mobile banking in Tanzania, Uganda, and Malawi. Opportunity’s branch in the Democratic Republic of Congo received its official deposit-taking license in November of 2013, meaning that poor families now have a safe place to save their hard-earned money.

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