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 14, 2015

Uganda July Update

Evans with his wife, Roy, and daughter, Luyiga.
Evans with his wife, Roy, and daughter, Luyiga.

2014 was year of collaboration and growth for Opportunity Uganda, which closed the year with active loans to 28,982 entrepreneurs. But loans are only one of the tools Opportunity continues to use to empower people living in extreme poverty.

Opportunity Uganda disbursed $2.8 million in loans to farmers who raise livestock and grow bananas, coffee, cotton, maize and sugarcane. They also collaborated with the Uganda Coffee Farmer Alliance to reach 2,500 coffee farmers and with Joseph Initiative to empower 1,000 maize farmers. A partnership with John Deere also changed the lives of several farmers who have dreamed of owning their own tractors. Opportunity Uganda financed five farmers and another 17 are eagerly awaiting approval for their tractors.

Opportunity Uganda also customized school fee loans for farmer families who earn seasonal income and struggle to keep their children in school between harvests, resulting in a 22% growth in lending over the prior year. Schools themselves were also supported through School Improvement loans which were given to 41 institutions to improve sanitation and build new classrooms. 35,250 students were positively impacted by these school improvements, and the loans helped provide numerous communities with quality educational facilities.

Ridgeway School is one of many schools that has grown as a result of school improvement loans from Opportunity. Evans founded Ridgeway Primary School in 2007 with just 100 students, holding lessons in a dilapidated wooden structure on a rented plot of land. Determined to provide a better environment for his students and his three daughters, Evans obtained a series of Opportunity International loans. As a result of his hard work and passion for education, Evans has built a boarding facility, purchased land and constructed a primary school building serving 915 students. Evans’ dream to educate Ugandan students is evident through his efforts to improve the school which has attracted highly qualified teachers and local families. His goal is to expand the school to 5,000 students and provide students with life skills and computer literacy training before they advance to secondary school.

By supporting the dreams of clients like Evans, Opportunity can empower entrepreneurs to raise themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty.

Jul 8, 2015

Tanzania July Update

Maarifa Simbeliti, a produce vendor in Tanzania
Maarifa Simbeliti, a produce vendor in Tanzania

Opportunity International continues to have a high impact in Tanzania’s rural communities. Opportunity Tanzania provided agriculture loans for inputs and labor to 120 irrigated rice farmers, all of whom received their loans entirely through mobile money banking. Tanzania bank branches have tripled the number of rice and sunflower farmers accessing branchless banking services in the past six months to 1,093. These smallholder farmers have their seeds insured through a local group, MGEN Tanzania, one of Tanzania’s first forays into insuring farmers against crop loss. Services such as crop insurance provide farmers with a safety net should their crops fail, and it gives them peace of mind for their families’ futures during the “hungry season.” Opportunity Tanzania has also equipped agriculture loan officers with motorbikes so they can visit farmers efficiently, and tablets to geo-tag crops and gather financial information.

As Opportunity Tanzania continues to serve underbanked farmers in the most remote areas, they have also begun to focus on farmer families. In Q3 2014, Opportunity Tanzania launched the Education Finance initiative, investing in educational opportunities for children in marginalized communities. Opportunity International is now positively impacting 1.2 million children in 10 countries through this program. As we look back on the achievements of Opportunity Tanzania in 2014, we look forward to empowering more farmers and families in the future. 

Jul 8, 2015

Nicaragua July Update

Students at the Emprendedora Technical School
Students at the Emprendedora Technical School

In Nicaragua, 2014 marked a time of expansion for Opportunity International. During this time of growth, we are strengthening our staff with leadership and development training, making improvements to schools, and focusing on engaging more than 1,000 farmer families during our expansions into the eastern region of Nueva Guinea in 2015.

Opportunity is currently providing 687 Nicaraguan with the technical support they need to succeed. The location of the recent expansion in Nueva Guinea will also be the site of our first satellite processing plant in 2016, which will process raw yucca into a cake form. This will extend the time the yucca stays fresh from 24 hours to seven days, allowing us to reach farmers in some of the most remote and poorest parts of the country. After experiencing a drought in 2014, many farmers continue to experience negative impacts to production, but Opportunity has supported farmers with modified loan terms, as well as new seeds to replace lost crops. We have also introduced a new planting technique, macro propagation, which results in 15 new seeds per yucca plant, up from the usual five seeds, in the hopes that this will help ease the burden on farmers from last year’s drought.

Opportunity International is also focused on improving and building upon the successes of schools throughout Nicaragua. The Emprendedora Technical School engages students in a mix of classroom work and experiential learning related to agriculture and environmental awareness. The school teaches students life skills while instilling core values that ensure self-reliance and improved potential for income-generating livelihoods when they reach adulthood. Not only did the school achieve full enrollment of 240 students for the 2014-2015 school year, but all students are thriving and testing above the national average. This success is attributed to excellent school leadership and dedicated teachers. New classrooms have been added and students are benefitting from world-class curriculum, nutritious meals and access to clean water from a new well.

By providing farmers with training and resources to improve their harvests, and by giving schools the tools they need to provide children with quality educations, Opportunity is creating holistic change in communities throughout Nicaragua.

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