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.
Oct 7, 2013

Project Update: What We Have Accomplished!

With 43% of the population living on less than $2 per day and 10% of the South Africans holding 80% of the country’s wealth, those at the bottom of the economic pyramid lack meaningful access to formal banking services. Currently, Opportunity South Africa operates 10 branches that provide a variety of services to SMEs, equipping entrepreneurs with critical microfinance tools that build successful businesses, generate employment and create thriving communities.

 

In 2013, Opportunity South Africa has a fundraising need of $526,520. Funding will enable Opportunity Finance South Africa (OFSA) to launch School Proprietor loans in 2013 and increase rural expansion and outreach efforts.

Education Finance –OFSA designed and launched the School Fee loan product in response to the identified need within the rural communities surrounding Pietermaritzburg and Durban. The newly piloted School Fee loan portfolio is very healthy with a PAR>30 of 1-2%. In 2013, OFSA is set to launch School Improvement loans.

SME Loans – Opportunity South Africa supports talented enterprises with loans that generate employment opportunities within their respective communities.

Rural ExpansionOpportunity South Africa is focused on expanding its distribution network into rural townships and has opened five kiosks. These kiosks are located in building supply and hardware stores as these tend to be focal points where clients purchase equipment and supplies. The first of these kiosks, based in Hammarsdale Township, paid out 12 loans, valued at $15,000, in its first month of operation. Additionally, OFSA launched its first mobile bank in 2012.

Oct 7, 2013

Danny Mbuila went in search of a trustful partner

Denied by other banks, Danny Mbuila went in search of a partner he could trust to help him grow his shelving business in Kinshasa’s Liberty Market. Shortly after meeting with loan officer Esperance Nsarhaza, he joined Opportunity DRC’s Trust Group “Vanqueurs” which translates to, “Winners”.  Danny began training and received his first microloan eight weeks later. 

“I now earn $30 to $40 each day and can feed my family and grow my business,” says Danny. “I have also used the income to pay school fees and move from a one-room to a three-room home.” One year after joining Opportunity, Danny used his increased capital to pursue another dream: to marry Carine, the mother of his three children. “I gained more esteem from the community and especially from my children by making my union with their mother official. It also brought Carine more respect from her family. In my heart, she has always been my wife, but the $3,500 to make it legal was impossible for us to overcome. Until now.” 

“I recently helped Carine start her own business; seeing her fulfill her dream brought me a great deal of happiness.” Danny has his own dream to move his business from his market stall to a storefront shop and eventually buy land for his family. “Today, I have a sense of hope for a better life for my children,” he says.

Because of inspiring stories like Danny’s we are very pleased to announce the April 2013 launch of Opportunity DRC’s third branch, this one in Matete, a bustling Kinshasa-area market. This new branch will allow us to help even more men and women like Danny.

Opportunity DRC program statistics:  

  • Tripled its footprint in 2013, growing to three branches, leading to a 33% increase in the number of active clients plus doubling its loan portfolio.
  • Nearly doubled the operational sustainability, amidst a year of growth in outreach. 
  • Continued to resolve the political issues that are delaying the deposit-taking license application. 
Oct 7, 2013

Technology solutions lower cost, increase security for clients.

Technology efficiently and cheaply brings financial services to people in remote or rural areas. It breaks through barriers throughout the developing world, where people are excluded from financial services because of illiteracy, expensive transportation and geographic isolation. With the support of our strategic partners, donors like you and our dedicated staff, Opportunity International leverages technology to help free people from the cycle of poverty. We utilize cell phone banking, satellite bank branches, ATMs and point-of-sale (POS) devices provide low-cost, secure banking to formerly excluded clients. We are establishing points of access within one kilometer (about two miles) of a client’s home or business. We are migrating to cloud-based systems and developing of a new generation of skilled IT leaders to continue these innovations.

So, why do we do this? Because technology solutions lower cost, increase efficiencies and security for clients.

Opportunity’s strategy is based on four foundational design principles that maximize technology to engage the poor in their own communities over the next three year:

1. Closer: Distribution channel within one kilometer of client’s home or business.

2. Wider: Cell phone banking and agent banking increase financial inclusion nation-wide.

3. Safer: Cashless banking makes clients less likely to lose money from theft and more likely to retain and earn interest on money saved. 

4. Cheaper: Our model removes costs at each point in the delivery chain and allows for re-engineering to utilize emerging technologies and customer feedback while reducing client costs.

In Kenya, Mobile Money Solutions (mobile phone banking and phone-enabled agency banking) are becoming more common to expanding businesses. Opportunity Kenya is implementing mobile money solutions, covering mobile phone banking, mobile enabling technologies for banking staff and ultimately, mobile payment services. This solution moves Opportunity’s banks and clients toward a cashless environment, providing low cost and secure banking to an entire tier of formerly disenfranchised clients. 

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