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.
Apr 10, 2015

Nicaragua Operational Update

Opportunity is making an impact in Nicaragua where micro entrepreneurs support more than 80% of the economy. Opportunity partners with the Association of Economic Development and Opportunity (ASODENIC), a local microfinance institution, to provide critical financial services to clients in Nicaragua. Through the Nicaragua Community Economic Development (NCED) program in Granada, Opportunity invests in agriculture, education and community development. Established in 2006, NCED has improved the wellbeing of community members ranging from students to rural, smallholder farmers.

The NCED program provides loans, technical assistance, seeds and training to help farmers transform their lives. Nearly 400 farmers are gaining valuable skills and have access to financial services. Many clients sell their goods to an Opportunity-supported processing plant. This plant adds value to crops like yucca and connects farmers to the market. Plans are underway to expand and improve the plant to provide processing and packaging services on an industrial scale for smallholder farmers.

Opportunity supports the Emprededora (Entrepreneurship) Technical School established in 2012. This school currently serves 180 students in 7-9th grade, and by 2016, with the addition of two classrooms and seven faculty members, the school plans to enroll 300 students in 7-11th grade. Classes and school-operated businesses prepare youth for employment in tourism and agricultural sectors and support the school financially. Students at the Emprededora Technical School outperform their peers in public schools; 81% of students maintain a grade level of 80 or higher while 60-65% of students at surrounding public schools earn grade of levels 60 or higher. The school continues to evolve to improve educational services. In 2014, for the first time, students enjoyed a new computer lab with 30 laptops and internet access. Plans are in place to add 30 more laptops in 2015, and the school is developing e-learning courses to enhance the curriculum and increase technological literacy among students. A new basic computer course called Information and Communication Technology is offered for students to generate marketable computer skills. Opportunity continues to invest in the Emprededora Technical School to help students realize a brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities. 

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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.  

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