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.
May 23, 2012

Meet a client, Joseph Meke of Ndirande, Malawi

Joseph Meke started his maize business in 1999 in Ndirande, Malawi. Soon afterwards, his wife gave birth to their first child. They now have three children, including five-year-old twins. Providing for his growing family is one of Joseph’s primary motivations for succeeding in his business. Joseph routinely travels nearly 100 miles to buy his grain from the city of Ntcheu. He purchases 300 bags each trip for about $7.90 per bag and resells them for $9.40.

Joseph tried to expand his business several years ago, but banks denied him because he lacked collateral. Joseph felt he had nowhere to turn; until he heard about Opportunity Malawi. The numerous access points provided by Opportunity are crucial for Joseph in his business: he deposits his earnings in Ndirande and withdraws cash to purchase maize in Ntcheu. He also says that he loves using Opportunity’s cellphone banking system to check his account’s balance on his mobile phone. He checks his balance at least once per day,especially before making any payments from his account.

In addition to saving with Opportunity Malawi, Joseph took out an individual loan of $3,290 in May 2010. With this money, Joseph was able to purchase a van to cut down on costs associated with transporting maize from Ntcheu to Ndirande. Since making this investment,Joseph says that his profit margin has increased from $197 to $658 per month.

Now, he is currently operating two maize shops and has hired four employees, in addition to leasing a warehouse for $13 per month to store his inventory. Joseph also recently reinvested his profits to purchase three small houses which he now rents out at $66, $40, and $26 per month to supplement this income. 

Mar 7, 2012

Francine Mukeshimana's Story

Here is how Opportunity International's financial services help women change their future and the future of their families and communities.

Francine Mukeshimana, a widow and mother of five young children, found herself unable to support her family. To make matters worse her own health was failing and doctors would not treat her since she could not pay for her late husband’s bills. Francine began selling bananas in the village center after her husband died but she was not able to make ends meet. Things started looking up when a neighbor told her about Opportunity.

She joined an Opportunity Rwanda Trust Group and used her first loan of $37 to purchase bananas in bulk and sell them to local schools and in the market. Her son, who is a teenager, helps her by carrying a basket of bananas on his head to the market three times a week while she delivers to the schools.

Currently on her second loan, this one for $60, Francine is expanding her business by adding a banana beverage, a local favorite, to her product line. Measuring the impact of the Opportunity loans for this family is quite easy – Francine shows off her family health insurance cards to any passerby willing to look. In addition to purchasing health insurance, she saves for school fees and invested in a pig. She also learned to harvest the coffee trees her husband left untouched for a long period of time due to his illness.

Francine explains that her Trust Group members and loan officer are very important to her. She says, “before I was lonely and a disgrace, today I have friends who are like my family.” She says her loan officer trains them using Biblically-based principles to help her make sound business decisions. They start each weekly meeting offering each other prayer.

She hopes to one day purchase a cargo coffee bike so her son can easily transport the bananas and the coffee cherries. But for now, Francine says she is happy with all of her blessings. 

Mar 7, 2012

Bank Loan Officer Spotlight: Meet Moses Wandera

Moses Wandera
Moses Wandera

Opportunity International’s global team has grown to over 11,501 employees, 99% of whom are nationals. Our 6,515 loan officers are at the heart of our work, offering support and counsel to every client. By providing exceptional training, Opportunity is equipping local, talented staff to become leaders in building the economies of their own communities

Moses Wandera is a native Kenyan who joined the Bungoma Branch of Opportunity International in September 2008. Moses grew up in rural Kenya, where his mother supported the family by selling granola bars and thus exposed Moses at a young age to the concept of entrepreneurship. The future loan officer graduated from Maseno University in Kenya with a Bachelor’s of Education in Home Science & Technology. Upon graduating, Moses worked in the Marketing and Sales department of one of the most successful publishers in Kenya, AAR Health and LONGHORN, for five years.

Capitalizing on his sales experience, Moses took a job with Barclay’s Kenya as a Direct Sales Representative supporting Development House and Queensway Branches in Nairobi. In 2008, Moses left the corporate world and joined the Bungoma Branch of Opportunity Kenya after learning about the organization on Facebook. Opportunity International appealed to Moses because the organization represented a global brand but relied on local support. In addition, Opportunity International targets the poor and Moses personally relates to the experiences and difficulties of being poor. Moses is one of three loan officers at the Bungoma Branch. Opportunity Kenya serves 7,500 clients and Moses’ branch manages the portfolios of 550 clients with a 70% retention rate. Moses personally handles 270 of these portfolios. Moses describes his favorite part of the job, “It feels really good to know that I help ensure that families have food on their table every single day.”

He attends the Pentecostal Assembies of God Church where he is involved as a mentor in a career advice program that guides and counsels youth. Moses is excited about providing leadership that brings positive change in economical, social and spiritual realms of society.   

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