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.
Aug 12, 2011

Educational Microfinance in Ghana

Students at Christ is the Answer School in Ghana.
Students at Christ is the Answer School in Ghana.

The IDP Rising Schools Program is an initiative created and implemented by the IDP Foundation, Inc., Opportunity International, and Sinapi Aba Trust (SAT). SAT, a member of the Opportunity International network, is an NGO in Ghana that offers microfinance services to clients, including loans to school proprietors to fund the building of quality local private schools. After 12 weeks of management training for school proprietors, and training for school caterers on sanitation, nutrition, and safety, the schools are given loans to improve their infrastructure and human resources.

One school, The Christ is the Answer Preparatory School was founded by Anthony Kwasi Nyarku, a retired schoolteacher, in 1997. His school started with four students and now serves about 180 students. In February 2010, SAT contacted him through a recommendation by Romesco International School, interviewed him, and eventually chose him for their loan program. Through the program, he learned to manage his money, keeping separate accounts for the school’s money and his own, saving and keeping track of petty cash.

Anthony was interviewed by Students of the World (SOW) this summer, and explained his reasoning for founding a school. He explained that government schools often are under supervised and a strong union protects the sometimes-neglectful teachers. His teachers, however, are closely overseen. Additionally, Christ is the Answer Preparatory School is able to provide this education to some students who cannot afford “even the uniform.” As a result of the hard work of Anthony, his teachers and his students, all 11 students who took last year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE)–a required exam for any student wishing to go on to Senior High School–passed them, and received the third-highest scores in the area.

-An Excerpt from SOW Guest Blog

To learn more about SOW's trip and School Proprietors like Anthony visit http://www.opportunity.org/blog/spotlight-on-educational-microfinance-idp-rising-schools-students-of-the-world-sow-meets-students-educators-in-ghana/

Aug 12, 2011

John Deere Foundation Supports African Farmers

Teddy Namagembe, a Ugandan coffee farmer client.
Teddy Namagembe, a Ugandan coffee farmer client.

The John Deere Foundation has given Opportunity International a $3.5 million grant to expand access to financial services for farmers and other entrepreneurs in Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Uganda, through its “Banking on Africa” initiative.

"One of the John Deere Foundation’s goals is to help eliminate hunger through initiatives that help manual farmers move from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture, resulting in enhanced security for the farmers, increased and sustainable food supplies and measurable economic growth in developing nations,” said John Bustle, vice president, John Deere Foundation. “We are impressed with the progress that Opportunity International has made in increasing access to financial services for African farmers, food processors and retailers. Likewise, we are excited and optimistic about Opportunity’s ongoing efforts to create a sustainable framework for enhanced food security through increased food production, food availability at local markets and family income to purchase food.”

To learn more about the John Deere Foundation's support of Opportunity International's work in agricultural finance visit http://www.opportunity.org/press-releases/opportunity-international-announces-a-john-deere-foundation-grant-for-its-%e2%80%9cbanking-on-africa%e2%80%9d-initiative/

Aug 12, 2011

Ghanaian Agricultural Finance Client Beatrice

Beatrice and her loan officer Abena.
Beatrice and her loan officer Abena.

Beatrice Duku Frimpong Boaten inherited her house and four acres of land from her father over 30 years ago. After Beatrice retired as a teacher, she decided to convert the land into a cocoa farm. She worked as a farmer for 16 years, and in March 2010, she joined Opportunity International‘s agricultural finance program through Opportunity Ghana. As a result of this program, she has received fertilizers, insecticides and learnt farming techniques that have allowed her to increase her output from an average of five bags every year to 13 to 15 bags by the end of every cocoa season. Her income has also been boosted from the increased yield. But improving her own lifestyle and paying for her children’s education is not the only thing to come out of Beatrice’s relationship with Opportunity International. She felt encouraged enough by Opportunity loan officers to gather community members to form two Trust Groups and collectively they have made a community farm, which grows cocoa, plantains, maize, cassava and other crops for the community. Proceeds from the sale of these crops go into the Trust Group’s funds, which in turn pay back the loans farmers have incurred from Opportunity.

-Taken from a Students of the World (SOW) guest blog post

To read more about Beatrice's success story and Opportunity's work in Agricultural Finance visit http://www.opportunity.org/blog/students-of-the-world-sow-ghanaian-agricultural-finance-client-beatrice-is-a-lady-of-the-land/

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