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 26, 2011

Activity Highlights

Listening to our Clients: Launching New Loan Products

Opportunity Tanzania introduced two new loan products. The Pamoja loan (“together”) will replace the current Trust Group loan. The loan type will increase flexibility while adding cohesion to the existing group model. The groups will be more formal in structure with specific and consistent start and finish times and number of participants. All clients within a group will start and finish their loan cycles at the same time. A more unified and organized structure is expected to lead to improved training and rates of repayment. 

 In addition, Opportunity Tanzania rolled out the Vuka loan (“crossing”) at the Ilala, Arusha and Moshi branches. The newly designed loan targets smaller groups who can borrow larger sums of money and is seen as a graduated step between Trust Group loans and individual loans. The largest loan within the group cannot be more than three times the smallest loan in order to maintain the benefits of cross-guarantee. Like the Pamoja loan, the Vuka loan terms offer more flexibility than the standard Trust Group loan and lead to improved portfolio quality.

Oct 26, 2011

Activity Highlights

Increasing Outreach

Currently, Opportunity Tanzania serves 3,839 clients through three hub branches, Ilala in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Moshi, which opened near Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2010 and two satellite branches, Tengeru (an Arusha satellite that opened in 2010) and Himo (a Moshi satellite that opened in January 2011).

Using Technology to Improve Service and Provide Increased Access

The use of mobile phones for conducting financial transactions is the beginning of a revolution in Africa. Opportunity is the first microfinance institution to disburse loans through cell phones via M-Pesa in Tanzania. The pilot began in June in the Tengeru branch. This will add efficiencies and security to the current loan deposit process. Opportunity Tanzania is looking forward to reaching a greater variety of customers through cell phone banking over the course of 2011.

 Protecting Clients from Unexpected Losses

Opportunity Tanzania provides all loan clients with credit, life, funeral and natural calamities insurance. Opportunity Tanzania is uncovering ways to simplify the claim process for clients or their family members including translating the instructions to Swahili.

Oct 25, 2011

Activity Highlights

Ending Domestic Violence 

Opportunity and the International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care (PCVC) bring light to the deep-seated assumptions and attitudes toward women. PCVC conducts seminars on domestic violence, challenging assumptions and leading open discussions. “I found this training sessions very useful. There are a number of women in my Trust Group who are facing domestic violence. I am looking forward to taking the message to them,” says Sheela, leader of the Baba Trust Group (pictured left).Opportunity India is also addressing suicide prevention. Opportunity and SNEHA educate Trust Groups on suicide prevention and possible solutions to depression. The Trust Group setting builds a safe environment to address these challenging issues. 

Quality of Life Improvements

Opportunity India, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, conducted a housing survey at four branches to measure the need and interest for financing home improvements. As a response to the high rate of positive responses, we are now developing Housing Loans to match the needs of our clients while ensuring we keep the loans affordable and relevant. Thirty clients received home improvement loans so far this year with a goal to fund 300 in the remaining months. 

Education Loan Products

The Banking on Education pilot at Opportunity India commenced in May 2010, focusing primarily on school fee loans, with a supplementary scholarship program.  Both of these products are helping Opportunity India establish credibility and trust with clients in the education sector and have created inroads with schools to promote scholastic leadership. As of June 2011, India has 4,759 active student fee loans with an outstanding loan portfolio valuing $68,075.

Ashwini and her family value the education of women in their community in India. In the past, Ashwini’s father borrowed from money lenders, putting himself at risk for high interest repayment rates. The danger of this financial decision means that he has been unable to pay back the loans, perpetuating cycles of debt and poverty. With the help of an Opportunity scholarship, Ashwini is guaranteed to finish the last two years of her schooling. She can now fulfill her childhood dream to one day become an engineer. 

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