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 18, 2011

Gaining Security in Ghana

As a result of extreme poverty, many of Opportunity's clients in Ghana are suffering because of lack of title over their own homes, and capital to improve their living conditions. “Clients try to use their business loans for their homes, and then their business suffers,” says Opportunity Ghana Loan Officer Sylvia Danso Abeam. “It stretches their finances too much. And if they don’t have a good house to live in, they don’t have the security they need in order to manage their businesses well. The two go hand in hand.” 

Now a $1.2 million grant from USAID is enabling Opportunity International to promote property rights and pilot a home improvement loan program for clients in Ghana. Working with International Land Systems, Opportunity is putting together “property folios” so that clients can prove they have secure land tenure, and won’t have it taken away. The property folios consist of land surveys, field data collection, and community confirmation of property rights. During the start-up phase, target clients are members of established Trust Groups or proven individual loan clients.  “Our hope is that, by working with the Ghanaian government, our clients will eventually be able to get formal title to their land,” says Makonen Getu, Opportunity vice president, international business development, who oversees the program. “As the project ramps up, we anticipate marketing the land titling and the housing products jointly.” 
Our clients will receive construction technical assistance from Habitat for Humanity, a sub-recipient on the USAID-funded project, who also helped Opportunity with market research and product development. More than 40 families have already received housing loans to improve their existing structures or to add rooms. 
(Impact Newsletter, Spring 2011)

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May 18, 2011

Financial Services Empowering Congolese

On May 11, 2011 Opportunity International announced additional backing for the expansion of its international community banking network into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM) has contributed $250,000 to support Opportunity DRC’s development of safe, community banking within the country. TFM, majority owned by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., operates the Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine in the Katanga Province of the DRC, the largest private investment (approximately $2 billion) in the DRC. 

Currently, only 1 percent of DRC citizens have access to basic financial services. “In bringing our community banking system to the DRC, Opportunity International is breaking down barriers and providing its citizens with basic, safe and affordable financial tools,” said Bill Morgenstern, CEO, Opportunity International.  Freeport-McMoRan and TFM are committed to initiatives to improve public health, education, and economic development in the communities where they operate. Richard C. Adkerson, president and CEO of Freeport-McMoRan said, “Our contribution to Opportunity International is aligned with the broader investment we are making within the DRC and is part of a strong commitment to improve the lives of those who live in our communities, and throughout the country. We are pleased to support Opportunity International’s efforts to expand access to financial services to the Congolese people.” 

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May 18, 2011

Expanding Schools, Extending Lives in Ghana

 

Joyce Opoku dreamed of starting an early childhood care and learning facility that would provide children living in poverty with a good foundation for first grade. In 2005, the Lucky Child Daycare Center opened with seven pupils in her father’s concrete block house in a poor suburb of Kumasi, Ghana. Then in 2009, the center was invited to become part of the IDP Rising Schools Program, a unique partnership between Opportunity and the IDP Foundation, Inc. 
The program’s goal is to boost the development of existing, but very poor non-governmental schools for disadvantaged children throughout Ghana. With a focus on helping schools improve business management, administrative effectiveness and teacher development, the program also builds a sustainable, holistic, educational model that can be replicated throughout the developing world. 
Joyce received 16 weeks of training in business management and accounting skills with Opportunity International, and a six-month loan to make physical improvements to the school. Now that she has repaid the loan, she is requesting a second loan to buy a permanent piece of land. With support from the IDP Rising Schools program, Joyce is helping 150 children embark on the path to a better future. 
(Impact Newsletter, Spring 2011)

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