Opportunity’s strategy maximizes technology to engage the poor in their own communities, bringing financial services: 1) Closer: Establishment of a distribution channel within one kilometer of a client’s home or business, 2) Wider: Cell phone and agent banking increase financial inclusion, 3) Safer: Cashless banking reduces clients risk of loss or theft and allows them to earn interest and 4) Cheaper: Opportunity utilizes emerging technologies and customer feedback while continuously reducing costs. Opportunity’s technology team:
You helped Opportunity grow in Tanzania
As we gather momentum in Tanzania, more parents go to market each day armed with the capital, training and support they need to increase their income and provide for their families. The loans your funding makes possible are delivered through Opportunity’s core Trust Group model. In addition, Opportunity Tanzania achieved the following:
Bringing life-saving insurance to Tanzanian clients
Your support has also helped expand Microensure, Opportunity's insurance provider and the world’s first and largest microinsurance broker.
In the past, if a family member needed healthcare, Theresia John Kombe of Pangara, Tanzania, had to sell one of her chickens to pay for it. But as a coffee grower with the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU), Theresia was able to join a MicroEnsure health plan that is connected to a network of clinics. Now, she pays an $8 annual premium that covers her whole family.
That insurance coverage was vital one night when her baby, Loreen, was vomiting and had to be taken to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with malaria. Theresia was so happy that Loreen was able to get immediate care without a fee.
Theresia says that one of the best aspects of having health insurance is that her family can plan for health needs a year in advance. It used to be that they would have to immediately try to sell a chicken, sometimes for less than it’s worth, to have money to go to a clinic or hospital. This is the case for many rural and farming families, especially between harvests when they don’t have much money available. Now, clients like Theresia who have insurance can get their children to health facilities when they need to go, ensuring that they’ll be treated as soon as they have symptoms of an illness, rather than having to wait until they can afford to go. For the adults in the family, this reduces the risk that they will miss workdays and extra income.
MicroEnsure works with medical staff at the local Uuwo Dispensary in Pangara on their bedside manner, explaining the way to approach, talk to, diagnose and treat patients. KNCU Health Plan providers are taught that making physical contact with patients during evaluation and treatment goes a long way towards demonstrating that they care, rather than just prescribing tests and drugs with only a cursory discussion. Theresia said she feels MicroEnsure’s plan is focused on the women and mothers of KNCU as they are the ones that deal with all health issues in the family. She says the women of her cooperative are all extremely grateful for the program.
Thanks for all your support in helping to make this possible!
The Impact of Your Support
Opportunity Tanzania undertook extensive restructuring over the past year to increase its effectiveness and provide clients the services and products they need to help lift themselves out of poverty. Armed with tighter policies and procedures, the dynamic management team transformed the business, making it more efficient and sustainable. Opportunity Tanzania achieved outstanding turnaround progress during 2011:
Opportunity Tanzania is seeking to accomplish the following during 2012:
Currently, Opportunity Tanzania serves clients through three hub branches: Ilala in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Moshi; and two satellite branches: Tengeru (Arusha satellite) and Himo (Moshi satellite).
Macro-economic issues in Tanzania impact the poorest families
The country’s economic position is expected to strengthen in 2012 as the government implements its new five-year development plan. Yet the high inflation rates in Tanzania continue to hit those living in poverty the hardest, leaving our clients to struggle with the rising cost of fuel, food and other household supplies. Inflation is projected to remain at or above 9% in 2012. Our clients and their families deal with the effects of inflation daily. They can be the difference between two meals a day or only one. They dictate whether children can be sent to school or must be kept at home.
Targeted training positions our staff to empower others
Opportunity Tanzania is equipping staff with the right tools to build technical skills and foster personal growth with major emphasis placed on the mission and values of Opportunity. Tanzania staff recently participated in the following professional development opportunities:
Protecting Clients from Unexpected Losses
Opportunity Tanzania provides all loan clients with credit, life, funeral, health and natural calamities insurance. Opportunity International’s insurance subsidiary, MicroEnsure launched its first health insurance program in Tanzania in 2010, with a second product targeting rural coffee farmers in 2011. MicroEnsure has accomplished strong growth in Tanzania and reached a milestone of 600,000 lives covered. Significant progress has been achieved over the last year, including:
Thanks for all your support that makes the continuing work in Tanzania possible!
Richard Kipande operates a market stall in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where he sells some food items as well as kitchen utensils, jars, and pots. He started his small business with a capital of $85, but was having trouble providing for his family and keeping his business afloat with the small profit that he was making from his stall.
But Richard decided to apply for a loan to expand his business. He received his first loan from Opportunity, which raised his capital to $597, a substantial increase which significantly bettered his quality of life. Because of the loan he received, Richard was able to pay the fees to send his children to school. With the increased profits that he gained from his stall, he was also able to pay house rent and provide a healthier environment for his family. One day he hopes to develop his business even further and open his own hardware store.
When supporters of Opportunity International help fund client loans, they are helping Tanzanian entrepreneurs, like Richard, create change in their lives and in their communities.
Opportunity Tanzania is always looking for way to help our clients improve their businesses and generate more income for their families. Recently, Opportunity Malawi’s transformation officer helped Opportunity Tanzania conduct a survey of clients in its Arusha and Moshi branches to determine the needs of those we seek to serve.
What did we learn? Among the many important findings we learned that Opportunity Tanzania’s clients are among those who live below the poverty line, and are not always able to afford enough food for the family…
The good news? Marginalized Tanzanian families state that Opportunity is making a difference for them. Since they started accessing microfinance loans through Opportunity Tanzania…
Opportunity Tanzania is committed to meeting its goals of expanding outreach and increase access to financial services for the most impoverished families in the country. It’s possible through the partnership of Opportunity International contributors like the ones we have met on Global Giving.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
Director of Online Strategy