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.
Jan 7, 2016

Uganda January Report

Jet Valley Primary School, Uganda
Jet Valley Primary School, Uganda

More than 67 million children worldwide are not in school, including one in four in Africa. Education unlocks and fuels a child's potential as a proven path out of poverty, and Opportunity is putting education into action in Uganda. With your support, Opportunity’s Education Finance initiative is positively impacting schools and students throughout the country where 100,727 children are positively impacted by the program. Some of these students attend Jet Valley Primary School, an Opportunity School Improvement loan client that launched a girls club that embarked on a social enterprise project aimed at having a positive impact on the environment. The students brainstormed to solve issues the school and student body were facing and identified a common desire to address a soil erosion problem that was putting the school compound, its buildings and classrooms at risk of structural issues.

After completing research, they adopted a solution to plant grass and flowers within and surrounding the school compound to provide cover and reduce erosion. The young leaders compiled an action plan and showed excellent teamwork, exhibiting their newly developed confidence as they presented it to school administrators. Club members developed a budget implementing what they had learned in their Planning and Budgeting training to develop a realistic request of $24.88 to purchase seed, fertilizer and gardening equipment. The administrators agreed and the group began demarcating and tiling quadrangles around the school in April 2015 and began planting in June.

The club and school proprietor are quite pleased with the progress and impressed with the new level of pride students are showing in the school. This project and the Planning and Budgeting training the students received gave them a broader understanding about the importance of budgeting and practical plans for putting savings into practice. This holistic approach to education has kept girls in the classroom and helped Jet Valley Primary School improve infrastructure and quality of education for its many students.

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Jan 6, 2016

Banking on Africa January Update

Brigite at her market stall in Kinshasa
Brigite at her market stall in Kinshasa

Opportunity DR Congo is achieving a profound impact on the lives of hard-working entrepreneurs by building a financially inclusive DR Congo with access to economic opportunity for all. In the first half of 2015, banks more than doubled the number of clients with a savings account to 7,669, up from 3,534 at the close of 2014. All four Opportunity DRC branches are led by women and the bank currently disburses 55% of its loans to women; women like Brigite.

Brigite’s warm smile greets shoppers, stopping them in their tracks as they scurry from stall to stall in Kinshasa’s bustling marketplace. Proudly showing off her wares, Brigite has the tools she needs to face the daily challenges associated with supporting a large family amidst the difficult economic climate of the DR Congo. Until recently, she struggled to make ends meet selling salted fish, a seasonal income source, barely earning enough to put food on the table. A natural entrepreneur, she realized she had to find a steadier revenue stream. Ever resourceful, Brigite jumped at the chance to join an Opportunity International Trust Group, and she has never looked back.

Brigite strategically invested her loans to diversify her inventory, adding fufu, a local food staple, and maize alongside the salted fish at her market stall. In no time at all, Brigite’s daily profits rose by a remarkable 63%. Today, Brigite earns enough to feed and clothe her family and send her kids to school. By leaning on the wisdom of the women in her Trust Group and gaining knowledge from financial literacy training provided by her loan officer, Brigite’s confidence is soaring. She has learned to save to expand her business and increase her income.

“I am grateful for the positive impact of Opportunity International, not only on my family but on my whole community,” Brigite said. She is empowered to ensure a bright future for herself and for her family. She is focused on expanding her business and, for the first time ever, she allows herself to dream about sending her children to university, breaking the chains of generational poverty once and for all.

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Jan 6, 2016

Harvesting Hope for Nicaraguan Farmers

Liseth and her three children
Liseth and her three children

Four years ago, everything changed for struggling Nicaraguan farmer, Liseth. With very little knowledge about yucca and hibiscus farming and no access to capital, she was at a loss as to how to turn her farm into a profitable operation. In the meantime, her family suffered until a neighboring farmer introduced her to Opportunity. Armed with technical assistance, access to capital, seeds and markets, the sky is the limit for this mother of three growing kids. Today, both her yucca and hibiscus yields have increased by more than 30% as a result of the modern farming practices she is employing and the technical support she receives. Not only has her quantity grown but with a dramatically increased quality, her crops garner higher prices at market.

“I am delighted by the success I have achieved on my farm,” says Liseth, “but my greatest joy comes from using my increased income to invest in my children’s futures – their education, medicine and improvements to our home that have made it a safer, healthier environment. I have learned to continue to invest in my farm to ensure our future. I have most recently diversified my income to add pig, cattle and horse rearing. I had not thought about the impact I was achieving throughout the community until my Opportunity loan officer reminded me that the 30 jobs I have created for farmhands over the past four years helps the economy of the whole village. I am grateful for all I have accomplished. I feel empowered with a little help from Opportunity!”

Thanks to your support, Liseth and 1,307 of her fellow Nicaraguan farmers can provide for their families and harvest hope for their futures with technical assistance from Opportunity.

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