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Jul 7, 2015

Education Finance Progress Report

Nathan visits the Real Quality Junior School.
Nathan visits the Real Quality Junior School.

During 2014, Opportunity International’s Education Finance initiative achieved growth across key objectives including program outreach, staff and school proprietor training and expansion to new countries. Opportunity launched school proprietor training, youth financial literacy training and child savings accounts in four additional countries. As of February 2015, 7,764 children have attended financial literacy training at 156 schools, educating them on the importance of saving for and investing in their futures.

A growing school can permanently alter the socioeconomic reality of a community, creating an “upward spiral” of economic opportunities that provide families with the means to keep kids in school, forever changing the survival prospects of those families. Lydia and Antoli, the founding couple of Real Quality Junior School in Kampala, Uganda are delighted that their school can improve the future outlook for teachers, students and the entire community.  

Their school started out small, but thanks to their hard work and the support of Opportunity, the school has grown from 50 to 1,200 students. The school’s impact ripples beyond the students with more than 90 staff jobs and countless more jobs created within the surrounding community. Teachers at Real Quality Junior School are empowered with the right tools to help students succeed and they are inspired to make a lasting difference. Nathan, Opportunity International’s head of education finance, recently met with a few of our schools in Kampala, Uganda, including Real Quality Junior School. Opportunity first began working with this particular school when the children were just toddlers – today, the school boasts a clean water system, toilets, teacher housing, teacher training, sustainable cash flow and a 100% national exam passing rate. And this is just one of more than 1,000 schools that Opportunity is supporting globally. 

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Apr 10, 2015

Education Finance Initiative Update

More than 67 million children worldwide are not in school. Many of these children belong to families who are struggling to escape poverty but do not have adequate resources to provide a better future for their children. Research shows that education is not only a proven path out of poverty but also improves life expectancy, boosts income and reduces child marriages. Education is a powerful tool that enables both children and adults to rise out of poverty. With this knowledge, Opportunity is committed to equipping families and education entrepreneurs with valuable financial services and training so that every child has the opportunity to learn in a classroom.

Opportunity’s multifaceted Education Finance Initiative supports the family with School Fee loans, insurance and Tertiary loans. School Fee loans and insurance through the recently launched EduSave program help keep children in school in the event of a parent’s or caregiver’s death or disablement. Additionally, Tertiary loans provide financial support for individuals who go on to receive higher education. To date, Opportunity has issued 6,200 School Fee loans that have served 19,200 students in Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Dominican Republic.

The Education Finance Initiative also provides services to education entrepreneurs to ensure that the children who are able to attend school have an adequate school to attend. Opportunity has conducted eight targeted training sessions for 540 teachers and school proprietors in Ghana since Education Finance’s inception. In addition to Ghana, School Improvement loans are now offered in Uganda, Malawi, Rwanda, Dominican Republic and Kenya. In those countries, a total of 880 School Improvement loans have impacted 219,500 students who are now benefit from improved educational facilities that better equip them to break free from the cycle of poverty.

School proprietor and client, Franklyn, used Opportunity’s School Improvement Loans to recover from tragedy. A powerful storm destroyed the roof and two classrooms of the Tower of David Academy. The local bank considered the school too small and would not offer Franklyn a loan, but a student’s mother told her about Opportunity International. With her first Opportunity loan, Franklyn repaired the devastated roof and classrooms and purchased desks and computers. To date she has used four Opportunity loans to improve and expand her school which now serves 170 students in nine classrooms. Franklyn’s determination, paired with access to School Improvement loans, has supported transformational, education opportunities that provide hope for the future.

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Apr 10, 2015

Tanzania Impact Report

Opportunity International’s impact in Tanzania is growing. Financial Literacy training is now offered in Swahili to impact a wider audience. The training teaches clients valuable skills including how to evaluate financial products, manage credit and save for the future. Informed clients continue to benefit from both individual and Trust Group loans, and Opportunity has recently expanded loan services with the launch of the Education Finance initiative in Tanzania. Families now have access to School Fee loans to ensure that children can stay in school despite financial instability. Additionally, Opportunity has designed School Improvement loans to support school proprietors in their endeavors to gain access to better educational resources and facilities. In order to provide access to these valuable services, Opportunity has hired and trained staff and designed a marketing strategy for these products in Tanzania.

Short-cycled and branch-based loans that empower entrepreneurs and families are not sufficient for rural, smallholder farmers who require longer loan cycles and virtual access to banking services. To cater to farmers’ financial needs, Opportunity recently launched a branchless, Agricultural Finance pilot that targets smallholder farmers in the Southern Agricultural Growth Region of Tanzania. This program exists to provide agriculturally tailored loans and savings services to farmers via mobile banking. To date, nearly $138,000 has been disbursed in 363 loans to farmers, and Opportunity continues to experiment with products, technology and partnerships to learn how to improve financial services for the small-scale agricultural sector.

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