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Apr 12, 2019

Spring 2019 AgFinance Update

Florence - Soy & Maize Farmer in Mchinji, Malawi
Florence - Soy & Maize Farmer in Mchinji, Malawi

Around the world, families like Florence’s are escaping poverty at unprecedented rates. More than a billion people have been lifted out of poverty over the last three decades. Yet, millions more still face the uncertainty of tomorrow, struggling to survive off too little income and too little food, waiting for their opportunity to gain a foothold out of extreme poverty.

For Florence, all she needed was an opportunity to grow her small farm – an opportunity that someone like you made possible. Florence received her first loan, opened her first savings account, and saw her first good harvest. She’s used her income to buy a metal roof for her home and send her grandchildren to school.

Today, you can create an opportunity for a rural family like Florence’s to grow their farm and build a sustainable livelihood. Every family reached brings us closer to the global mission of eradicating extreme poverty, the first of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, and in building a brighter, more equitable future for the next generation.

In 2019, you will be a part of three important priorities:

  1. Reaching more farming families – You make it possible to set up more farmer support networks and extend financial services above and beyond the organic reach currently possible by Opportunity’s financial institution partners alone, to the families that need them most.
  2. Empowering rural women – Historically, women have been much harder to reach and much harder to serve due to cultural stigmas, low literacy levels, and overall lack of infrastructure and support services to reach them. You will help direct resources toward women-focused rural initiatives, such as "Farming as a Family Business" trainings, to reach and empower more rural women through Africa.
  3. Investing in data and innovation – Serving rural families requires continual testing, adapting, and learning around what solutions work and what solutions could work better. Your support will fuel research and innovation within exciting new areas that could be game-changers in rural economic development, such as risk reduction tools, building climate resilience, agricultural technologies, and engaging youth in the future of agriculture.

Your support helps unlock more capital and more resources to reach some of the world’s most marginalized families—families who have been waiting generations for their opportunity to build a better future. Thank you!

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Apr 11, 2019

Meet Joyce - A Taxi Service Owner

Joyce is proud to talk about her greatest achievement: three of her children are in school, and the oldest is attending university. She credits Opportunity for the hand-up she received which provided her with the tools she needed to grow a thriving, income-generating business.

Joyce and her husband Timothy invested Opportunity loans and training to diversify their business and increase their income, important in a developing country like Kenya. A natural entrepreneur, Joyce launched her first business selling porridge at a taxi bus terminal. Today, she and her husband own and operate their own taxi service as well as four motorcycle hardware shops. Their shops have become the heart of the community and the key to their success. The couple creates jobs for their neighbors and economic activity for their community.

After ten years of hard work, their business is thriving. Joyce dreams of going back to school to study computers, but for now, she’s focused on running her businesses and inspiring others to challenge themselves to greatness. Joyce is a true example to those living in poverty of how Opportunity’s model of microfinance changes lives.

Thank you for supporting inspiring entrepreneurs, like Joyce, who work hard every day to provide for their families and improve their communities. 

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Apr 11, 2019

Spring 2019 EduFinance Report

Students of Best Start School in Ghana
Students of Best Start School in Ghana

EDUFINANCE GLOBAL OUTREACH FOOTPRINT

Despite global gains in education and a global drive toward UN-adopted Sustainable Development Goal #4–‘to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for al’–access to quality education remains far from a universal reality in 2019.

In 2018, we provided financial and/or non-financial education products and services in Africa: Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Liberia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Latin America: Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. Asia: India. In 2019, we plan to increase our footprint by adding financial and/or non-financial education products and services in several additional locations.

POSITIVE BENEFITS FOR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES

EduFinance fosters inclusive learning environments and opportunities for increased access to education by offering sustainable, scalable services. A few recent key learnings shaping the program and demonstrating its positive benefits for communities, schools, families, and students include:

  • Teachers increased classroom innovations. Teachers in Uganda have increased ability to innovate more because they have gained confidence and new ideas through the EduQuality program training.
  • Students improved learning outcomes. Over three years, girls who attend Opportunity Uganda partner-funded schools improved literacy by 64% and numeracy by 32%.
  • Women clients supported their children’s education. Women clients across five countries shared that they were actively supporting their children’s education and happy in their success.
  • Schools created and sustained jobs in their communities. An estimated 185 new full- and part-time jobs were created by 75 Opportunity-financed Ugandan schools over three years.
  • Schools used loans to address key factors raised by families. School proprietors in Ghana and Uganda increased student enrollment by expanding classrooms, improving infrastructure, and focusing on education quality rather than simply raising tuition rates.

EDUQUALITY: OPPORTUNITY PUTS QUALITY FIRST

Access alone does not secure quality education; we ensure this through EduQuality, a companion initiative to EduFinance. In 2018, we expanded the EduQuality program across three key initiatives including School Clusters, Pathways to Excellence, and Professional Development.

School Clusters. Today, 1,069 local, affordable private schools formed into 186 clusters across six countries, join to share challenges, develop solutions, and form best practices. In-country education specialists support the school clusters in a bottom-up approach to school improvement, empowering local educators at the community level. 

Pathways to Excellence, designed by international education experts, encourages holistic school improvement via a self-evaluation process across 30 educational areas including school culture, environment, pedagogy, and teacher development, Schools partner with one of Opportunity’s 24 EduFinance specialists who provide support throughout their development.

Our School Leadership and Professional Development training program supports school leaders to improve student engagement and enhance learning environments.

Thank you for driving accessible and quality education for all children!

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