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Jul 16, 2014

Banking on Africa July Update

In 2013, Opportunity International reached 1.2 million savings clients in Africa — a nearly threefold increase from 2009. Client deposits total $68 million. Over $120 million is circulating the continent in Opportunity loans, helping our clients work toward cleaner water, better education, safer homes, and a brighter future.

Agricultural finance grew tremendously in 2013, with 26% more loans disbursed to farmers than in 2012. The total amount loaned was $20.4 million, or more than double the amount loaned the year before. Opportunity increased its outreach to smallholder farmers in five countries — Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Mozambique, and Rwanda — with plans to launch outreach in Tanzania in 2014. Technology will play a key role in agriculture as well, with Opportunity piloting loans to finance tractors and GPS technology.

Education was another major focus of 2013, with Opportunity Uganda disbursing over 100 School Improvement loans and 4500 School Fee loans. Opportunity Uganda also launched EduSave in 2013, a free education insurance that ensures school fee funding in case of a parent’s death or disablement, and now covers nearly 13,000 families. Opportunity Malawi also launched EduSave in 2013, protecting the education of over 127,000 children.

Finally, Opportunity increased access to financial services in Africa, through the expansion of mobile banking in Tanzania, Uganda, and Malawi. Opportunity’s branch in the Democratic Republic of Congo received its official deposit-taking license in November of 2013, meaning that poor families now have a safe place to save their hard-earned money.

Apr 9, 2014

Local Staff Empower Clients Like Wilbert

99 percent of Opportunity Internationa's global team are nationals. Our frontline staff comprises deposit mobilization officers, customer service officers, tellers and branch managers. Loan officers provides financial literacy training and support clients in selecting financial services and monitors loan repayments.

Our loan officers are at the heart of our work. Many of them become mentors, acting as catalysts for a lifetime of stability for clients and their families. In spite of their immense potential, the most talented professionals in the developing world lack access to the tools they need to grow professionally. By providing exceptional training, Opportunity International is equipping local, talented staff to become leaders in building the economies of their own communities. 

It is because of our local loan officers that clients like Wilbert believe in Opportunity International and return for mutliple loan cycles as they grow the capaicty of their business. 

Wilbert is an Opportunity client who owns a shop at Mtongani area of Tegeta in Dar es Salaam in which he sells different types of drinks like soda, water, and energy drinks. He is able to earn gross sales of 200,000 TZ shillings per day.

He has been an Opportunity client in the past and this will be his second loan cycle. He plans on using this loan to purchase additional stock for his business. Having more stock in his business means larger sales each month so he can continue to pay for his children tuition at the nearby secondary school and for his oldest which is now at Dar Es Salaam University.

Your support and the suport of his local loan officer has helped Wilbert grow his business and provide for his family. He is now able to pay tuition fees for his children and has a savings account and a safety net for his family. He hopes his children will receive a good education and, one day, help him in business.

Apr 9, 2014

Thomas is educating the next generation of leaders


Wearing crisp uniforms and sitting in row upon row of wooden desks, a classroom of children follows a lesson with their teacher at the Maryhill Junior School in Uganda. When the teacher prompts, sometimes they answer in unison, other times a myriad of hands shoot in the air, students bursting to catch the teacher’s eye. This was not always the case in this farming town 25 kilometers outside Kampala, the capital city. It’s not hard to marvel at how far the school’s founder Thomas has come.

Through Thomas’ vision and hard work, the Maryhill Junior School has risen from humble beginnings. In 2006, when he was just in his mid-twenties, Thomas made a commitment. He was determined to provide a better education to the children in his community. Like most dreams, his started small. He leased two cramped rooms on a rented plot of land, opening his doors to welcome 37 students. Today, Thomas’ school serves 356 students from K-7, many of whom board on campus. Thomas is making his dream to provide education to his community a reality. Beyond that, the community has found his passion and vision contagious. In the early days, Thomas had to do nearly everything, but today he employs a cadre of 14 teachers and seven caregivers – that’s 21 adults making Thomas’ commitment happen.

His first loan of less than $2,000 allowed him to expand his school by renting more rooms. Over time, Thomas qualified for a larger, more flexible loan valuing $7,600 which he invested to construct kindergarten classrooms. He is currently leveraging his most recent loan of $25,000 to finance an assembly hall and clean running water and electricity in the primary block. It is because of the support of people like you that Thomas has been able to create such growth and community impact. 

Thomas makes a point of going above and beyond for his students, caring little if these selfless acts go unseen. This includes washing the uniforms and shoes of his students, sending them a clear message that they are worthy. When chatting about the future, Thomas says, “I have a dream to add computers, a library and clean running water in the rest of the units. I know I will achieve this with Opportunity as my business partner.”   

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