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.
Mar 7, 2012

Regina Salomao Mondlane's Story

In the Chokwé district of Mozambique many women are farmers, but Regina Salomão Mondlane, a single 33-year-old who lives in a house made of mud and covered in zinc sheets, sells new clothes to people of all ages and genders. Regina has operated this clothing business since 1996, and she travels from Chokwé to Maputo (a six hour drive round-trip) at least twice a month to acquire the goods and supplies she needs for her business.

When Regina was introduced to BOM, Opportunity’s partner bank in Mozambique, she took out her very first loan, worth $300, and invested it all in her business. With the extra money this loan provided, she expanded her business from one boutique to two in the same market. She uses the extra income from her growing business to purchase food, education and transportation for schoolchildren and to build herself an improved house.

Regina saves $9 each day in the savings account she opened with BOM, and she encourages her friends to save money by collecting their income and adding it to a separate BOM savings account at the end of each month. Regina is now on her second loan cycle with BOM, and she plans to use the money to extend her business to a more populated market. Regina says her dream is to “see everyone wearing new clothes, especially those living in the remote areas, because it enhances a person’s dignity and self-esteem.”

When clients, like Regina, build businesses with Opportunity loans, they often set into motion monumental changes. Family income rises. Children are well fed and go to school. Homes are improved. Women gain status. For clients around the globe, these transformations take place every day–beginning with loans as small as $160.

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Feb 14, 2012

Building on the Success of 2011 to plan for 2012

In 2009, Mexico's GDP plunged 6.2% as world demand for exports dropped, asset prices tumbled, and remittances and investment declined. GDP posted positive growth of 5.4% in 2010 and 3.8% in 2011 however the country continues to face many economic challenges, including improving the public education system and upgrading infrastructure. Felipe Calderon and his administration has stated that his top economic priorities remain reducing poverty and creating jobs.

In the past three years, Opportunity Mexico has been working hard to build its client base and reach more people with microfinance solutions to help them work their way out of poverty. Under the leadership of CEO Maria Clara Martinez, the institution has revamped its processes and increased its outreach. Similar to its strategic goals in 2011, Opportunity Mexico will continue to improve its operational processes and expand its base in 2012, aiming to significantly increase loan client outreach and to continue to provide qualified clients with both training and loans geared toward established businesses.

The generosity of our supporters helped Opportunity Mexico's clients and their communities thrive in 2011. Our microfinance products made it possible for market vendors to fill their stalls with goods, artisans to make a profit, educators to expand schools and farmers to move beyond subsistence. We are excited to watch Opportuntiy Mexico grow to meet the needs of the country and provide more tools to more people so they can work their way our of poverty.


Feb 14, 2012

Road Map for the Microfinance Industry

Focusing on Responsible and Client-Centered Microfinance

In less than 40 years, microfinance has spread around the world, today providing access to credit and other financial services to more than 205 million poor clients, most of whom were previously ignored by mainstream financial institutions. From modest roots, microfinance has built a global network of institutions dedicated to serving low-income people. It has transformed our understanding about the power of opportunity.

In early 2011, a group of CEOs from microfinance organizations that work globally began to have regular, informal conversations about the future of the microfinance sector as it matures and faces new challenges. They found that the leaders of various organizations shared many of the same values and concerns, including a desire to work together to help improve our organizations and advance the industry. At this moment, microfinance has an opportunity to build on past successes, learn from, and respond to the challenges it faces in order to be a more responsive, responsible, and transformative industry. By taking sincere and systematic action, we can build more successful financial institutions that help change the lives of the people we serve.

Highlights from their January 2012 meeting:  The Challenges... Client Focus and Responsible Finance 

"We believe deeply that microfinance is a powerful tool for improving the lives of the poor and that the field has not yet reached its full potential.  The microfinance industry has much more work to do. However, in order for the industry to continue to serve as a vital and creative force in the world, it must recognize and actively address several issues that are crucial to its continued success. First, the microfinance industry must raise its standards of responsibility to clients. Second, the sector must create real, measurable, social and economic value for clients. We envision a microfinance industry that protects its clients, is transparent, and measures and achieves social outcomes and impact."

Read more... http://www.opportunity.org/press-releases/road-map-for-the-microfinance-industry-focusing-on-responsible-and-client-centered-microfinance/#.TzmVosVSQsd 

 
   

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