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.
Nov 4, 2011

Country Highlights

Uganda

Opportunity Uganda finished 2010 with 66 active school loan clients and 91 schools served over the span of the program.  For 2011 Uganda has plans to grow the number of school loans to 156 and the number of student loans to 9,193. In 2010, Opportunity Uganda also:

  • Served 3,840 clients with school fee loans totaling $652,800.  
  • Deepened its presence in the urban and peri-urban centers areas of Uganda. 
  • Trained 92 participants in workshop throughout 2010 covering topics such as entrepreneurship, business planning, financial management and marketing.  

 

Ghana

After a slow start to the year Opportunity Ghana finished 2010 strong with 165 school loan clients and 233 schools served over the span of the program.  In the first quarter of 2010, lending in Ghana was put on hold to allow management to rectify an increase in the portfolio at risk (PAR) in the Education Finance portfolio.  Leadership addressed the issue by revising the Credit Policy Guide and Credit Manual. Additionally, Opportunity Ghana:

  • Conducted a training seminar in July for 20 loan officers and branch managers on lending and credit risk management for Education Finance and small business loans.
  • Increased loan repayment significantly by the end of 2010, a marked improvement in the quality of the Education Finance portfolio. 
  • Approved a plan to market Education Finance in twelve of the eighteen bank branches in Ghana, doubling the outreach of the program.
  • Projected to reach a total of 258 active school loans with a portfolio of $740,000 by the end of 2011.  

 

The IDP Rising Schools Program is operating successfully and has disbursed loans to 38 schools, impacting 26,794 students. The team has built a library of detailed training curriculum modules that targets school proprietors, teachers and caterers. During the initial phase of the program, IDP Foundation, Inc. estimates 120 proprietors and caterers will be trained, 1,200 teachers will be trained and 31,080 students will be impacted.  In 2010, the IDP Rising School Program:

  • Continued to implement and expand the loan, research, and community development components of the program.
  • Customized financial services with capacity-building services to develop proprietors’ abilities to manage and develop their small neighborhood schools. 
Nov 1, 2011

Expanding our outreach to serve rural families

Opportunity International is implementing innovative agricultural microfinance in rural communities across Africa. Opportunity’s banks in Ghana, Malawi, Uganda, Mozambique and Rwanda share a vision to transform the future of rural communities by reaching over 1.3 million savings accounts and 94,000 smallholder farmers with agricultural finance services by 2013. 

As of June 2011, these five banks were collectively serving 174,155 clients with active loans, 37,483 of whom are smallholder farmers and rural or agriculture business operators. The biggest success story is Opportunity’s provision of savings, which continues in its significant upward growth trend with 717,331 savings clients in these five banks. This substantial surge in rural savings accounts is a sign that the poorest families can and will save when provided the appropriate tools, education and incentives. 

We are leveraging technology to reach the most marginalized families in rural regions

Mobile bank vehicles, cell phone banking, ATMs and point of sale devices allow Opportunity to deliver customized services virtually anywhere, enabling us to extend our reach to rural and remote areas with efficiency and affordability. During the first half of 2011, Opportunity improved access to financial services for thousands of families.

  • Opportunity Ghana brings the bank to the doorstep of rural poor families with two mobile banks while Malawi operates a fleet of ten. Rwanda and Uganda each serve rural clients with one mobile bank and Opportunity Mozambique plans to add additional mobile banks to the six now in service.
  • Opportunity Ghana and Uganda have issued more than 13,000 biometric smart cards making it possible for clients to access their accounts within their local markets and shops. Ghana and Malawi are implementing cell phone banking, allowing clients to conduct transactions right from their business or home.
  • During the first six months of 2011, Opportunity Uganda opened a branch in rural Mubende, bringing the total number of branches to 11 and Malawi is reaching rural families through two new satellite branches and an additional kiosk in addition to point of sale devices at 57 merchant shops, 28 ATMs and via cell phone banking. 
Nov 1, 2011

Client Success Spotlight: Meet Andre Landu

You are helping Opportunity reach out to clients like Andre Landu, pictured right, standing side by side with his loan officer. Until recently, Andre struggled to earn a profit selling luggage at the Liberty Market in Kinshasa. Then he heard about Opportunity International. In just a few short months Andre has increased his income by 50% by investing his loan to expand and diversify his inventory of bags and by incorporating all he has learned from his loan officer, Patrick Kamunga (pictured left) to bring his business to sustainability and profitability. Today, Andre is making plans for the future and says, “I am grateful for all I have learned; I am evolving as a businessman. I am learning to develop recognition in the market which is bringing me respect from fellow business operators and bringing me more return customers.”   

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