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.
Apr 10, 2015

Uganda Operational Update

Opportunity Uganda’s operations are expanding to empower thousands of marginalized individuals. Opportunity currently reaches more than 27,000 clients with loan services and upwards of 105,000 Ugandans hold savings accounts. Savings outreach grew by 20% in the first half of 2014 alone. Three new branches were opened in 2013, and now clients all over Uganda have access to Opportunity’s services offered in 19 branches. In addition to new branches, cell phone banking and additional ATMs and mobile banking vehicles were introduced in 2014 and have increased accessibility to financial services for clients ranging from smallholder farmers to school proprietors.

Financial services enable clients to improve their businesses, gain access to education, provide adequate nutrition for their families and transform their communities. Given this information, Opportunity recognizes the need to improve financial literacy so that clients are able to make the most of the loan, savings and insurance products Opportunity offers. In addition to the traditional four week loan orientation program for new clients, Opportunity Uganda has launched a financial literacy “soap opera” training series that is broadcasted via radio and television in local languages. This creative training mechanism has gained popularity, and viewers and listeners find it both funny and informative. Opportunity’s financial training is not limited to adults; The Youth Financial Education program was recently launched in Uganda to provide financial education and employability training to youth. Opportunity has partnered with education organization Aflatoun, whose curriculum provides students with training on basic financial and enterprise-related themes, encouraging student commitment to education and employment.

The new training modules inform clients about how best to use the variety of financial products Opportunity offers. Recently added products have been designed to increase child saving and improve access to education. Opportunity Uganda has introduced a Child Savings Account, allowing a parent or guardian to open an account for their child. The account restricts withdrawals to one per month to encourage long-term saving to use toward costs like education. The Education Finance initiative has provided School Improvement loans for 108 school proprietors and has assisted 4,552 families with School Fee loans to cover education costs. Opportunity continues to serve thousands of Ugandan clients with a wide range of financial services and training programs developed to help empower the marginalized to rise out of poverty.

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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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Apr 10, 2015

Africa Operational Update

Opportunity is impacting the lives of nearly 1.3 million clients and their families across ten countries in Africa. Currently over 200,000 Africans have loans and about one million have voluntary savings accounts.

Opportunity is always looking to improve accessibility to financial services. Mobile money is a tool that provides access to cell phone banking, cashless payment systems and cashless transactions. As of 2014, clients in Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania are active mobile money users. Saving the trip to a local branch, mobile money is improving Opportunity’s outreach to rural farmers who are able to access banking services through their personal devices. Plans are underway to expand mobile money offerings so that all of Opportunity’s African clients have access to this valuable tool.

Core Banking System Upgrades are underway in Malawi, Ghana and Rwanda. These upgrades are designed to bring branches up to date with the latest software and technology. Additionally, all of Opportunity’s owned partners in Africa now have access to centralized information technology support based in Ghana. Hundreds of Tanzanian and Ghanaian farmers are benefiting from Field Digital Data Collection tool that maps agricultural plots to determine the appropriate loan size.

Education Finance products are offered in six countries in Africa. School Improvement loans for education entrepreneurs are offered in Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. School fee loans are available to clients Tanzania and the previous five countries. Tertiary loans have been introduced to clients in Ghana and Rwanda and are helping to support individuals seeking higher education. The Education Finance program provides more than just loans. In Ghana, 80% of school proprietor clients have engaged in financial training courses. Additionally, Opportunity Kenya conducted Financial Literacy training courses for 1,050 youths. With the help of education organization Aflatoun, similar courses are now offered to young clients in Uganda and Rwanda to improve financial literacy and encourage commitment to education and employment. The success of the Education Finance program is encouraging; educational loans and training improve the wellbeing of clients and their communities. Opportunity is committed to expanding the Education Finance program to support brighter educational futures for children and their families across Africa.

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