Help bring Financial Stability to Uganda

by Opportunity International
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Alice on her farm in Uganda
Alice on her farm in Uganda

Mother to eight children, Alice certainly has her hands full. Surrounded by abject poverty in rural Uganda, life has not been easy, and Alice is no stranger to rolling up her sleeves to work alongside her husband, rearing cattle for beef. Today, her farm is thriving, and she has even opened her first savings account which allowed her to expand by purchasing dairy cows.

Alice first learned about Opportunity Uganda in 2013 and what she has achieved since then is nothing short of amazing. Having struggled to run a profitable farming operation, Alice was not only grateful to access a loan, which she invested to purchase additional head of cattle, but she was especially delighted to receive the business skills and financial literacy training she needed to become a successful businesswoman. A natural born entrepreneur, she put her training into action and stepped up to help the other women members of the Empara Farmer’s Trust Group along their own journeys out of poverty.

With a few loans over the past three years and extensive business skills and technical farming training, Alice’s list of achievements is extensive. She has learned the importance of diversifying her business as she expands to reduce the gap created by seasonal agricultural incomes. In response, she began to grow and sell eucalyptus trees and she also reinvested her profits to construct a rental building with 10 rooms to bring in consistent income. Perhaps most importantly, Alice is giving back to her community by creating jobs for four neighbors and acting as a mentor to women in her community who benefit from her willingness to share business management and modern farming practice advice.

As Alice said, “I dream that all eight of my children will be able to finish their education and that my business will continue to grow. I am grateful that Opportunity Uganda provided the tools I needed to succeed, to empower me to achieve growth in my business.”

Alice is just one of many inspiring entrepreneurs who you have helped uplift in Uganda. You are equipping entrepreneurs, especially women, to perpetuate a cycle of lasting transformation in their lives, in their families’ lives and across their communities.

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Joyce at the Batanda Junior School.
Joyce at the Batanda Junior School.

Opportunity believes that knowledge is power, especially knowledge in the hands of dedicated school proprietors and passionate students. Your support has been crucial to the progress we have made to deliver financial and educational access to underbanked families in Uganda. As of August 2015, Opportunity Uganda was supporting 158 low-cost private schools through School Improvement loans to help add classrooms, toilet facilities, transportation, etc. This represents a growth of 26% over the prior year and is currently impacting 39,500 kids. Opportunity Uganda also provided School Fee loans to 5,135 parents to help about 15,947 children attend school, many of which are orphans.

Joyce, a school proprietor and single mother of six from Uganda, believes that every child deserves to dream big. Her own struggle to ensure her children’s education led her to open an affordable, high-quality school in her community - a safe place that offers the perfect environment for learning and for enjoying lots of love and encouragement. Joyce invested Opportunity Uganda School Improvement loans to expand Batanda Junior School, hire dedicated teachers and construct a residence hall on campus which keeps staff safe and close by to support the kids.  

Today, Batanda Junior School provides students with two nutritious meals daily in addition to an excellent education. Joyce is so confident in the transforming work of her school and her partnership with Opportunity that she is eagerly making plans to double her community impact by opening a second school. She is currently educating 15 orphans and investing in the future of all children, as well as her entire community. 

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Jet Valley Primary School, Uganda
Jet Valley Primary School, Uganda

More than 67 million children worldwide are not in school, including one in four in Africa. Education unlocks and fuels a child's potential as a proven path out of poverty, and Opportunity is putting education into action in Uganda. With your support, Opportunity’s Education Finance initiative is positively impacting schools and students throughout the country where 100,727 children are positively impacted by the program. Some of these students attend Jet Valley Primary School, an Opportunity School Improvement loan client that launched a girls club that embarked on a social enterprise project aimed at having a positive impact on the environment. The students brainstormed to solve issues the school and student body were facing and identified a common desire to address a soil erosion problem that was putting the school compound, its buildings and classrooms at risk of structural issues.

After completing research, they adopted a solution to plant grass and flowers within and surrounding the school compound to provide cover and reduce erosion. The young leaders compiled an action plan and showed excellent teamwork, exhibiting their newly developed confidence as they presented it to school administrators. Club members developed a budget implementing what they had learned in their Planning and Budgeting training to develop a realistic request of $24.88 to purchase seed, fertilizer and gardening equipment. The administrators agreed and the group began demarcating and tiling quadrangles around the school in April 2015 and began planting in June.

The club and school proprietor are quite pleased with the progress and impressed with the new level of pride students are showing in the school. This project and the Planning and Budgeting training the students received gave them a broader understanding about the importance of budgeting and practical plans for putting savings into practice. This holistic approach to education has kept girls in the classroom and helped Jet Valley Primary School improve infrastructure and quality of education for its many students.

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A teacher with students at Real Quality Jr School
A teacher with students at Real Quality Jr School

By investing in education, Opportunity Uganda is keeping children in school and promoting a brighter future. A growing school can permanently alter the socioeconomic reality of a community, creating an “upward spiral” of economic opportunities that provide families with the means to keep kids in school, forever changing the survival prospects of those families.

Real Quality Junior School  in Kampala, Uganda, started out small, but thanks to the hard work of founding couple, Lydia and Antoli, and your support, the school has grown from 50 to 1,200 students. Futures are brighter than ever for students at Real Quality Junior School where parents use Opportunity School Fee loans to keep kids in school when finances are tight. Opportunity Uganda redesigned School Fee loans to support households with uneven cash flows, which has helped farming families that are affected by seasonal cycles that can jeopardize school enrollment. Since 2013, Opportunity Uganda’s School Fee Loan portfolio has grown by 22% with 5,562 active loans as of February 28, 2015. The total value of the loan portfolio is $784,350, which will impact 17,273 students, the most of any Opportunity school fee loan program.

Real Quality Junior School’s impact ripples beyond the students with more than 90 staff jobs and countless more jobs created within the surrounding community. Teachers at Real Quality Junior School are empowered with the right tools to help students succeed—they are inspired to make a lasting difference. And this is just one of more than 1,000 schools you are helping us support globally. 

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Evans with his wife, Roy, and daughter, Luyiga.
Evans with his wife, Roy, and daughter, Luyiga.

2014 was year of collaboration and growth for Opportunity Uganda, which closed the year with active loans to 28,982 entrepreneurs. But loans are only one of the tools Opportunity continues to use to empower people living in extreme poverty.

Opportunity Uganda disbursed $2.8 million in loans to farmers who raise livestock and grow bananas, coffee, cotton, maize and sugarcane. They also collaborated with the Uganda Coffee Farmer Alliance to reach 2,500 coffee farmers and with Joseph Initiative to empower 1,000 maize farmers. A partnership with John Deere also changed the lives of several farmers who have dreamed of owning their own tractors. Opportunity Uganda financed five farmers and another 17 are eagerly awaiting approval for their tractors.

Opportunity Uganda also customized school fee loans for farmer families who earn seasonal income and struggle to keep their children in school between harvests, resulting in a 22% growth in lending over the prior year. Schools themselves were also supported through School Improvement loans which were given to 41 institutions to improve sanitation and build new classrooms. 35,250 students were positively impacted by these school improvements, and the loans helped provide numerous communities with quality educational facilities.

Ridgeway School is one of many schools that has grown as a result of school improvement loans from Opportunity. Evans founded Ridgeway Primary School in 2007 with just 100 students, holding lessons in a dilapidated wooden structure on a rented plot of land. Determined to provide a better environment for his students and his three daughters, Evans obtained a series of Opportunity International loans. As a result of his hard work and passion for education, Evans has built a boarding facility, purchased land and constructed a primary school building serving 915 students. Evans’ dream to educate Ugandan students is evident through his efforts to improve the school which has attracted highly qualified teachers and local families. His goal is to expand the school to 5,000 students and provide students with life skills and computer literacy training before they advance to secondary school.

By supporting the dreams of clients like Evans, Opportunity can empower entrepreneurs to raise themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty.

 

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Organization Information

Opportunity International

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.opportunity.org
Project Leader:
Ian Haisley
Chicago, Illinois United States

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