Agnes Kisandala, one of the first clients in DRC
The Impact of your Support: Side by Side in DR Congo
Opportunity DRC launched its first branch in January 2011, and a second in May. Opportunity DRC finished 2011 serving 4,455 clients living in the capital city of Kinshasa in its first year of operation. In December, the staff had to cease lending due to the threat of political violence and macroeconomic challenges related to the presidential elections, but resumed normal operations in March 2012.
Businesses are growing and becoming profitable. Many clients have successfully repaid their first loan and are
investing their second. All clients undergo extensive, targeted financial literacy and transformative holistic life-skills training. Looking ahead, Opportunity DRC plans to:
- open its third branch in Kinshasa in June and reach 15,000 loan clients by the end
- offer savings – the application submitted in March 2011 encountered unexpected political delays;
- expand beyond Trust Group loans, adding Small Group, Individual and School Fee loans.
New Happenings: Opportunity DR Congo opens in Gambela market
In May 2011 Opportunity opened the doors in the Gambela marketplace area of Kinshasa with the launch of its second branch. Building refurbishment is complete, IT equipment and systems are configured and installed and communications are live. Other Gambela branch highlights include:
- Serving 822 clients with loans and a lending portfolio of $150,000.
- 66% of loans in Gambela are distributed to women.
- Opportunity DRC strategically placed its branches in large marketplaces – Masina, on Kinshasa’s southeast side, and Gambela, near the city’s center.
- Gambela clients received training on infectious disease prevention and management in conjunction with the local hospital. Response was excellent with clients commenting that other micro-finance institutions do not offer training opportunities.
- More than 1,000 pair of shoes and book bags have been distributed to clients through a partnership with Samaritan’s Feet.
By the end of 2012, Opportunity expects to achieve the following in Gambela:
- Launch 100 new Trust Groups
- Achieve portfolio of 2,500 active loan clients
- Disburse $400,000 in loans
- Launch savings products when deposit-taking license is secured
As we reach the one-year milestone of making a difference in the DR Congo, we celebrate the lasting change that has been created. Entrepreneurs have been empowered to reach their potential, and you have helped provide the tools they need to succeed.