Empower Mothers in Tanzania with Microloans

by Opportunity International

Opportunity International is, now more than ever, dedicated to supporting entreprenuers in Africa escape poverty.We have strategically decided to close the project, Empower Mothers in Tanzania with Microloans, and roll it into another project of Opportunity International entitled, Providing Microloans for the Poor in Tanzania (4493). We no longer feel that it is necessary to separate our work in this geography into 2 projects and here is why. 

Our clients are really fledgling entrepreneurs who need basic access to one small loan of $150 to set them on a course that is life transforming.  Opportunity provides access to that loan and to savings, additional small business loans, insurance, and training.  With women clients especially, we know that investing in them has an accelerator effect – they will reinvest in their families and their communities to help build stronger futures for everyone. 

Opportunity International invests, one by one, in over five million clients around the world who dare to dream of lifting themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty.  93% of our clients are women.  With a more than 40-year track record, we know that our sustainable, holistic solution just works.

An incredible 98% of our loans are repaid, and we firmly believe this is because of the services we provide our clients, mostly women and mothers, in addition to loans. We provide leadership training, financial coaching, and education on preventative health, communication skills and family management. We deliver a holistic approach to microfinance that helps our clients grow into true entrepreneurs and community leaders who will ultimately pay it forward.Our work gives people options, a new lifeline, at a time when it may seem there is no way out.

It is for this reason that we not longer feel it is necessary to have a project dedicated to women and mothers and a more general one in the same geography. 

Opportunity Client: Maria Mbago
Opportunity Client: Maria Mbago

Maria Mbajo is a single mother working to provide a proper education for her child in Tanzania. When she first became an Opportunity client, she was a street vendor, carrying her products from market to market just hoping to make enough money to survive. Maria used her first Opportunity loan to increase her buying power, which resulted in an immediate increase in her profit margin. She then used subsequent loans to rent a kiosk in a busy market and grow her business. Maria learned the importance of saving and before long she realized her dream to rent a small home near the market.

Today, Maria is investing her fourth loan to increase inventory at her bustling shop. As a member of the Faraja Trust Group, she learned the importance of financial responsibility, and is now a confident in her abilities as a business owner. She says that she is thankful to Opportunity for helping her achieve her dreams. Someday, Maria hopes to purchase a car, but in the meantime, she is delighted that her success has enabled her to send her child to school, something she says may not have happened without Opportunity Tanzania as her business partner.

As a result of your support, Opportunity is helping families in Tanzania work their way out of poverty, finding hope for the first time. With the right tools and financial resources, entrepreneurs like Maria Mbajo no longer need to fear tomorrow. Together, we are empowering women like Maria to take control of their lives, leaving the past behind and looking forward to a promising future.

Continuing its growth trend in 2012, Opportunity Tanzania achieved 18% increase in outreach despite high inflation, closing the year with 8,555 clients with loans. Amidst this time of growth, the team, led by CEO Stanley Tsikirayi, nearly doubled the value of its outstanding loan portfolio plus more than doubled its operational sustainability, an indicator of an increasingly healthier institution. Dedicated staff successfully offered clients support and mentoring, enhanced lending products to more closely match needs and provided targeted training – all through five branches. Additionally, during 2012, Opportunity Tanzania:

  • Developed School Fee and School Improvement loans for 2013 launch.
  • Piloted an Individual loan product in Dar es Salaam and Tengeru branches.
  • Increased mobile phone options for customers: now 10% of loans are disbursed via phone, reducing the risk associated with carrying cash for both clients and loan officers.
  • Conducted financial literacy training for loan officers who later train our clients.
  • Launched financial literacy training DVDs translated into Swahili, covering savings, record keeping and debt management, to clients beginning in January 2013.


As we gather momentum in Tanzania, more parents go to market each day armed with the capital, training and support they need to increase their income and provide for their families. The loans your funding makes possible are delivered through six branches via Opportunity’s core Trust Group model. In addition, Opportunity Tanzania achieved the following:

  •  Nearly doubled its outreach in one year.
  •  Almost tripled its operational sustainability in one year.
  •  30% increase in the value of the outstanding loan portfolio in 2012.
  •  Launched Individual loans and began to develop School Fee and School Proprietor loans.
  •  Transitioned the entire loan portfolio to the newly installed banking system to facilitate the growth of cashless banking in Tanzania.


Having more than doubled our outreach during 2011, Opportunity is thriving in Tanzania because of your partnership. Your giving has a direct impact on our ability to provide the most marginalized entrepreneurs with the tools they need to work their way out of poverty. You are helping us foster transformation through the Opportunity International Trust Group model.

By creating a cycle of change in Tanzania, you offered clients like Naishiye the opportunity to change everything. Naishiye Kivuyo is a member of an Opportunity Kenya Trust Group comprised of widows who operate small businesses in a busy marketplace in Moshi, at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. She raises chickens and sells eggs and vegetables. Starting with just a handful of customers, Naishiye has successfully employed all that she has learned to substantially grow her business to serve 100 families in her village, grossing nearly $30 per day.

With six children to put through school, she is working closely with her loan officer to invest her current loan of $315 and to transition her business to wholesale which will allow her to increase her profit margin even more. Naishiye says she never imagined the impact Opportunity would have on her ability to educate her children and she feels for the first time ever that her dreams are within her reach because of the opportunity she has been given.

Thank you for helping Naishiye provide a better future for her and her children! 



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Organization Information

Opportunity International

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.opportunity.org
Project Leader:
Ally Lynch
Oak Brook, IL United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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