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News Blog

School Loans, Job Creation, and the Advancement of Low-Income Communities

by Nathan Byrd, Head of Education Finance

The following post was originally posted on and can be found here. In a new third-party analysis of 94 Ugandan schools accessing Opportunity EduFinance loans, the resulting school growth created an average of 18.6 additional jobs within the community. How Schools Expand When a school builds new classrooms, dormitories and other infrastructure, the school requires more staff to manage these facilities including teachers, dorm monitors, security guards, and cooks among others. When a…

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Nicaragua Field Update

by Lauren Thorn

Opportunity works to provide sustainable economic opportunities in Nicaragua, but what does that mean for our clients exactly, many of whom are smallholder farmers? Agriculture is one of Nicaragua's largest industries and yet the practices and materials most farmers use are outdated and hinder their production. Yucca is the main crop grown by small farmers, but without access to technical support and profitable markets, most farmers sell yucca at local markets at low prices and struggle to earn a…

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Teach Your Kids to Give Well

by Allison Kooser

I’ve learned many things from my parents. How to swim, book a plane ticket, bake a pie and ride a bike. How to read and write and update a resume. They taught me how to manage my personal finances, even when there wasn’t much to manage. And perhaps most importantly of all, they taught me how to give. These days, philanthropy is trendy and newsworthy and always on the cutting edge. New, effective initiatives like impact investing and holistic community development are not only changing the face…

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Opportunity Bank Serbia (OBS) Receives a Social Rating of “A” from MicroFinanza

by Vicki Escarra, Global CEO

Client Bogoljub Djurdevoic and Opportunity Bank Serbia Client Advisor Danka Mlinar. I'm pleased to share great news regarding Opportunity Bank Serbia. MicroFinanza Rating (MFR), the widely respected global microfinance rating agency, has given Opportunity Bank Serbia a social rating of \"A,\" up from \"A-\" two years ago following the last assessment. The \"A\" rating confirms the bank has \"good social performance management and client protection systems\" and a \"social mission likely to be achieved.\"…

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Vote for Nathan Byrd to Speak at SXSW Eco

by Lauren Thorn

Opportunity International has nominated Nathan Byrd, our Head of Education Finance, to speak at South by Southwest Eco (SXSW Eco), a space for business leaders, investors, innovators and designers to drive economic, environmental and social change. We hope that you will help Nathan’s presentation, \"Entrepreneurship in Education: Real Access for All,\" secure a spot on SXSW Eco’s final event roster. All you need to do is follow these 3 easy steps!  Create an account on SXSW Panel Picker by using…

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Creating Sustainable Futures on the International Day of Families

by Lauren Thorn

Maya Angelou once said, “I sustain myself with the love of family.” If love of family sustains us, what sustains a family? Families everywhere have the same dreams for their children: to achieve a happy, healthy and successful future, and parents are the foundation to nurturing these dreams. They give their children intangibles like guidance, love and support to fulfill their goals, but oftentimes they struggle to give their children tangible things to sustain them like food, education and healthcare.…

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What A Gift!

by Lydia Baldridge Meier

I got an email last night alerting me that my husband had created a patch for me on Opportunity’s Mother’s Day Quilt. I’ve worked for Opportunity for 12 years, and have always loved the way Mother’s Day is particularly meaningful to the work we do to empower mothers and fathers to provide for their families. But in recent years, since I’ve become a mother myself, my inspiration has redoubled. Knowing how I’d move heaven and earth for my two kids, I can better understand why our clients…

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To you, superhero moms – thank you.

by Allison Kooser

As a writer for Opportunity International (one of the best jobs on the planet), I have spent years writing variations of the phrase “Opportunity empowers women to create bright futures for their children.” I interviewed clients who spoke about their greatest hopes for the future; women who always, always, without fail, said that their number one goal was to give their children possibilities that they might not have had themselves. I told the story that mothers want their children to be able to…

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The Power of MicroFinance on Educating Children in the Developing World

by Opportunity International

Opportunity's Head of Education Finance, Nathan Byrd, spoke with The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 about microfinance and its role in expanding access to education in the developing world. Our client, Comfort, also shared her story about how she started her own school in Ghana, which inspired her daughter, Priscilla, to do the same.

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A Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda

by Beth Kieffer Leonard

Beth recently traveled on an Insight Trip to Rwanda and graciously shared about her experience after visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. Rwanda changed my life (and not just because of the gorillas, although that was part of it). With the specter of the Holocaust a permanent part of my psyche since reading Elie Wiesel's Night when I was 10 years old, genocide's horror has always been just below the surface for me. For years, I tried to discover how the world could turn its back on human…

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