CHICAGO – September 29, 2015 – Today at the 11th Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City, Opportunity International committed to doubling the impact of its education and agricultural finance initiatives over the next 3 years. Specifically, this will provide 1 million children with a quality, life-changing education through 2,500 loans to new schools and help 250,000 smallholder farmers in Africa and other areas by providing nearly $175 million in loans, savings accounts and extension services.
“We've seen the positive impact that investing in education and farmers have on a family's ability to break the cycle of poverty,” said Vicki Escarra, Global CEO, Opportunity International. “As we work to achieve our goal of creating or sustaining 20 million jobs by 2020, we are investing where we know it will have the greatest potential to transform lives and strengthen families and communities.”
Included in the commitment to education is $25 million for school improvement loans to private school administrators to expand classrooms, hire teachers and improve the overall quality of education delivered to students. Opportunity International will also launch and staff a technical services organization to train school leaders to operate schools more efficiently and effectively. In addition, the commitment will provide $20 million in loans to help 80,000 families pay tuition, buy school supplies and keep their children in school.
Opportunity International has also committed to provide nearly $175 million in loans, savings accounts and extension services to 250,000 smallholder farmers by 2018. Having access to financial services before and during the growing and harvest seasons will enable farmers to save profits and protect against financial hardship between harvests. In addition, rural families will enjoy greater food security as increased cash flow enables them to grow or purchase food.
The focus of Opportunity’s education and agriculture initiatives will be to scale innovation and expand impact in 28 countries. These initiatives are two components of Opportunity International’s program to invest $10 billion in loans, equity and grant funding to provide social entrepreneurs with the capital they need to create jobs and income in their local economies. The organization’s overarching goal is to help clients create 20 million jobs by 2020, which will transform 100 million lives worldwide by improving educational opportunities for youth, enhancing health and hygiene practices, and securing rural livelihoods through agricultural training and support.
ABOUT OPPORTUNITY INTERNATIONAL
Opportunity International is a global non-profit organization that helps people in developing nations work their way out of poverty, transform their lives and strengthen their families and communities. Founded in 1971, the organization has provided more than $9 billion in loans to help clients launch and expand businesses, provide for their children and create jobs in their communities. Today, nearly 12 million people in 28 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, are using an Opportunity International loan, savings account, insurance policy or training to improve their lives. The organization has set a goal of helping clients create 20 million jobs by 2020. More than 94 percent of Opportunity’s loan clients are women who would otherwise not have access to financial services because of legal and cultural gender inequities in many developing nations. The global headquarters of Opportunity International are in Chicago, with other key offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The organization serves clients through a network of more than 20,000 people worldwide. Discover more at opportunity.org
ABOUT THE CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.
In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.
Christina Koliopoulos | Opportunity International | 312.487.5064 | CKoliopoulos@opportunity.org