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© 2021 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit. EIN: 540907624.

50 Weeks of Opportunity

Each week for the next 50 weeks, we will share a piece of Opportunity’s history—major or minor, sobering or inspiring, we have gotten where we are today by facing some of the world’s greatest challenges, with you by our side. Please join us in celebrating the many impactful moments that have built the foundation on which we will embark on our most audacious vision yet: ending extreme poverty.

50 for 50: 7 Facts about our progress out of poverty

by Opportunity International

Opportunity International has spent 50 years learning what clients need to break the cycle of poverty. Through innovative solutions that help families build sustainable livelihoods, farmers improve their yields, and children go to school, we have been part of a global movement to reduce extreme poverty—a movement that has seen remarkable progress since our founding in 1971. This weekend as we celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we are looking back at just how far we’ve…

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50 for 50: The Earliest Trust Groups

by Susy Cheston with Alexis Beggs Olsen

This essay is a selection from the special edition of UnPoverty by Mark Lutz. The new edition will release this fall in celebration of Opportunity International’s 50th Anniversary, featuring new chapters from leaders throughout Opportunity’s history. The small squatter community was carved into a barren hillside in Soyapango, near the capital city of El Salvador. I was inching my 20-year-old car along, bottoming out on the deeply rutted roads, searching for a group of poor women who I had heard…

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50 for 50: The Power of Digital Finance

by Simona Haiduc and Robinah Zawedde

This essay is a selection from the special edition of UnPoverty by Mark Lutz. The new edition will release this fall in celebration of Opportunity International’s 50th Anniversary, featuring new chapters from leaders throughout Opportunity’s history. The economic landscape of Africa is changing because women like Stella, Millie and Charity are starting and sustaining their own microenterprises. Stella Msambachikho is an entrepreneur in Malawi who sells clothing and accessories in a market. She…

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50 for 50: Revisiting the Sustainable Development Goals

by Allison Kooser

In 2015, 193 countries committed to 17 ambitious goals—goals designed to promote and measure progress toward equity and development worldwide. These goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were a renewed vision by the United Nations following 2000’s Millennium Development Goals and provide a global benchmark for critical, sustainable progress. Achieving them will require the commitment and creativity of nations and organizations alike, and the 169 targets outlined within the…

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50 for 50: Exploring the Graduation Model

by Carine Roenen and Steven Werlin

This essay is a selection from the special edition of UnPoverty by Mark Lutz. The new edition will release this fall in celebration of Opportunity International’s 50th Anniversary, featuring new chapters from leaders throughout Opportunity’s history. When we first met Elda, she was living in ultra-poverty. She had two children and no income. But a lack of income does not adequately describe the deprivations and dangers that families living in ultra-poverty face. Many are unable to send their…

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50 for 50: The Role of Biometrics in Financial Inclusion

by Opportunity International

On International Women’s Day 2011, Opportunity International launched its “Banking on Women” Campaign, an initiative designed to build awareness of the transformative impact of financial services on women’s empowerment. Among its multiple education and fundraising elements, the campaign described the latest innovations related to increasing financial accessibility, one of which was biometric technology.  A few years earlier, in 2003, we had opened the Opportunity International Bank of Malawi…

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50 for 50: Catalyst Award - Janelle Lassonde

by Opportunity International

As Opportunity International was first piloting its Education Finance programs, Janelle Lassonde served on the steering committee for the Banking on Africa campaign—helping us grow our footprint in a new region and establish banking infrastructure that would allow clients to not only borrow, but also save. Leveraging her professional experience as a banker in sub-Saharan Africa, Janelle brought a depth of wisdom and insight to this pivotal campaign. As she learned more about Opportunity’s goals…

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50 for 50: Trailblazer Award - Nathan Byrd

by Opportunity International

In May 2012, Opportunity International hired Nathan Byrd, a talented young leader who had previously served as Director of Operations for the International Rescue Committee in Kabul, Afghanistan, and VP of Strategic Development at Covenant House, to serve as the new head of Opportunity’s Education Finance program.  At the time, Education Finance was a small pilot program—and Nathan was tasked with designing both our strategy and the necessary financial tools to help more children access quality…

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50 for 50: History of the Governors

by Opportunity International

Opportunity International’s Board of Governors is a dynamic community of people who care deeply about a world in which all people can achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose. As we celebrate Opportunity’s 50th anniversary, we are looking back at the history of the Governors—and the incredible people who have led and shaped this community over the years. 1987 - Gathering the Governors In 1987, one of Opportunity’s seminal founders, the late Dave Hardin, gathered a group…

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50 for 50: Looking Back at Youth Programs

by Opportunity International

In 2019, 16% of the world’s population was made up of youth (individuals aged 15-24). By stark contrast Africa, nearly 75% of the population is under the age of 35. And in the world’s poorest countries, the United Nations estimates that the population of youth will grow by 62% in the next 30 years.We have a chance to help stop the cycle of generational poverty so that the next generation can thrive.Opportunity International is committed to providing educational, financial, and vocational opportunities…

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