HOW WE'RE RESPONDING
As the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic reaches developing countries, our clients and their children—some of the most vulnerable people in the world—are suffering. With economic activity shut down, families living on day-to-day income from their small businesses are now unable to put food on the table. Their small savings accounts are being rapidly depleted, and hunger is now a more imminent threat than even the virus.
We have pivoted to focus on keeping our clients and partners afloat: they must survive today before they can thrive tomorrow. In this unprecedented time, our goal is to make sure clients stay safe, partners stay protected, schools stay open, and financial partners stay afloat.
To support clients, we are:
- Vigorously sharing information about the virus with clients and training them on preventative health and hygiene information
- Continuing lending and restructuring loan repayments, where possible
- Promoting digital financial services and mobile money apps so clients can bank from home
- Providing new curriculums for school leaders to help them keep their schools open and keep children learning at home
- Intervening to help farmers get their crops to buyers
To support partners, we are:
- Offering special assistance to agent bankers so they can stay afloat to register new customers and disburse emergency loans, if needed
- Putting portfolio monitoring and risk management measures in place
- Developing new offerings for education-focused financial institution partners
- Disbursing emergency cash grants when needed
To support staff, we are:
- Supplying protective equipment and sanitizer for field staff
- Canceling all non-essential travel
- Asking non-essential staff to work from home
Opportunity and our partners are responding quickly to ensure that clients stay healthy and critical banking services continue to be available. Read and watch more below.
COVID-19 Rapid Response: Digital Financial Services
Join us for a time of connection and community as we hear from our field experts on the role technology is playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opportunity International and COVID-19
March 25, 2020
Webinar: COVID-19 Rapid Response
Opportunity's U.S. Board Chair LeAnn Pope interviewed CEO Atul Tandon and Africa Regional Director Tineyi Mawocha about the effects of the coronavirus on our clients. Learn how COVID-19 has impacted communities in Africa—and what our team is doing to prepare.
May 14, 2020
by Sam Bickersteth and Deborah Foy, Opportunity International
The following post was originally published on LinkedIn on May 12, 2020. It was written by Sam Bickersteth and Deborah Foy are respectively Chief Executive and Senior Advisor of Opportunity International UK. The COVID-19 crisis has already hit the poor hard, and will hit them harder. Microfinance Institutions are close to affected groups and provide an essential lifeline - but are themselves under threat as deposits fall and the poor struggle with repayments. Supporting the financial institutions…
April 28, 2020
by Atul Tandon
Amid so much darkness, there are small glimmers of light. Because of you, families who could have already crumbled under the economic shock caused by COVID-19 have some safety – a chance to survive, rebuild, and thrive once again. More than 12 million families have savings accounts, 5.7 million have access to digital banking, and all have local Opportunity staff who care deeply about their wellbeing. I think about clients like Linda Nyarko in Ghana, a woman who has inspired me and so many others.…
April 27, 2020
by Atul Tandon
As we all learn to navigate the health, economic, and social changes caused by COVID-19, I find myself thinking often of our clients and neighbors living in extreme poverty. The reality for those living on less than $2 a day is unimaginable—without access to clean water and sanitation, already limited economic opportunities, and notably absent healthcare infrastructure, Opportunity clients are bracing for disaster. This is especially true in my home country of India, where the government-mandated…
Education Finance and COVID-19
April 15, 2020
Webinar: COVID-19 Rapid Response: Education Finance
Opportunity’s Head of Education Finance, Andrew McCusker, and Head Education Specialist from East Africa, Robinah Zawedde, discussed the impact of COVID-19 on education around the world and how we are pivoting to provide services during this critical time.
March 31, 2020
by Opportunity Edufinance
It started with just a handful of school closures in countries where we operate. Within 48 hours, we were faced with nationwide school closures in all eight countries due to COVID-19 prevention and containment measures. UNESCO consolidated information on COVID-19's global impact on education, with statistics that were hard to fathom. 165 countries with nationwide school closures affecting more than 1.5 billion learners 87% of the global learner population enrolled at the start of March is suddenly…
Agriculture Finance and COVID-19
May 6, 2020
Webinar: COVID-19 Rapid Response: Agriculture Finance
Opportunity’s Head of Agriculture Finance Tim Strong was joined by Isaac Gyesi, who leads agribusiness in Ghana, to discuss how farmers are coping with the pandemic and what their teams are doing to keep activity going so we don't miss this critical harvest season.
April 28, 2020
by Heather Kaczrowski
The Lifeline of Africa | What They Face | Opportunity's Response At the start of the lockdown in Illinois, I went to the grocery store. For the first time, I found myself anxious about food supply for my household and thinking through the ramifications of a crisis. For the first time, while walking through the aisles, I realized my fleeting feelings were just a fragment of the vulnerability and uncertainty that so many families around the world endure every day of their lives. Unlike so many of…
Technology, DFS, and COVID-19
March 31, 2020
Webinar: COVID-19 and Technology
Atul Tandon joined George Sifakis, Global CEO of Ideagen, and Charu Adesnik, Deputy Director of the Cisco Foundation, on LinkedIn Live for a conversation about how Opportunity International and our partners are responding to COVID-19.
Rapid Response Fund: Survive to Thrive
Your gift will fund critical needs to keep clients and partners afloat so they can survive the pandemic today and once again thrive tomorrow. Will you join us in our rapid response efforts?