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News Blog

50 for 50: Let’s start at the very beginning

by Laura DesGranges

To begin our 50-year celebration, there is no better place to start than at the beginning. While today we serve 14 million people, the Opportunity International story starts with one.  Long before he was a “client” of ours, Carlos Moreno was one of nearly a million people in Cali, Colombia working desperately to provide for his family. He searched for needs that weren’t being met in his community and noticed an opportunity waiting for him in the spice market. He and his wife began grinding…

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The Pandemics We Don't See

by Atul Tandon

This article was originally published on the Opportunity International blog on December 21, 2020. When The World Food Programme won the Nobel Prize last year, WFP president David Beasley took the increased press and attention to issue a warning: “We are going to have famines of biblical proportions in 2021.” His message is simple but devastating: For those living in extreme poverty, things are going to get worse. The year ahead will be more difficult than the one we have just weathered, and,…

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What We Read in 2020

by Opportunity International

In 2020, as we spent countless hours at home learning new terms like \"sheltering in place\" and \"social distancing\", we found ourselves turning to great books again and again. Reading provided a distraction, an opportunity to learn, and the chance to travel the world right from our couches.  Every month, the Opportunity Book Club reads a book that opens our eyes to more of the world. We choose books written by underrepresented authors; books that share stories from the countries in which we work;…

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Governor Spotlight: Johanna Mahal

by Laura DesGranges

It only took one conversation for Johanna Mahal to be hooked. A friend of her husband David introduced Johanna to Isabelle Finney, VP of Philanthropy at Opportunity, in the Fall of 2019. They sat down for coffee and by the end of their meeting, she had decided to pilot Opportunity’s first Donor Trust Group in the U.S. To be fair, Johanna had a connection with Opportunity from her days as a cabi clothing stylist, thanks to cabi and Opportunity’s long-standing partnership. But she hadn’t dug…

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Ramping up E-Learning During the Pandemic

by Catherine O'Shea and Antonella Abategiovanni

This article originally appeared on edufinance.org on August 14, 2020.  When the global COVID-19 pandemic closed down travel in many countries in March 2020, the EduFinance Technical Assistance team saw an opportunity to support financial institutions that were attempting to rapidly transition to a temporary remote workforce. Recognizing that in-person professional development training for staff would not be possible for an extended period, the team decided to put pilot e-learning modules that…

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Mutually Exacerbating Catastrophes: Responding to the 2020 Gates Goalkeepers Report

by Atul Tandon

Each fall, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation releases their annual Goalkeepers Report. Typically, the report celebrates our collective progress made toward the Sustainable Development Goals—progress that we at Opportunity frequently celebrate, too. Year over year, we have watched the incidence of extreme poverty around the world steadily decrease—from over 37% of the world’s population in 1990 to just under 7% last year. This progress gave us great reason for optimism, and encouraged our…

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Digital Finance in the Wake of COVID-19

by Rosa Wang

The recent report, “People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future,” highlights the importance of digital finance in helping to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and explores how digitalization can be used to support vulnerable people, reduce inequalities, and sustain livelihoods. It notes that a key to transformative impact, especially now, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, is empowering people in their financing activities, especially as savers, borrowers,…

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A Bequest to Last a Lifetime: In Memory of Margaret Aydelotte

by Opportunity International

In 1953, a time when women were still excluded from many colleges and professions, Margaret Walker was making her own way. A London native, she excelled in the sciences and received a scholarship to attend Cambridge University’s Newnham College, where she pursed a degree in zoology and physiology. She stayed at Cambridge for her PhD in physiology, feeding a lifelong passion that would take her across the ocean, across another country, and across a lifetime.  Shortly after receiving her PhD, friends…

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Bringing Affordable Private Schools to the Table

by Atul Tandon and Andrew McCusker

In a recent letter directed to the G20, IMF, World Bank, Regional Development Banks, and national governments, 275 global leaders wrote: “With over one billion children still out of school because of the lockdown, there is now a real and present danger that the public health crisis will create a COVID generation who will lose out on schooling and whose opportunities are permanently damaged. While the more fortunate have had access to alternatives, the world’s poorest children have been locked…

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Nine lives in the world's largest refugee camp

by Opportunity International

As we move into fall, the Opportunity Book Club is turning to a nonfiction book that will open our eyes to the plight of refugees in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. This month, join us this month as we read the incredible stories in City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence. “Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other,” Amazon’s book description reads. “Its buildings are…

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