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News Blog

5 Books We Loved in 2022

by Allison Kooser

There’s nothing quite like exploring the world through the pages of great novels, memoirs, and stories. Every month, the Opportunity International Book Club expands our minds, perspectives, and understanding as we dive into a new book—and we are so grateful to read alongside friends around the globe. As author Jhumpa Lahiri famously said, “That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” We couldn’t agree more. As we step into a new year, we’re looking back…

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Waymaker Wednesday: Blanca

by Opportunity International

I met the father of my children. When I started a life with him, he began abusing me. He would hit, kick, and beat me. He would always say, “You will need me. You cannot live without me because a woman cannot live alone.” All those ideas had taken over in my head. I used to say, “It’s true. A woman needs a partner.” Today I feel completely different. Women can survive on their own. As long as you keep your eye on the goal that you have decided to fight for, you will get there. I am the…

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Listening and Learning: Community Economic Development in Nicaragua

by Allison Kooser

In the late 1980s, professors at Northwestern University proposed a new method of economic development. The premise was simple: What if we started with what a community had, instead of what it lacked? What if we leveraged a neighborhood’s existing skills, resources, institutions, partnerships, and people to advance the greater good? What might be possible if we centered our strategies on communities’ assets? Historically, economic development programs relied upon outside factors and third-party…

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End the year with a memoir

by Allison Kooser

When the weather gets colder and the sun sets earlier and earlier each evening, we find ourselves reaching for enthralling stories—novels and epics that we can cozy up with and get lost in. This month’s Opportunity Book Club selection transports us through time and place, charting decades throughout history and across countries. This December, join us as we read The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War by Gioconda Belli. Belli grew up as part of Nicaragua’s upper class, living…

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Empowering the Next Generation

by Andrina Schwartz

With over half its people under the age of 18, Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world. According to UNICEF, the number of children, adolescents, and youth is expected to increase to over 75 million by 2080. Harnessing the potential, drive, and energy of these young generations presents an incredible opportunity. It also promises to strain the education system and intensify the need for quality jobs. How can we help ensure that young people have access to the resources and the financial…

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Planting Seeds of Hope: Supporting Smallholder Farmers in Rwanda

by Allison Kooser

In agricultural communities, every seed planted is a symbol of possibility. This harvest could be the one that helps my family grow our savings. I might earn enough to send all of my children to school this year. These vegetables will keep my family nourished and healthy—and maybe now we won’t have to worry about going hungry. At the same time, farming is inherently risky. Crops are fragile and environmental disruptions can impact a harvest in a moment. A storm can knock out months of work, and…

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Think fast! (Or think slow!)

by Allison Kooser

Research shows that each of us makes more than 35,000 decisions a day. What do we want to wear today? Should we go through that yellow light? When should I make a job switch? Our brains are constantly making choices, big and small.In his bestselling book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, psychologist Daniel Kahneman dives into the two ways our brains handle the decisions in front of us:System 1 thinking is when we go with our gut. We make fast, emotional choices in the moment. System 2 thinking is much…

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Portrait of a Waymaker Goes on the Road

by Destinee Johnson

The term “waymaker” describes our clients who are entrepreneurs, parents, and leaders living in extreme poverty while working every day to create a better future for their families and their communities for generations to come. In December 2021, Opportunity’s first immersive art experience Portrait of a Waymaker made its debut as a virtual art gallery featuring 10 illuminating portraits accompanied by narration from our clients and our field experts. If you haven’t explored this amazing virtual…

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Context Matters: Expanding EduFinance to Ethiopia

by Allison Kooser

In business, science, economics, and even relationships, there is an oft-quoted expression that shapes so much of what we do: context matters. Put simply, it means that the space (or time, or circumstances) in which something operates impacts how the thing works. A great idea for a 15-year-old might not work for a 5-year-old. Best practices from 20 years ago might be irrelevant today. And a program that thrives in Nicaragua might be a total flop in Nigeria. Being able to evaluate and respond to a…

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Passport to Opportunity: Uganda

by Erin Doherty

“An opportunity can change a life forever. I’ve seen it happen countless times with my own eyes. Now I want you to see it too.”–Alice Lajwa, host of the Virtual Insight Trip to Uganda On September 25, Opportunity International embarked on our second annual virtual Insight Trip—this time to Uganda. Our tour guide, Alice Lajwa, who works directly with those we serve, took us on a journey to better understand the challenges our neighbors around the world face and how we can help create opportunities…

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