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© 2022 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit. EIN: 540907624.

News Blog

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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Audacious Relationships: How leaning into one another is the path to doing great things

by Syd Ryan, Co-Founder & Chief Culture Officer of cabi

I will always remember the moment Atul Tandon stood on stage at our cabi conference and told us it was possible for extreme poverty to end within our lifetime. This felt impossible. As he continued, he painted a picture of united groups of people rallied around this goal, sharing benchmarks of decade by decade decreases in those dangerously below the poverty line. My skepticism faded quickly as hope rushed in like a flood. I love an audacious goal and this one felt deeply important and meaningful…

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Of Baseball, Faith, and Legacy: Jerry Zamzow

by Kelli Walker

Jerry Zamzow has been a Houston Astros season ticket holder since 1986. Not long after that, he met his mentor, friend, and fellow Opportunity supporter Dick Hoefs at St. Martins Lutheran Church in Houston. As any diehard baseball knows, faith and baseball--not to mention patience and humility--are inextricably linked. Mr. Hoefs, former Opportunity board chair and longtime donor prior to his passing, introduced Jerry to Opportunity’s work to end extreme poverty. Jerry exemplifies what it means…

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A novel fit for fall

by Allison Kooser

As the weather begins to cool and leaves litter the ground, all we want to do is pour a warm drink, grab a blanket, and curl up with a great book. And in the fall, we often find ourselves reaching for novels—fictional stories that remind us of what’s true. This month, the Opportunity Book Club is reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Purple Hibiscus tells the story of teenage siblings in Nigeria—children who have a seemingly wonderful life but whose secrets are tearing them apart.…

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Graduation is just the beginning: Ultra-poverty in Malawi

by Allison Kooser

In the capital city of Lilongwe, Malawi, there is an airport. Flights arrive, day in and day out, from across Africa and around the world. You can leave your home in Chicago or Seattle or Dallas or Washington DC, and after 25, or 38, or 41 hours—there is no fast way to get there—you would arrive in Malawi, a small, landlocked country in southeast Africa. Upon leaving the airport, you start driving south and quickly realize that the “city” of Lilongwe is not a city as you might have imagined…

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