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News Blog

Growing Beyond the Field: Malawi Graduation

by Joe Dutra

Many kilometers outside of Blantyre, Malawi, over 300 people came together outside of a rural school to honor the 103 women who completed their 2-year program. Complete with workforce and finance trainings, connections to social support, and direct resource transfers—the clients of our ultra-poverty graduation (UPG) program have been able to build sustainable livelihoods based on the needs of their families and communities. The women of this program started off making less than $1 a day, struggling…

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Kili Quest: Eradicating Poverty One Step at a Time

by Kelli Walker

Renee Lane and her daughter, Jacquelyn, turn their deep faith into action that lifts up everyone they meet. Guided by grace, gratitude, humility, service, and stewardship, Renee and Jacquelyn are preparing to scale a literal mountain to raise awareness, funds, and hope for families living in the deepest poverty in Malawi. Dr. Gary and Renee Lane raised their three children in Colorado. Dr. Gary and Renee, who has her MS, RN, and ANP, are well-known in their town of Pueblo, not only for their medical…

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Reaching Refugees

by Kelli Walker

Bitalie Biamo uses her sewing machine in her workshop in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Uganda (Photo Credit: Kate Holt / Opportunity International) Our vision is a world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose. Opportunity International vision Global Refugee Population The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that there were over 108.4 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2022, of whom 35.3 million were refugees,…

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Staff Spotlight: Mauricio Rincon

by Joe Dutra

What turns a Wall Street banker into an international development advocate? One word: passion. Mauricio Rincon’s life is made up of unique juxtapositions. His grandparents were smallholder farmers, but they moved to the city to build a new life. He spent most of his time in college in the economics department—but found his real passion on the streets of Ciudad Bolivar, the largest slum of his native Bogota, building an education-oriented nonprofit organization with his friends. He spent most…

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Staff Spotlight: Bhahati Zimba

by Tonthalell Walters

Bhahati Zimba, one whose life embodies the essence of hope for smallholder farming families. With over a decade of experience in agriculture finance, Bhahati has devoted herself to empowering these families with the tools and support they need to have profitable farms so they can feed their families and send their children to school. After completing her education in General Agricultural Extension, she embarked on her journey in 2005 as an Agriculture Extension Worker with the Ministry of Agriculture…

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Governor Spotlight: Smith Family

by Kelli Walker

Bruce and Janey Smith live with their two children outside of Washington, DC, near Bruce’s parents, Gordon and Helen Smith. The Smith family connected with Opportunity International about 25 years ago and continue to be loyal, committed, and active supporters. Left to right: The Smith family: Nihl, Janey, Bruce, Lillian Bruce’s father, Gordon, owned a savings and loan bank in Virginia that led to his involvement in opening banking operations in the Philippines in the 2000’s. Gordon spent a…

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The Heart of Our Work: Opportunity International Clients

by Kelli Walker

Mukyala Janat Wabika Justine is a farmer based in Buyala Jinja district, Uganda. She is 37 years old; she and her husband have five children. Janat had the desire and will to grow her harvest; she needed to learn best agricultural practices and have access to financial resources. In 2019, she participated in local agricultural training, learning better farming methods. She ventured into horticulture, growing cabbages and nakati (also known as bitter tomato, Ethiopian eggplant, garden eggs, or pumpkin-on-a-stick).…

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When Women are Empowered, Everyone Benefits

by Simona Haiduc

Women's economic empowerment isn't just a humanitarian effort—it is essential to the growth of strong, prosperous communities worldwide. When systemic barriers are removed, and resources are accessible, women can become truly unstoppable agents of change in their communities. They drive economic growth, provide jobs, and reinvest in their children's education and healthcare. More importantly, tearing down gender barriers to markets is a viable business strategy that can uplift millions. According…

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“It is for the children that we make these improvements” – School Leader reflections on USAID CATALYZE EduFinance impact

by CATALYZE EduFinance

Mr. Nzibonera had overcrowded classrooms at his school in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Ms. Claribel was trying to do all the work herself to run her school in the Dominican Republic. Leaders of a school in Guatemala that educates learners with hearing impairments were struggling with the school’s financial management. In Zambia, a lack of financing options limited Ms. Stella’s plans to invest in her dream school. Each of these low-fee private schools faced challenges. But, these…

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Governor Spotlight: Lauren Beard

by Kelli Walker

If you spend any time with Lauren Beard, you’ll find yourself joyfully swept up in her forward-moving, passionate energy. Opportunity International is fortunate to be in Lauren’s purposeful orbit; she is a vocal advocate and generous supporter of creating sustainable change in the lives of people living in poverty. Last October, she raised almost $23,000 to support The Rise, Opportunity’s program to reach women in Malawi. Growing up, Lauren and her family lived in several different states,…

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