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Conference Breakout: Engaging the Next Generation of Microfinance Champions

By Sonja Egeland Kelly

The following post by YAO member and Opportunity supporter Sonja Egeland Kelly is one of the many blog posts we published from the 2010 Fall Microfinance ConferenceClick here to read all our conference blog posts…

Recognizing the importance of inspiring the next generation of microfinance champions, thehttp://www.opportunity.org/young-ambassadors-for-opportunity/Young Ambassadors for Opportunity (YAO)[/intlink] breakout session at the Microfinance Conference emphasized inspiring, educating, and involving young people in the fight against poverty.

The session began with YAO founder Liesel Pritzker and YAO core team member Brian Zakrocki explaining the origins of YAO.

YAO-LA members, including Alison Oviedo (far right), ran the L.A. Mud Run on Aug. 21 to raise funds for Tanzania.

“We realized that Opportunity international is an amazing organization, and started a discussion on how to engage young people. We came up with ‘Young Ambassadors for Opportunity,’ and here we are today,” said Zakrocki.

“We want to inspire, educate and involve a younger generation in the transformational work of microfinance,” said Pritzker.

Alison Oviedo, member of the YAO-LA core team, discussed specifically the chapter activities of YAO, centered around raising funds for one of Opportunity’s partners in Africa, especially YAO’s bank-building initiatives in Tanzania. “Across the U.S., all the YAO members are doing fundraising for Tanzania, and are making a difference,” she said. Oviedo herself ran the L.A. Mud Run in Pasadena in August, raisin $225 money for Tanzania through OptINnow.


Jump for Opportunity is an initiative organized by YAO member Jason Duff.

Both current and prospective YAO members attended the session to learn how they could get involved with grassroots efforts to inspire social change and reduce the impact of global poverty.

Jason Duff introduced an exciting upcoming event in February 2011 called “Jump for Opportunity” in Orlando, Fla. ”Those of you who are thinking of how you can take the next step,” said Duff, “we are doing a tandem skydiving event, building on the energy and excitement that we have developed this weekend.” Jason’s vision is for YAO members to raise funds for Tanzania, stepping out of their comfort zone on behalf of those living in poverty.

To learn more about the Jump for Opportunity initiative, go tojumpforopportunity.com. And to get involved with YAO, check outopportunity.org/yao.

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