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News Blog

YAO meets Ken Vander Weele at the Microfinance Club of New York

by Michelle Mak

YAO-NY core member Michelle Mak shares with us this report from last night’s panel at the Microfinance Club of New York. Last night, YAO-New York members (and YAO-Boston visitors) met Ken Vander Weele, the CEO of the Opportunity International Global Leadership Team, at a Microfinance Club of New York panel, “Africa: The Microfinance Landscape.” Ken was part of a panel discussing challenges and opportunities in Africa, along with Donna Katzin (executive director of Shared Interest, a social…

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What YAO is reading: Portfolios of the Poor

by Opportunity International

Last night, at Noble Tree cafe in Lincoln Park, YAO-Chicago held a book discussion for Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day. If you missed it, never fear. There will be more book discussions in YAO‘s future. In fact, we may have a followup to the discussion of Portfolios, a book so seminal that at the Chicago Microfinance Conference in May, Tim Ogden, editor-in-chief of Philanthropy Action, insisted, “If you’re serious about the microfinance industry, you must…

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Crop Insurance: Protecting Farmers Against the Effects of Climate Change

by Opportunity International

A recent UPI wire story, which highlights Opportunity International’s weather-index crop insurance, hails microinsurance as an exciting new tool to help communities in the developing world face the worst impacts of climate change. The article, “Insuring the world’s poor against climate change,” quotes the UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security‘s Koko Warner as saying, “Because of things like location, education and life expectancy, the world’s poor are a lot more…

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Saying Good-Bye to the People of Uganda

by Alexandra Arch

Today we have entered the town of Jinja. After heavy overnight rains, the central market offers us a muddy, puddle-jumping adventure. Stalls overflowing with fruits, vegetables, clothing, music and more are stacked one on top of another in an attempt to avoid the mud. The colors of the stalls and their contents are as vibrant as the smells are potent. Our mission is to find the businesses owned by members of the local Trust Group. Our first stop is the stall owned by a soft-spoken seamstress who…

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Opportunity International’s MicroEnsure Named Runner-up

by Opportunity International

Congratulations to Opportunity International’s subsidiary MicroEnsure, which has been named runner-up for the 2010 Financial Times Sustainable Banking Award for Banking at the Base of the Pyramid. MicroEnsure was recognized for its successful health insurance product serving the low-income market in India. This was the first product in India to provide coverage for maternity and pre-existing illnesses from the first day of the policy and allows premiums to be paid in flexible installments. The…

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Don’t Miss the Chance to See Microfinance Work Firsthand in Tanzania

by Opportunity International

“It was exciting to see how quickly Opportunity is growing in Tanzania. We met so many of its inspiring clients when we visited — real people working hard to improve their lives.” -YAO member and 2009 Insight Trip participant Anne Edwardson On September 4-11, 2010, Young Ambassadors for Opportunity (YAO) will offer a unique opportunity to see microfinance work on the ground in Tanzania. Take part in the Tanzania Insight Trip and you will: Immerse yourself in the microfinance work of Opportunity,…

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Getting to the Source: Meeting Ugandan Farmers and the Nile River

by Alexandra Arch

The events of the day center on getting to the source. Not only did we trace the chain of coffee production back to the very farmer who planted the seed, but we also arrived at the source of the famed Nile River. Moving out of the city of Kampala, Uganda and into the rural area of Kalagi, about 90 minutes away, we trade traffic for slow-going country roads. Our bus plods down rich red dirt roads, weaving through unruly greenery, tamed in areas by farmers who planted patches of coffee or maize, the…

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Food & Microfinance: Helping Farmers Reap Rewards

by Opportunity International

Opportunity International is prominently featured in an article entitled “Food & Microfinance: Helping Farmers Reap Rewards” in today’s Financial Times. The article highlights Opportunity’s leadership in providing both agricultural finance and microinsurance to smallholder farmers to help them increase production, support their families and feed their communities. It also references “Feed the Future,” USAID’s new global hunger and food security initiative. John Magnay, agricultural…

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UN Secretary-General Visits Opportunity Malawi Mobile Bank

by Opportunity International

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Opportunity Malawi’s mobile bank in the UN Millennium Village of Mwandama on Sunday, May 30. “The secretary-general took time to talk with one of our customers who had just made a deposit. She had her smart card [bank card using biometric technology] in her hand and explained how she uses the card to access her secure savings account,” said Alefa Mtunga, manager of Opportunity Malawi’s southern region. Opportunity Malawi’s staff and clients in Mwandama…

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A Closer Look: Opportunity’s Work in Colombia

by Opportunity International

Opportunity International’s very first loan was made in Colombia in 1975. Since then, Opportunity Colombia has been working to provide stable financial systems to reduce unemployment, social unrest and violence in the country. And it’s working to become a national-scale bank offering loans, savings, insurance and training to Colombians living in poverty. Opportunity Colombia’s current initiatives: • Launching a full-service, commercial bank in Colombia • Partnering with Compassion International…

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