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News Blog

Strong Women: The Heart of Community in Kampala, Uganda

by Cynthia Greenwood

I woke up today, on the eve of International Women’s Day, thinking about the remarkable women clients I met on a recent trip to Kampala to visit Opportunity Uganda’s operations.  For me, these women give new meaning to the words “hardworking,” “committed,” “brave,” and “strong.” Opportunity Loan Officer Charity Namutebi works out of the Kira Branch inKampala, Uganda’s capital city. Charity, just 27 years old, serves 455 clients in 20 Trust Groups. She encourages…

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Gaining Insight into Women Worldwide

by Marisa Brown

An important component of celebrating International Women’s Day is being aware of and recognizing the difficulties and challenges women still face daily around the world. Opportunity International believes you can even take the common cliché “think globally, act locally” and apply it to this day. We plan on doing this for our in-office International Women’s Day event on March 8. We also realize the significance of thinking globally and acting globally, which is why we’re using…

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Celebrate International Women’s Day with “Half the Sky”

by Ian Haisley

One way you can celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 is to begin reading the book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Late last year, Julie Hindmarsh, a leader in the Women’s Opportunity Network (WON) of Opportunity International, suggested that WON host a “Half the Sky” book reading with members and staff. Here are some of the comments from the ensuing discussion. “There is hope, even amidst all the evil…

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International Women’s Day: Coming Together to Recognize and Celebrate

by Marisa Brown

International Women’s Day is about coming together to recognize and celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women all around the world. On this global day of celebration, it’s important to focus on the individual stories of women who show resilience, strength and courage each and every day. Opportunity International works with these very same women. With determination, knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit and courage, plus the support of microfinance services, these women transform…

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International Women’s Day: What it is/why we celebrate…and more

by Ruth-Anne Renaud

Have you heard of International Women’s Day? Do you know much about the history or significance of this day?  Although the official date is Monday, March 8, we will be contributing posts this week on everything from the history of International Women’s Day to how it relates to the microfinance services that Opportunity International provides to clients worldwide (85% of whom are women). Let’s start with a brief history of International Women’s Day. It  first emerged at the turn of the…

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Opportunity Partners with Two Dollar Challenge: Student Program Makes Poverty a Reality

by Amy Carol Wolff

Opportunity International is pleased to announce our partnership withTwo Dollar Challenge (TDC), an organization based out of the University of Mary Washington (UMW) in Fredericksburg, Va. The program, where students live or eat on just $2 per day for one week, raises money for Opportunity Trust Groups in Kenya and Colombia through our peer-to-peer lending website,OptINnow. This initiative gives students the chance to make a personal connection with Opportunity’s clients, learning more about…

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Gates and Mastercard Foundations Partner with Opportunity International

by Opportunity International

In an effort to reach people living in poverty in rural areas, Opportunity International has researched and implemented new products and platforms such as mobile banking, savings services, agricultural finance, cell phone banking, education finance and much more. Because they believe in Opportunity International’s innovative model, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation are partnering with Opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa, where less than 10 percent have access…

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Ask a Microfinance Expert: Developing a Cost-Benefit Analysis Tool

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

Microfinance practitioners and microfinance enthusiasts alike agree that the sustainability of microfinance institutions hinges on the success of cost-benefit analysis. Opportunity’s Director of Knowledge Management Estelle Berger recently produced a report on this very topic. She worked with the SEEP Network and USAID to capture and record Opportunity’s experience with developing a cost-benefit analysis tool in both Mozambique and Malawi. Estelle took an in-depth look at the tool’s design…

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Opportunity International Provides Crucial Support to Microfinance Bank in Haiti

by Cynthia Greenwood

Fonkoze, the largest microfinance organization in Haiti, is being hailed for its distribution of cash more quickly than traditional banks after the earthquake destroyed the country’s banking infrastructure. Opportunity International has been playing a crucial supporting role to Fonkoze in getting the bank up and running after the disaster. After years of struggling to adapt traditional banking software to its microfinance operations, Fonkoze began working with Opportunity to implement the technology…

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Yes, We Care, Kenya

by Cynthia Greenwood

Capturing the stories of our field staff and clients during our time in Uganda and Kenya inspired us, and we hope it inspires you. While we were having dinner on our final night in Kenya, Ruth-Anne Renaud gave me the idea of starting up a fundraising group at OptINnow.org. It was easy to do, and now my friends and family are raising money to fund loans for two women clients at Opportunity Kenya. As of today, we’ve got 19 members in the “We Care, Kenya” group, but my goal is to have 30 by the…

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