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News Blog

Shalom… the way things ought to be.

by David M. Knibbe

While in Ghana a week ago, I visited the Peace International School. In this particular location just outside of Sunyani, Opportunity International and IDP Foundation Rising Schools are partnering to provide financial services and training to the private school’s proprietor so she can offer a quality education to more children living in poverty. Our clients continue to remind us that their children’s education is one of their top priorities.  They tell us that their hope for the future is…

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#Mifimon Preview: Women and Microfinance

by Amy Carol Wolff

Next week we have the privilege of discussing how microfinance is changing the lives of women around the world. We’ve got a pretty dynamic panel coming to this as well. Below, you’ll find their bios and thus, have the chance to learn more about them as we prepare for next week. We look forward to talking with you next Monday from 12pm-2pm CST! Spread the word! Panelist: Ruth-Anne Renaud (rarenaud), Vice President of Women’s Philanthropy and Interactive Marketing,Opportunity International Ruth-Anne…

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With a Grateful Heart I: Mrs. Jabalasa’s Potatoes and Promise

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

This year as we stock up on pumpkin and pecans, cook our Thanksgiving meals and recount our blessings, I am reminded of those who provide their communities with food. In particular, I’m thinking of an Opportunity International client with a food retail business who has found security in financial services this year. Mrs. Jabalasa has a successful potato business in Malawi. She wakes up early each morning to arrive at the Blantyre Market by 4:30 a.m. She stacks her potatoes and takes her place…

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Voices of the Poor – Parmila Das

by Steve Nelson

The landmark Voices of the Poor study, published by the World Bank in 2000, sought the opinions and testimony of 60,000 of the world’s poor through information gathered in small discussion groups. Parmila Das was one participant profiled in the study. She lived in India and was a widow with two young children. She struggled to survive after her husband’s illness and death drained the family’s last few assets. The family derived its income from the following irregular sources: The children collected…

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Indiana University Students Engage with Opportunity, Microfinance

by Kristy Anderson

The following is a guest post from Kristy Anderson, president of the Indiana University Trockman Microfinance Initiative-a student group of the Kelley School of Business. After a five-hour carpool from Bloomington, Ind., and a night at the Holiday Inn, the 12 members of our group entered through the glass doors at Opportunity International’s Oak Brook office at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, 2009. As members of Indiana University’s Trockman Microfinance Initiative…

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Help Create Opportunity for Women Worldwide

by Susan Gillette

The following is a guest post from Women’s Opportunity Network Member, Susan Gillette: I have just finished reading “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof  and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn.  It’s a difficult but inspiring read about the oppression of women in the developing world – but also offers concrete proof that investing in women and girls fuels economic growth and improves the quality of women’s lives. The…

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#Mifimon: BRAC’s "Microfinance Plus" Approach

by Jessica Elisberg

The following is a guest post by Jessica Elisberg from Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX). Interested in learning about microfinance? Follow our biweekly Twitter discussion group #mifimon (because Microfinance Mondays was too long for Twitter’s 140-character limit!) The aim is to host an exchange of ideas about issues relevant to the microfinance industry. You’re welcome to lend your voice, whether you’re a practitioner in the field or a newbie just learning the basics. Just end your messages…

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Honoring Those Who Increase Opportunities for Women

by Cynthia Greenwood

On a sparkling Saturday evening in Washington D.C., the Women’s Opportunity Network of Opportunity International honored a pioneering program and a special staff member in the field who are making an impact on women’s lives in the developing world. The first International Women’s Leadership Award of the night went to Teddy Ajiku, who has held a wide range of positions in her 10 years at Opportunity Uganda, from loan officer to branch manager, to her current position as international education…

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Live from the Smithonian Institution: One Hen Awarded Best Book for Young Children

by Ruth-Anne Renaud

The Outreach Council of the African Studies Association annually salutes the authors and illustrators of outstanding books about Africa published or distributed in the United States for young children and older readers.  Today, Katie Smith Milway’s One Hen: How One Loan Made a Big Difference is commended for the life lessons it instills in youth, teaching them that one small act can have a profound impact.  I can’t think of a better venue for this youth-driven ceremony than the Smithsonian…

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Live from International Reading Association: One Hen sparks conversation among Educators

by Ruth-Anne Renaud

After a great morning with the students at Sidwell Friends School, I had the pleasure of joining Katie at the International Reading Association for an engaging panel discussion on Friday afternoon.  The evolution of One Hen and its transformation from text to technology has spawned a stimulating conversation amongst a panel of educators and their ongoing involvement with One Hen’s curriculum in the classroom. One Hen’s interactive website, (, has been widely acclaimed…

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