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News Blog

Read one of the 100 notable books of 2020!

by Allison Kooser

Last month, we read Kintu, the multi-generational narrative by Ugandan author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. We loved learning more about Ugandan history through the compelling stories of the Kintu clan. This month, we are traveling west in Africa to Liberia to read one of The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2020. Join us as we read The Dragons, The Giant, The Women by Wayétu Moore. Through her engrossing memoir, Moore tells her story of escaping the First Liberian Civil War and building a life…

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The great Ugandan novel you didn’t know you were waiting for

by Allison Kooser

We are still thinking about A Long Way Gone, the book we read together in October. In a season when so much feels uncertain and difficult, we were particularly struck by this powerful reminder: \"If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen.\" This month, we are reading a book that book critic Aaron Bady of The New Inquiry described as \"a masterpiece, an absolute gem, the great Ugandan novel you didn't know you were waiting for.\" Join us as we read Kintu by Jennifer…

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Governor Spotlight: Johanna Mahal

by Laura DesGranges

It only took one conversation for Johanna Mahal to be hooked. A friend of her husband David introduced Johanna to Isabelle Finney, VP of Philanthropy at Opportunity, in the Fall of 2019. They sat down for coffee and by the end of their meeting, she had decided to pilot Opportunity’s first Donor Trust Group in the U.S. To be fair, Johanna had a connection with Opportunity from her days as a cabi clothing stylist, thanks to cabi and Opportunity’s long-standing partnership. But she hadn’t dug…

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Ramping up E-Learning During the Pandemic

by Catherine O'Shea and Antonella Abategiovanni

This article originally appeared on edufinance.org on August 14, 2020.  When the global COVID-19 pandemic closed down travel in many countries in March 2020, the EduFinance Technical Assistance team saw an opportunity to support financial institutions that were attempting to rapidly transition to a temporary remote workforce. Recognizing that in-person professional development training for staff would not be possible for an extended period, the team decided to put pilot e-learning modules that…

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The harrowing story of a boy soldier

by Allison Kooser

Last month, the Opportunity Book Club was transported to northern Kenya to learn about Dadaab, the world's largest refugee camp, through Ben Rawlence's powerful book, City of Thorns. Just like the nine stories featured in Rawlence's book, there are millions of people around the world who have been forced from their homes because of violence, persecution, and famine. Opportunity International cares deeply about these often-forgotten communities, and we work within refugee camps and communities to…

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Mutually Exacerbating Catastrophes: Responding to the 2020 Gates Goalkeepers Report

by Atul Tandon

Each fall, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation releases their annual Goalkeepers Report. Typically, the report celebrates our collective progress made toward the Sustainable Development Goals—progress that we at Opportunity frequently celebrate, too. Year over year, we have watched the incidence of extreme poverty around the world steadily decrease—from over 37% of the world’s population in 1990 to just under 7% last year. This progress gave us great reason for optimism, and encouraged our…

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Digital Finance in the Wake of COVID-19

by Rosa Wang

The recent report, “People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future,” highlights the importance of digital finance in helping to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and explores how digitalization can be used to support vulnerable people, reduce inequalities, and sustain livelihoods. It notes that a key to transformative impact, especially now, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, is empowering people in their financing activities, especially as savers, borrowers,…

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A Bequest to Last a Lifetime: In Memory of Margaret Aydelotte

by Opportunity International

In 1953, a time when women were still excluded from many colleges and professions, Margaret Walker was making her own way. A London native, she excelled in the sciences and received a scholarship to attend Cambridge University’s Newnham College, where she pursed a degree in zoology and physiology. She stayed at Cambridge for her PhD in physiology, feeding a lifelong passion that would take her across the ocean, across another country, and across a lifetime.  Shortly after receiving her PhD, friends…

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Bringing Affordable Private Schools to the Table

by Atul Tandon and Andrew McCusker

In a recent letter directed to the G20, IMF, World Bank, Regional Development Banks, and national governments, 275 global leaders wrote: “With over one billion children still out of school because of the lockdown, there is now a real and present danger that the public health crisis will create a COVID generation who will lose out on schooling and whose opportunities are permanently damaged. While the more fortunate have had access to alternatives, the world’s poorest children have been locked…

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Nine lives in the world's largest refugee camp

by Opportunity International

As we move into fall, the Opportunity Book Club is turning to a nonfiction book that will open our eyes to the plight of refugees in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. This month, join us this month as we read the incredible stories in City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence. “Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other,” Amazon’s book description reads. “Its buildings are…

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