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News Blog

50 for 50: 7 Facts about our progress out of poverty

by Opportunity International

Opportunity International has spent 50 years learning what clients need to break the cycle of poverty. Through innovative solutions that help families build sustainable livelihoods, farmers improve their yields, and children go to school, we have been part of a global movement to reduce extreme poverty—a movement that has seen remarkable progress since our founding in 1971. This weekend as we celebrate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we are looking back at just how far we’ve…

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50 for 50: The Earliest Trust Groups

by Susy Cheston with Alexis Beggs Olsen

This essay is a selection from the special edition of UnPoverty by Mark Lutz. The new edition has been released in celebration of Opportunity International’s 50th Anniversary, featuring new chapters from leaders throughout Opportunity’s history. To receive a copy, simply make a donation of any size to Opportunity and we’ll send it to you.The small squatter community was carved into a barren hillside in Soyapango, near the capital city of El Salvador. I was inching my 20-year-old car along,…

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Navigating our interconnected world

by Allison Kooser

Opportunity International is an organization that works across borders, so communication and understanding are at the heart of so much of our work. Learning how to navigate cultural differences well makes us better leaders, better partners, and better collaborators. This month, we are wading into these differences as we read The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer. Meyer, a professor at the renowned international business school, Institut Européen…

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50 for 50: The Power of Digital Finance

by Simona Haiduc and Robinah Zawedde

This essay is a selection from the special edition of UnPoverty by Mark Lutz. The new edition has been released in celebration of Opportunity International’s 50th Anniversary, featuring new chapters from leaders throughout Opportunity’s history. To receive a copy, simply make a donation of any size to Opportunity and we’ll send it to you.The economic landscape of Africa is changing because women like Stella, Millie and Charity are starting and sustaining their own microenterprises.Stella…

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50 for 50: Revisiting the Sustainable Development Goals

by Allison Kooser

In 2015, 193 countries committed to 17 ambitious goals—goals designed to promote and measure progress toward equity and development worldwide. These goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were a renewed vision by the United Nations following 2000’s Millennium Development Goals and provide a global benchmark for critical, sustainable progress. Achieving them will require the commitment and creativity of nations and organizations alike, and the 169 targets outlined within the…

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50 for 50: Exploring the Graduation Model

by Carine Roenen and Steven Werlin

This essay is a selection from the special edition of UnPoverty by Mark Lutz. The new edition has been released in celebration of Opportunity International’s 50th Anniversary, featuring new chapters from leaders throughout Opportunity’s history. To receive a copy, simply make a donation of any size to Opportunity and we’ll send it to you. When we first met Elda, she was living in ultra-poverty. She had two children and no income. But a lack of income does not adequately describe the deprivations…

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50 for 50: The Role of Biometrics in Financial Inclusion

by Opportunity International

On International Women’s Day 2011, Opportunity International launched its “Banking on Women” Campaign, an initiative designed to build awareness of the transformative impact of financial services on women’s empowerment. Among its multiple education and fundraising elements, the campaign described the latest innovations related to increasing financial accessibility, one of which was biometric technology.  A few years earlier, in 2003, we had opened the Opportunity International Bank of Malawi…

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You’ll be happy to revisit this classic

by Allison Kooser

In the midst of the back-to-school rush, we’re picking up a book that has a prominent place on high school reading lists—and for great reason. This month, join us as we read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. The most widely read book in modern African literature, Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, an Igbo warrior who fights to maintain his culture in the face of colonialism. Okonkwo’s fictional story paints a stark picture of the despair and loss that accompanied the fight for…

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50 for 50: Catalyst Award - Janelle Lassonde

by Opportunity International

As Opportunity International was first piloting its Education Finance programs, Janelle Lassonde served on the steering committee for the Banking on Africa campaign—helping us grow our footprint in a new region and establish banking infrastructure that would allow clients to not only borrow, but also save. Leveraging her professional experience as a banker in sub-Saharan Africa, Janelle brought a depth of wisdom and insight to this pivotal campaign. As she learned more about Opportunity’s goals…

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50 for 50: Trailblazer Award - Nathan Byrd

by Opportunity International

In May 2012, Opportunity International hired Nathan Byrd, a talented young leader who had previously served as Director of Operations for the International Rescue Committee in Kabul, Afghanistan, and VP of Strategic Development at Covenant House, to serve as the new head of Opportunity’s Education Finance program.  At the time, Education Finance was a small pilot program—and Nathan was tasked with designing both our strategy and the necessary financial tools to help more children access quality…

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