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News Blog

Graduation is just the beginning: Ultra-poverty in Malawi

by Allison Kooser

In the capital city of Lilongwe, Malawi, there is an airport. Flights arrive, day in and day out, from across Africa and around the world. You can leave your home in Chicago or Seattle or Dallas or Washington DC, and after 25, or 38, or 41 hours—there is no fast way to get there—you would arrive in Malawi, a small, landlocked country in southeast Africa. Upon leaving the airport, you start driving south and quickly realize that the “city” of Lilongwe is not a city as you might have imagined…

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An inside look at apartheid-era South Africa

by Allison Kooser

This month, the Opportunity Book Club is learning about a country’s complicated history through the eyes of two compelling narrators: Beauty, a Xhosa woman in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, and Robin, a 10-year-old white girl living in Johannesburg.  Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais takes place in apartheid-era South Africa, where tension and racial injustice devastate the lives of the book’s two narrators. Marais, who grew up in South Africa, crafts a powerful story of…

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Governor Spotlight: Linda Martens

by Isabel Perlin

Linda Martens has always been interested in international affairs, so it seems inevitable that she would find a way to devote her skills, network, and passion to a mission like Opportunity International. Her first introduction was by fellow donor Jan Long Harris at a dinner in 1992 where she immediately fell in love with Opportunity’s mission and the idea of a “hand up, not a handout.” After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Asian studies from The College of Wooster and her master’s degree…

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Your Opportunity: Tips on How to Host a Watch Party from an Event Planner

by Erin Doherty

Whether it’s cooking a favorite recipe for friends, recommending a great book, or sharing photos of your travels on social media—when we are passionate about something, we want to share it with others. The best way to do this is by inviting them to experience it, too. Hosting a Watch Party for our Virtual Insight Trip to Uganda is a great way to introduce friends and family to Opportunity’s mission. My team has curated a powerful one-hour journey through busy streets, serene coffee fields,…

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Opportunity EduFinance in Nigeria: Past, Present, and Future

by Catherine O’Shea, Maham Khuhro and Wiktoria Gucia

This blog was originally published on edufinance.org. Nigeria has more children currently out of school than anywhere else in the world, with an estimated 13.2 million not currently in any form of education. Transition rates from primary to secondary level reveal that less than half of children at this age - only 43% - have the opportunity to continue their education. With a national fertility rate of 5.3, the demand for education access in Nigeria will only continue to grow, increasing pressure…

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Opportunity in Nigeria's Schools

by Allison Kooser

At the beginning of 2022, Opportunity International CEO Atul Tandon and Head of Education Finance Andrew McCusker reminded us of one of the most severe long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: “Education is one of the best tools we have to break the cycle of poverty,” they wrote. “But millions of children are at risk of never returning to the classroom. The challenge we face as a global community is figuring out how to get these children back in the classroom as soon as possible—and improving…

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Running with some of the fastest people in the world

by Allison Kooser

You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy our Opportunity Book Club pick this August—but if you are, Out of Thin Air: Running Wisdom and Magic from Above the Clouds in Ethiopia by Michael Crawley may change the way you think about your jogs forever. For fifteen months, Crawley lived and trained alongside Ethiopian runners, who historically hold six of the top ten fastest marathon times ever. He woke up at 3 a.m. for runs around Addis Ababa, endured long miles in the forest, and even joined the…

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What I'm Reading this Summer

by Atul Tandon

This summer has been one marked by remarkable world events and the continuing battle against COVID-19. CEO Atul Tandon shares the top articles and books he has read so far this summer:    Progress to eradicate global hunger is stalling The Economist This article is such an important reminder that despite the progress we have made, the past few years have been devastating for families in extreme poverty. In many cases, decades of improvement are now stalled—or moving in the wrong direction. “In…

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Growing Resilience and Recovery

by Allison Kooser

“We can’t control the weather.” It’s a phrase we’ve all heard, but one that is especially poignant for those who depend on agriculture to survive. For farmers, disruptions in the weather can change their livelihoods—and their lives. And for subsistence farmers—those who rely on farming to feed themselves and their family—a single crop, a single storm, or a single season could decide whether their children attend school or have enough to eat. For these families, the inability to control…

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Never too old for a children’s book

by Allison Kooser

The best children’s books resonate with us as adults, too—and that’s what makes our July Opportunity Book Club pick so special. In Home of the Brave, Katherine Applegate introduces us to Kek, a young Sudanese refugee. We join him as he navigates the challenges of a Minnesota winter and a new life in the United States alone. Kek was separated from his mother in an African refugee camp, and he must make sense of both a new place and the trauma of his past while he waits to learn his mother’s…

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