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News Blog

Young Ambassador Reporting from Tanzania

by AJ Renold

On Sunday, Feb. 21, I flew from Chicago, Ill., to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. After almost two days of travel, I stepped out of the Julius Nyerere International Airport into humid, 90 degree weather. I knew I was in Tanzania. Thankfully, my luggage arrived with me and I went on to the Opportunity Tanzania head office.  Over the next year, I will be working with Opportunity to assist in its transition to a regulated microfinance bank, offering savings, loans and insurance products to the most impoverished…

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Celebrating the Board of Governors

by Sonja Egeland

With a common passion to help people in the developing world work their way out of poverty, the Opportunity International Board of Governors is a vital ingredient in the fight against global poverty. Numbering over 600 families nationwide, the governors believe that by joining together and supporting the work of Opportunity, they can leverage their resources to make a huge impact. This year, Opportunity’s governors have been busy. Hosting international visitors, holding fundraising events, educating…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: Banking on Africa

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

Over 75 percent of people in Africa lives on less than $2 per day. So when Opportunity looked at its expansion plan, Africa was the region that began to take priority. In 2008 Opportunity launched an ambitious campaign to make significant impact on the world’s poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015. Building upon its 38 years of providing financial services to the poor, Opportunity International is developing a network of banks to address the capital infrastructure needs of poor communities…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: “I cannot make my payment”

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

Today conference attendees gathered into groups of 10, and each took on a new identity. They became Opportunity International loan recipients, each with a unique situation. In the middle of the Trust Group simulation, they discovered something challenging: one of the members, Edif, could not pay her loan. The president of each Trust Groups alerted the group to the situation at hand: “The Trust Group acknowledges that Edif is unable to pay her portion of the group loan. Because it is her first default,…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: Celebrating YAO

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

The Young Ambassadors for Opportunity is a group of enthusiastic young leaders who are joining forces to help eradicate poverty around the world. YAO firmly believes ending poverty can be done in their lifetime. YAO members seek to inspire, educate and involve the next generation committed to transforming the lives of the poor through microfinance. The group was founded in March 2008 by Opportunity supporter Liesel Pritzker, who wanted to connect in a meaningful way beyond financial support. Liesel…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: A Second Calling

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

She has been called on to speak at multiple Opportunity events, so we knew we were in for a treat. Dale began, “we’ve talked about stories a lot. What I have learned as I look at my own life is that what I so often lack is perspective. Sometimes to me the threads of my life seem random. Sometimes they even look like lint. And later I will look back and realize that was the color that was meant to be woven into my life, to give it interest and to create a pattern. “When I tell stories about…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: “This Determination Led Me to Opportunity”

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

I would like to introduce you to Henrietta Isaac. She is a professional “champion of dreams.” When she was young, still in school, she dreamt of becoming a CEO. That led her to complete an MBA in the UK against all odds—convincing her parents that it was a better idea to invest in education than to get her married off, like most other Indian girls her age. During her MBA studies, she was inspired by the idea of corporate social responsibility, and attracted to organizations with a purpose.…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: A Testimony of Transformation

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

Opportunity governor Kathy Drake recently came home from an Insight Trip to India. The trip was composed of a group of Opportunity International supporters,  determined to enter into community with the Indian women that Opportunity serves. Tonight she told the story of the first Trust Group meeting she attended while in India. “The members had brought a half dozen white molded plastic chairs (probably gathered from an assortment of neighbors) for us to sit on. I think it was Michele who was the…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Champions Rural Outreach

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

When Bill and Melinda Gates decide to take on a project, they do it with gusto. They call themselves “impatient optimists,” and firmly believe that they are changing the world, one person at a time. Associate program officer in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor initiative, Clara Veniard is no stranger to impatient optimism. She works with financial institutions to deliver saving services at scale to underserved populations. In particular, she has witnessed…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: Harvesting Hope

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

It has been argued that rural outreach is the “Holy Grail” of microfinance. If that statement is true, John Magnay is the person who stands on the cusp of the discovery. John Magnay has lived and worked in Uganda for the last 32 years, including surviving two years running dairy farms during the reign of dictator Idi Amin. Since 2008 he has served as Opportunity’s Senior Agricultural Specialist, lobbying locally and internationally on issues related to strengthening output markets in Africa.…

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