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News Blog

Opportunity International Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, […] I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children. This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s…

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The Tragedy in Haiti: How You Can Help

by Rob Meloche

At Opportunity International we are heartbroken over the horrible suffering and staggering devastation in Haiti. Please join with us in praying for the people of Haiti and supporting the ongoing relief effort. In this immediate aftermath, we would encourage you to consider supporting one of our partners with operations in Haiti or one of the many other great organizations who are providing services in the country. A terrible tragedy like this demonstrates the vulnerability of those living in poverty,…

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Congress provides more money for microfinance

by Cynthia Greenwood

Let’s celebrate the increase in appropriations for microfinance and microenterprise development for FY2010. It grew from $245 million to $265 million—terrific in a tight budget year. (This is pending a final vote but reflects the conference report from the House and Senate and is likely to pass.) Also, we are thrilled that Congress has put language in the appropriations report that directs USAID to:• increase funding for microfinance in Africa• focus 25% of funding on funding to build the…

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Introducing #Mifimon 2010!

by Amy Carol Wolff

Interested in learning about microfinance? Follow our biweekly discussion group #mifimon (because Microfinance Mondays was too long for Twitter’s 140-character limit). Our 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 with the hashtag #mifimon! Happy new year to you all! I hope the holidays and the beginning of this…

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The Challenge of Credit Scoring

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

A lack of a formal credit score makes risk mitigation particularly difficult and thus has the potential to reduce the effectiveness of microfinance. A lack of some type of credit information can cause microfinance institutions to make decisions that are not in the best interest of the client. In the worst case scenario, either someone who deserves a loan is denied it or someone who cannot pay back a loan is granted it. To mitigate this risk, Opportunity hopes to track the qualitative characteristics…

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Development as a strategic, economic and moral imperative

by Rob Meloche

“Women and girls are one of the world’s greatest untapped resources and a terrific return on investment…I have seen for myself the transformative power of microlending in women’s lives and their families and communities.” The above quote is from a speech given earlier this week at the Center for Global Development by Secretary of State Clinton. Her wide-ranging address not only highlighted microfinance, it called for greater investment in many of the areas Opportunity International is working,…

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Opportunity International Gives Thanks for Dedicated Supporters

by Cynthia Greenwood

Opportunity International gives thanks for dedicated supporters like Bob and Polly McCrea, who are highlighted in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune article For retired Lake Minnetonka couple, giving has no season.  The story is about the couple’s lifestyle of giving, including their longtime service to Opportunity International. Polly is a former board chair, and she and Bob are members of our Board of Governors. The couple is passing on this wonderful legacy to their children, who each found ways…

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Rabia Mwakasaka’s New Beginning

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

As we jump into 2010 with both feet, I am reminded of Rabia Mwakasaka’s story. Rabia is a widow with three children. Before she came to Opportunity Tanzania, she worked out of her home, but could not seem to make ends meet. She didn’t have the capital to buy large quantities of raw materials, so business was difficult. She lamented that she was unable to send her children to school or to properly feed them. Upon her introduction to Opportunity, however, she discovered a new beginning for herself…

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Top 5 Reasons Urbana Rocks!

by Amy Carol Wolff

I just spent a week with 16,000 amazing people, sharing about microfinance, listening to countless stories, and enjoying the energy that comes with being around people who want to make an impact. I’d like to share a few of the highlights as we enter into the new year:  1. The Students. Seriously, every day I got to see energy and life and drive in the eyes of these students from across the world. Yesterday, I spoke with a girl from Zambia who is interested in working with us when she goes home…

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Opportunity International at Urbana 2009

by Amy Carol Wolff

Hello from St. Louis! To create some context, on Sunday, the downtown area of St. Louis nearly doubled in size. And a couple of us from Opportunity International are spending this week with over 16,000 university and high school students from over 100 countries at Intervarsity’s conference- Urbana 2009. You can feel the energy when you walk the streets of downtown. It’s pretty radical. As one of the exhibiting organizations, we have the awesome opportunity to interact with students interested…

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