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News Blog

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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Opportunity LiveBlog: Roger Thurow’s Global Food for Thought

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

Roger Thurow’s job is to “outrage and inspire.” His recent book, co-authored with Scott Kilman, Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty, certainly does just that. He previously spoke at our Fall 2009 Conference, and Opportunity is delighted to host him again at our Spring 2010 Conference. The Opportunity audience sat enraptured as we listened to his story today. Thurow’s three decades at The Wall Street Journal lead him to Europe and Africa. While in Africa, he…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: Frida Mungoma Banks on Education

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

Wakhasa Frida Mungoma spends most of her days in the classrooms and offices of her clients. As a loan officer for the Education Finance program in Uganda, Frida works with people who need development loans, operation loans, salary loans and school fee loans. With a Master’s degree in Microfinance from the State University of Bergamo, Italy, she is well trained to handle the intricacies of managing her day-to-day activities and also the big picture of advancing education through microfinance.…

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Opportunity LiveBlog: Sharing Your Story

by Sonja Egeland Kelly

Daniel Taylor is a storytelling professional. He understands the importance of where to start a story, how to tell it, and what its conclusion should be. At Opportunity International’s fall Board of Governors Conference, each session he led was standing room only. We are delighted to have  him join us again for our Spring 2010 Confernece. The wisdom he shares resonates so deeply with the Opportunity family. Daniel’s seminal book, Tell Me a Story: The Life-Shaping Power of Our Stories, is powerful.…

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