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Chicago, IL 60607

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© 2018 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Global Report:

Your Investment at Work in 2017

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Fuseina built a thriving livelihood.
She is Opportunity.

“As a child, poverty left me standing outside the schoolyard where I grew up in Tamale, Ghana. It was then I vowed to educate my own children. Blessed with five children, I work five times harder to keep that promise. I must invest in my children, so the pain of illiteracy stops with me. I process rice to put food on the table and pay school fees. Before my business loan from Opportunity, I processed three bags of rice each week. Today, I process 15, and have tripled my profits. Life is better. The future holds promise for my children. My business is strong, and I am respected by my neighbors and husband who says, ‘I want all of my children to be like you!’”


3.9M

clients registered for mobile banking

430K

loans delivered to farmers since 2009

2M

children reached via EduFinance since 2008

10M clients in 20 countries

As of 06/30/2017

4.8M

clients have loans

6.3M

clients are saving

6.8M

clients and family members insured

89%

clients are women

90%

borrowers share social data to improve services

6

Opportunity partners are Smart Certified


Because You Invest In Opportunity's Global Programs:

Marginalized People Are Building Sustainable Livelihoods

At Opportunity, we rejoice in knowing that eradicating poverty in our lifetimes is possible. With a vibrant history spanning more than 46 years, hallmarks of our mission include our commitment to transformation and innovation.

By investing in Opportunity’s global programs, you funded high-impact, sustainable, scalable solutions. Entrepreneurs developed the skills and confidence to use digital financial services. Women achieved their dreams for their families. Farmers were linked to profitable markets and children attended high-quality schools.

Once again, we are at a pivotal point in our history. We are extending our mission beyond the communities we currently serve to reach further down the base of the poverty pyramid as we strive for sustainble, large-scale solutions. To achieve this, we are developing new programs and joining forces with even more partners. We are testing models that reach not only unbanked people but also those who are not yet financially literate, all of whom need livelihoods to support their families.

 

Women and Girls are Developing Strength and Gaining Confidence

In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Opportunity International is focused on accelerating the economic empowerment of women worldwide. By supporting Opportunity’s global mission, you invested in the potential of women who hold the key to overcoming poverty. As women grow their businesses and incomes, they develop strong voices in their families and communities, gain confidence, and advocate for their children.

9 million women are using Opportunity loans and savings to contribute decisively to their businesses, families, and communities.

4.6 million women are investing Opportunity loans to generate income, improve quality of life for their families, and fuel economic growth and job creation in their communities.

5.4 million women are saving for the future, representing 86% of Opportunity’s overall clients with savings accounts and yet they own only 36% of Opportunity's client deposits — a disparity we seek to address.

 

6.5 million women are building sustainable livelihoods through innovative microfinance programs in India, where an independent client impact assessment of three of our Indian partners (ESAF, RGVN, and Samhita) among women clients like Harapriya Mamta (pictured below, far left) confirmed that: 

  • Up to 98% achieved significant quality-of-life improvements.
  • 89% of women investing an RGVN loan increased their monthly income by up to 66%.
  • 33% of mothers added one or more new healthy foods to the family table.
  • The number of women with latrines at home increased by 12%.

We are building stronger women and girls programs across the globe. Chikondi Mpokosa, our newly-hired Program Director for Women and Girls, is developing a unified global strategy and programs to empower women and girls.

Harapriya Mamta (far left), India
Harapriya Mamta (far left), India

In Mozambique, we engaged 800 women farmers in an action research pilot. We are reaching farming families with hands-on advice to improve gender dynamics and business. Among families participating in the pilot, 74% of farms are managed or co-managed by women. Using an innovative gender-analysis tool tells us who is deciding what inputs to purchase, in addition to who uses the farming inputs. This information allows us to be more deliberate in how we reach women farmers with agricultural support services and links to commercial markets.

In Ghana, Opportunity’s transformation team is working in urban slums with 500 former sex workers who are leaving their high-risk lifestyles behind to launch legitimate businesses using Opportunity loans and training. So far, 480 have opened savings accounts and 340 have started new businesses.

You are Fueling Transformation via Capacity-Building Skills Training

Opportunity Transformation Services (OTS) is our community-based platform that delivers holistic and customized outreach and awareness programs to facilitate financial inclusion and empower our clients to build sustainable livelihoods. Highlights include:

OTS Malawi is reaching beyond the bank footprint to serve women and families at the base of the economic pyramid. In the past year, OTS Malawi conducted 1,000 financial literacy sessions to benefit 94,775 people.

OTS Uganda designed a drama series of 12 episodes to deliver entertaining, culturally embedded financial education. The radio program will air in several local languages on popular radio stations, reaching millions of farmers and rural families.

OTS Ghana partnered with a local bus company to pilot financial literacy training DVDs to commuters, reaching 2,592 financially excluded people.

Social Performance Measurement (SPM). Harnessing the power of data to eradicate poverty is explicitly stated in the Sustainable Development Goals framework. In the same way, our SPM team captures and tracks critical client social data that helps us to ensure we are reaching the poor and implementing strong client protection measures. The information also informs our strategy and program designs. This year, SPM:

  • Introduced 25 types of benchmarking reports to allow our partners to compare themselves with other financial institutions, highlighting areas for improvement.
  • Collected social data from 24 partners, representing more than 90% of our borrowers.
  • Achieved Smart Certification at two Indonesian institutions, BAV and Komida, which became our fifth and sixth partners to achieve the highest standard in client protection. Read more at opportunity.org/smart

 

A Good Harvest Creates Countless Possibilities

In Africa, most smallholder farmers cannot access the resources and training they need to increase their production and income. By funding Opportunity’s AgFinance program, you provided farmers with tailored savings and loan products, linkages to high-quality farm inputs, training, and market access to earn a steady and strong income.

As of June 30, 2017, Opportunity had cumulatively disbursed 456,337 agriculture loans valued at a combined $81 million to empower smallholder farmers across seven African countries.

Since AgFinance launched in 2009, Opportunity has:

  • Empowered farmers by connecting them to value chains for 42 different crops in seven countries across Africa.
  • Reached more than 90% of our goal to empower 500,000 farmers by the end of 2017.

 


Eugenie is a survivor.
She is Opportunity.

Widowed with four children to feed, clothe, and educate, Eugenie bravely embarked on her journey out of poverty. Eugenie said, “I invested Opportunity loans to expand my farm and increase my income.” Higher yields meant more crops to sell and more money to support her kids. As survivors of the Rwandan genocide, the two eldest qualified for education funding; the two youngest did not. Eugenie is now saving. “Today, all four of my children are in school and I am a respected business woman. With Opportunity, I can achieve my goals for my farm and for my family.”


Women farmers feel supported and valued through Opportunity’s AgFinance Program, where products and services align with the barriers rural women face. We conducted a gender analysis among women clients who access our agriculture loans and services in Mozambique and Ghana. The research showed that:

  • 92% of women clients feel welcomed and supported as a woman by Opportunity.
  • 86% of women feel highly satisfied with Opportunity’s AgFinance program.
  • 89% of women credited AgFinance for their increased farm productivity.
  • 81% of women farmer clients contribute more to family decision-making. 

Small-scale farming is challenging and risky. Opportunity is developing solutions. 

In Ghana, 724 smallholder farmers received training in financial literacy, digital financial literacy, and modern farming in the first half of 2017. We also achieved a 34% growth in clients registered for cell phone banking by adding 10,457 in the first half of 2017.

AgFinance in Malawi is focused on helping farmers diversify crops, strengthening the value chain, and developing financing options for smallholder farmers who are still addressing challenges brought on by El Niño in 2016 and La Niña in 2017.   

An armyworm infestation severely affected maize and soy farmers in Ghana and is moving to additional African countries. John Magnay, Head of AgFinance, worked with the Ministry of Food & Agriculture to develop a strategy and early alert system to fight the invasion, which is destabilizing crop prices and negatively impacting Ghanaian farmers.

The Ugandan AgFinance team is supporting grain farmers who are facing challenges due to prolonged dry spells and pests. Coffee and cattle farmers are achieving growth in production, which is expected to continue its upward trend as value chains are strengthened.

 

Children are Accessing Inclusive and Equitable Education

Smiling students at the Trinity School in Uganda
Smiling students at the Trinity School in Uganda

Opportunity International celebrated an EduFinance program milestone in May: with your help, we have reached two million children since 2007 by implementing solutions that remove the barriers impeding schools and parents. With your support, EduFinance is breaking the chains of injustice and poverty — for good.

Today, we are scaling the EduFinance program even further by growing our team of experts, now at 25 staff around the world, and by engaging with new partners to expand our reach to more schools and families. Despite this widespread success, Opportunity will not sit back.

According to Nathan Byrd, Head of Global Programs, “Two million children reached is certainly a milestone, but with 263 million children still out of school, the scale of the challenge remains significant.”

As of June 2017:

  • Opportunity’s total active EduFinance program portfolio of 40,093 education loans valued at $22 million.
  • We are reaching about 430,000 children through 11 partner institutions across 10 countries including: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Philippines, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  • We are currently scaling to extend our reach from 11 partners to 15 partners in 13 countries with the addition of new collaborations with FINCA Nigeria, Adhikar in India, and two institutions in Nicaragua.

Financial education tools designed for big impact and hope-filled futures

School Improvement loans are the largest EduFinance program product by portfolio value, representing $47 million in cumulative disbursements. School proprietors have invested 4,300 loans, positively impacting more than one million children since the program launch.

School Fee loans are the fastest growing EduFinance product, representing 157,701 loans with a combined cumulative value of $39 million since the program launched. Opportunity provides School Fee loans in nine countries, helping families get and keep approximately 490,000 children in school without interruption when school fees come due.

Additional EduFinance products, including Continuing Education loans, Youth Financial Education, Child and Youth Education Savings accounts, and EduSave savings-linked education insurance, have positively impacted another 465,220 children and youth since the launch of the program.

Children are receiving a higher quality education. Now in its second year, we scaled our EduQuality efforts from 250 schools in 2016 to 675 schools across Colombia, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. School representatives have formed 111 active school clusters where participants access a wide variety of development opportunities.

Evaluations confirm that EduFinance leads to better outcomes for students. Earlier this year, we collected social data through 300 interviews with school proprietors, parents, and bank staff in both Uganda and Rwanda. Findings confirmed that our loans help children access schools that are closer to home, more affordable, safer, and higher in quality — all of which lead to better learning outcomes. The findings validate a 2016 evaluation in Uganda, which found that literacy in girls was 61% higher in Opportunity-financed schools than non-Opportunity-financed schools.

Schools are creating jobs and stimulating economic growth within their communities.  
By investing in affordable education, you are creating jobs and boosting local economies. We believe that quality education is one of the best routes out of poverty. Recent research in Uganda concluded that our work with 75 schools has created 185 full and part-time jobs. Among the full-time hires, 70% were non-teaching staff like drivers and cooks. The jobs created were not limited to school hires but rather rippled throughout the community — as schools grew, so did the local demand for school uniforms, food, and supplies. 

 

You Are Fostering Our High-Touch, High-Tech, High-Impact Approach

Janet Asamoah, clothing vendor, Ghana
Janet Asamoah, clothing vendor, Ghana

Together, we are accelerating the financial inclusion of marginalized entrepreneurs, especially women, living in rural areas, and closing the poverty gap through digital financial solutions.

Improving livelihoods. By supporting an integrated and advanced approach to the delivery of targeted financial solutions, you are empowering marginalized entrepreneurs, especially women, to be family providers, community change agents, and operators of thriving, income-generating businesses.

Today, 3.9 million Opportunity clients are registered to use mobile banking. In Africa alone, 530,000 clients (55% of whom are women) are registered to use their basic cell phones to conduct financial transactions and engage in non-financial activities like taking surveys and receiving training via voice messages and texts.

Thanks to supporters like you, Opportunity:

  • Conducted a study to understand how women access digital finance. Research will inform a next generation of digital financial education tools designed to more effectively reach women, low-literacy individuals, and those less comfortable with digital technology. For example, in India and Ghana we are testing the effectiveness of sending recorded voice-messages via mobile phones that are customized to each client’s needs and interests.
  • Engaged a gender specialist to develop best practices for introducing and engaging women in digital financial services.
  • Digitized tools for agriculture field officers to reduce costs and enhance services, and developed digital services for coffee farmers to better link them to input suppliers and markets.

Thank You for Investing in Hard-Working Families Across the Globe!

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

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