Opportunity International is working to end global poverty by providing a hand up, not a hand out. We believe that enabling individuals to create dignified and sustainable work is the foundation for transforming their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.
Opportunity International was founded in 1971 by two visionary leaders who were inspired to take action by their experiences with people living in extreme poverty.
Al Whittaker, former president of Bristol Myers International Corporation in the U.S., and Australian entrepreneur David Bussau sought a solution that would help people transform their lives. They entered unchartered territory when they launched what we know now as Opportunity International, which was one of the first non-profit organisations to recognise the benefits of offering financial services for people living in poverty in some of the worlds poorest countries.
In 1991, a group-lending methodology called the Trust Group was created —a model that helps promote accountability among clients and often leads to very high repayment rates.
In 1992, David Bussau established Opportunity International UK, based in Oxford.
Today, Opportunity International is actively serving more than 10 million hardworking entrepreneurs in over 20 countries around the world. We have big plans for the world: a world without poverty where people can live with dignity and purpose. The clients we work with have ambitious dreams for their futures, but lack the opportunities needed to make those dreams a reality.
We go where others won’t go to give these inspiring people access to financial services including loans, savings, insurance and other financial services and training—all of which empower these entrepreneurs to work their way out of poverty and build a new sustainable future for themselves and their families.
We have created or sustained millions of jobs by giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to thrive. With your support, we can reach many more people - people who will go on to change the world.
Our vision is a world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose.
By providing access to financial solutions and training, we empower people living in poverty to transform their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.
We respond to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor. We seek to emulate the Good Samaritan, whose compassion crossed ethnic groups and religions. We serve all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Learn more about the importance of relationships in our work.
- Commitment: to clients and their transformation
- Humility: a spirit of serving in all we do
- Respect: consideration shown to all people and commitment to teamwork
- Integrity: living our values with transparency and consistency
- Stewardship: accountability, innovation, and urgency
- Transformation: our ultimate goal in ourselves and others.
- We support local partner organisations that provide innovative financial solutions to empower people, create jobs and build vibrant communities.
- We create innovative partnerships to provide complementary services to clients.
- We seek to positively impact the lives of clients, staff and supporters.
- Our products, services and training enable clients to develop businesses, to save and to insure against an uncertain future.
- We strengthen and influence value chains to benefit our clients, connect them to viable markets and drive economic progress.
- Our programmes provide opportunities for families living in poverty to transform their lives by giving them a hand up, not a hand-out. We seek to help the poorest of the poor wherever possible. While we aim to ensure the sustainability of our programme partners, our primary focus is not economic return – our return is seeing people’s lives transformed. Learn more about why we exist.
- We deeply value relationships. How we go about our work is fundamentally important to us. We strive to have our values reflected in all we do. Learn more about the importance of relationships in our work.
- We are a long-term, strategic partner. We support our programme partners with funding as well as much-needed technical and operational assistance, empowering them to reach out to people in poverty in their area.
- We don’t stop with microfinance. As well as small loans, savings, micro-insurance, micro-pensions and remittances, we provide people in poverty with access to non-financial services and training to strengthen their businesses and develop their communities.