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© 2020 Opportunity InternationalOpportunity International United Kingdom is registered as a charity in England and Wales (1107713) and in Scotland (SCO39692).

News Blog

A Day with Confiance

by Kelly Jennings-Robinson, Philanthropy Manager

19-year-old Confiance is a typical teenager. She loves music, fashion, selfies and sweets. She is also a refugee. Confiance fled Burundi with her mother and now lives in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in western Uganda. Her family came with very little but Confiance is determined to build a new life and a strong community in the place she now calls home. I met Confiance when I visited Nakivale in February 2020 as part of an insight trip.  Despite only spending a day together, she made a lasting impression…

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A Determination to Succeed

by Cliff Hampton, Chair of Opportunity International UK Board of Trustees,

As I reflect back on last year I am doing so at a time of global crisis and uncertainty. Yet when I think of the clients I have had the  privilege to meet I am full of hope. On visits to Rwanda and Uganda earlier this year, I met clients from a poor rural community who were so grateful for our support despite facing many challenges and hardships in recent times. It was clear that these men and women were ambitious and determined to succeed but had lacked the financial help to grow their…

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Refugees go behind the camera to tell their story

by Mandy Burrow, Senior Programme Manager

Next Saturday 20th June is World Refugee Day. It is a day to remember the courage and resilience of the millions of people who are being forcibly displaced from their homes and having to rebuild their lives from scratch. Last year, we began a four year project in Uganda which works in two of the country’s refugee settlements.  The project will provide over 20,000 refugee families with the financial tools and training they need to rebuild their lives and livelihoods and work for a better future.…

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Hands up for hand sanitiser!

by Jenny Dunn, Communications Manager

“If life gives you a lemon, make a lemonade” - this is the attitude of Diana Anane, a 40-year old  business-minded woman who lets no opportunity pass her by.  Diana is married with three children and lives in Kumasi, the Ashanti Region of Ghana.  We have worked with Diana for a few years, helping her develop her detergent business.  Her business was doing well until March this year when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reached Ghana. Like many Diana was forced to temporally close down…

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Farming for the Future

by Jenny Dunn, Communications Manager

Nikuse farms rice and Maize in Muhanga, Rwanda.  She has five children and one grandchild.  Three years ago she joined a farming cooperative where she received training and access to loans through our agricultural programme.  Nikuse says: “In these three years, I have been receiving loans and that’s been very instrumental. My first harvest was 35kg, but after joining Opportunity, I could buy manure, chemical fertiliser and get money to pay for labour. With all these inputs, including labour,…

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What is gender awareness training and why do we do it?

by Daniella Hawkins, Programme Coordinator

When a woman’s status is elevated, entire communities are lifted out of poverty. However, women face many social, economic and cultural stereotypes that prevent this, especially in rural communities. That’s why our gender training for female clients, spouses and community leaders aims to help break down gender stereotypes.  It is the second year of our ‘Roots of Change’ project, that you so kindly supported during our 2017 appeal and where the UK government matched your donations.  Part…

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Finding a Lifeline for the Poor and the Financial Institutions that serve them

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are increasing levels of vulnerability and insecurity, and driving many into chronic poverty. Microfinance Institutions - critical actors in provision of wealth creation, employment and safety nets for the poor - are also struggling with the knock-on effects due to increases in the level of deposit withdrawals and loan default rates.  In a recent article, I highlight the impact of COVID-19 on four key client groups.  Workers in the urban informal…

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How digital technology is supporting our clients during COVID-19

by Dana Lunberry, Digital Financial Inclusion Manager.

COVID-19 has forced many of us to stay at home and avoid unnecessary contact with others.  These restrictions on our lives affect many of us but they disproportionately affect people living in poverty, those who do not have reliable and steady sources of income, enough savings in the bank, or access to credit to help tide them over.   Without such basic financial services, many people have huge difficulty in covering basic living expenses and a large number may find themselves in deeper levels…

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We're in this together: COVID-19 Update

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

You will no doubt be preoccupied with the challenges of living through this global pandemic.  It is an unprecedented time and difficult for everyone.  So this is no more than a brief update on how things are unfolding in Africa and how our clients are being affected. Africa is now facing the same crisis we are experiencing in Europe and I am deeply concerned about what may be ahead.  For vulnerable people already disadvantaged by poverty, millions of lives could be lost.  Life for the people…

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Serving the Poorest in Ghana

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

At the heart of social and economic development are effective institutions. In developed market economies, institutions, both public and private, effect all our daily lives from water supply to banking. In developing countries such as Ghana none of this can be taken for granted. Once you travel away from Accra and the major towns, as I did in a few weeks ago in February, public infrastructure is poor – roads, schools and public health facilities are decrepit or absent and access to finance can…

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