Live Blog: Opportunity International

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Presenter:
Kadita “A.T.” Tshibaka from Gambia
Opportunity International
www.opportunity.org

Many years ago, a scholarship was given to Kadita to go to school in America. He had been selected out of 144 Gambians. He got his MBA and his undergrad in four years at Dartmouth! He worked his way up in Citibank. Ultimately it took him to Opportunity International.

Geography Lesson: Gambia

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What Opportunity International Does
Opportunity International’s mission is to help people in abject poverty to lift themselves out of poverty. They work primarily with the working poor. It is not “us doing it for them,” but supporting others to do so themselves through microloans and other means.

Opportunity has over 40 supporting entities including 17 formal banking institutions. They have more than 1.6 million clients (a.k.a. the working poor) worldwide. Of that, they have more than 800,000 insurance policies to help the poor who emerge from poverty from falling back into destitution. Some policies are very creative, such as weather-indexed crop insurance.

Funding is from individuals, foundations, corporations, and churches.

They spend 6-8 weeks with their clients before they are given loans. The approach is wholistic. The average first loan is usually around $150.

Amazingly, similar to Kiva.org, 98% of micro-loans through Opportunity International are repaid.

Many of their clients are women. Some of these women have families who’ve been afflicted with HIV/AIDS.

It is important to remember that we cannot do it all by ourselves. So they partner with such groups as Compassion International and World Vision in certain areas.

Also, they are partnered with Kiva.  Jessica Jackley, creator of Kiva.org, is on their Board of Directors.

The greatest thing that Kadita hopes for is that everyone he speaks with would know the importance of caring for the poor.  It is first about God, and it is next about the poor.

Next up: Nuru International

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