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© 2021 Opportunity InternationalOpportunity International United Kingdom is registered as a charity in England and Wales (1107713) and in Scotland (SCO39692).

News Blog

We're in this together: serving our clients during the most challenging of times.

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

In these unprecedented times of the coronavirus pandemic, Opportunity International is taking measures to protect our clients, partners and staff.  We know that any crisis we experience in the UK hits the developing world harder. At a challenging time for us all in the UK, we are maintaining our focus on our clients across Sub-Saharan Africa who, in view of limited resources and weaker healthcare systems, face far greater needs to protect themselves and their families from the virus. Our partners…

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Better Together: Tackling Poverty in Partnership

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

Al Whittaker and David Bussau came together in 1971 to launch what we now know as Opportunity International. They were pioneers in recognising the benefits of financial services for people living in poverty in developing countries. Nearly 50 years later Opportunity International is a thriving network focussed around the continuing need to bring banking to the poor.  The network of Opportunity International Support Members from the UK, US, Australia, Germany and Canada continues to work as one, serving…

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A Journey to Ghana

by Sharon Williams, Development Manager

This International Women’s Day we have a story full of hope and potential. So come with us on a journey to Ghana in celebration of this special day.......   Iddrisu is with her youngest child who made the journey to Accra with her. (Photo: Daniella Hawkins)  Iddrisu is a young, outgoing and ambitious women. She is also a single parent to three children aged 8, 5 and 1. Like many living in Ghana’s northern region, she is poor, having had a limited education and few opportunities to lift…

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Changing Lives with Effective Enterprise

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

In November last year I visited our work in Uganda.  I was struck by the many stories of change that were shared with me. Time and time again I heard how providing access to financial training, loans and savings has changed lives. Group lending underpins our core work, it is the bedrock of the microfinance movement and still works  as effectively today as it always has. Opportunity has been working with trust groups for over 40 years. I visited the Peace Musooli Trust Group in Gayanza –  in…

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The pressing need to support refugees in Uganda

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

Uganda hosts the third largest population of refugees in the world, after Turkey and Pakistan.  Forced displacement now affects the lives of 71 million women, men and children - imagine the entire population of the UK and Ireland on the move! No one doubts the generosity of Uganda’s government and people to the 1.3 million refugees and displaced people who settle there - many of whom come from South Sudan, DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.  Some doubts have been recently cast on the exact numbers as certain…

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Bridging the Humanitarian and Development divide

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

This last month I’ve been thinking a lot about Refugees.  In November I met Therese  (pictured below) in Nakivale refugee settlement in southern Uganda.  Theresa is from the Democratic Republic of Congo from which she fled with her children after her husband was taken by rebel militia.  She arrived at Nakivale in September 2019 and currently lives in the resettlement centre waiting to receive her plot of land to build a home on.  She receives two meals a day.   Therese is ambitious and determined…

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People don’t want handouts; they want an Opportunity

by Jenny Dunn, Communications Manager

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting one of our new projects working with Refugees in Uganda, which aims to provide up to 20,000 refugee with access to savings, loans and financial training so they can start to build secure businesses.  I was there to meet and interview refugees, to find out how our project could support them and meet their needs.  Nakivale Refugee Settlement is home to some 120,000 refugees and has approximately 400 new arrivals each week.  Over 50% of refugees are…

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A Christmas Letter from the CEO

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

I am thrilled to be part of Opportunity International and have been amazed by the commitment and generosity of our donors. It has enabled millions of people to build secure lives for themselves, their families and their communities. At a time of many global challenges, Opportunity International is on the frontline, serving some of world’s poorest communities. One of the things that excites me most about Opportunity International, and why I wanted to be part of it, is how it provides a hand up…

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The Power of Opportunity to transform people's lives

by Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive

Sam Bickersteth started as Chief Executive of Opportunity International UK on 1st October 2019.  Sam has been working on agriculture, livelihoods and climate change challenges in Africa Asia and Latin America for more than 30 years.  This last week has been Financial Inclusion Week looking specifically at questions around the purpose and approach for microfinance through the lens of financial inclusion.  Being new to Opportunity International I’ve been delving into the figures around microfinance….Recent…

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Introducing Bettina

by Kelly Jennings-Robinson

Bettina is 24 and currently expecting her third child. She left school after completing primary education which is free in Malawi. Secondary school is not. Her parents could not afford the fees so she could not continue her studies. She wanted to carry on.  Living in a remote village in rural Malawi, Bettina had little access to vocational skills training or finance after she left school. When Opportunity International visited her village and offered a new programme focussed on empowering young…

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