Lydia Baffour Awuah has Opportunity International running through her veins. Like most of our clients, income from her mother’s small trading business in Ghana enabled Lydia to go to school and university.
In 2000 Lydia started working for Opportunity Ghana as a Loan Officer. Over the years she has worked in various roles and, on completing a Masters in International Development at the University of Bath, she is now based in our UK Office as a Senior Programme Manager. She regularly returns to Africa to conduct monitoring visits.
Here Lydia reflects on how she has seen Opportunity International continually adapt to put the needs of the poor first.
"As an organisation we keep looking for ways to overcome the barriers of poverty. From using biometric technology to developing finance products for schools and farmers, we are always adapting to take into consideration specific circumstances and needs. For example, agriculture is seasonal and so profit to repay loans will come a lot later, after harvest, than a traditional loan model – it’s good to offer a loan product that works with the seasonal timescales and training needs of the farmers we serve.
We have also developed how we track and monitor our impact, moving away from a finance focus to a social impact focus – measuring whether children can now attend school and if homes have been improved etc – indicators of true transformation! It’s a privilege to be part of such innovative and life changing work."
This photo shows Lydia (centre) with Opportunity International’s Head of Agriculture, Isaac Kojo Gyesi (left), and agricultural expert, Scholastica Ahieken (right). They are visiting Kwame Ntim’s cabbage farm in Offinso, Southern Ghana. Kwame receives regular training from Scholastica and, alongside his Opportunity International loan, has increased his harvest this year from 30 to 40 bags. Find our more about our work with farmers here.
(Lydia is a Senior Programme Manager in the Opportunity International UK team)