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Oxford, OX4 1AW UK

T: +44 (0)1865 725304

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

Where we Work

Rwanda

Rwanda is ‘the land of a thousand hills’. It is also a fertile land full of opportunities. Agriculture is the main economic activity in Rwanda, with 70% of the population relying on the sector. Tea, coffee, maize, potatoes and cassava are some of its key crops.

With more than 45% of the population living below the poverty line, Opportunity International UK and its local partner Urwego Bank are working to transform the lives of farmers and micro-entrepreneurs through access to knowledge and financial services.

Strengthening Livelihoods in Rural Rwanda

Located in the Itetero (“taking good care” in the local language) is one of dozens Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) supported by Opportunity International UK and Urwego Bank across the country. The group started in 2018 and first borrowed the equivalent of about £1,500. Repayment rate was excellent, so the group went into a second loan cycle for approximately double the amount.

Many of the clients talk about the transformative effect of being members of the VSLA. Accessing formal credit allowed them to expand their activities, both in size and scope. This resulted in disposable income which was re-invested to grow the business and/or used to improve living conditions for the families. Healthy, growing businesses mean the possibility of hiring temporary labour (more than 50% of those who received loans) and even some permanent staff. The beneficial effects of this project have a knock on effect to the wider community.

This project is funded by the Scottish Government

Strengthening Livelihoods in Rural Rwanda

The Ihirwe (“luck” in Kinyarwanda) agricultural cooperative is made up of 42 coffee farmers. This is just one example of the dozens of smallholder farmer cooperatives supported by Opportunity International UK and Urwego bank throughout Rwanda. The group borrowed sums and had excellent repayment rates. These loans were key to improving yield and overall productivity and helped farmers cope with difficult market conditions.

Global coffee price fluctuations no longer meant that farmers would have to abandon their fields and leave the activity of a lifetime – they could now withstand the uncertainty, keep their businesses running and improve conditions for their families.

This project is funded by the Scottish Government

Our Impact

Since 2012, we have worked with thousands of farmers, micro-entrepreneurs, their families and their communities across Rwanda to increase their productivity and incomes.

5,700
savings accounts opened
10,000
households trained in business management, financial literacy and use of digital financial services.
60%
self-reported increase in confidence in using formal financial services
8,000
smallholder farmers trained in Good Agricultural Practices

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