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A world free from poverty

Opportunity International envisions a world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose. By providing a full range of financial services combined with training, Opportunity International empowers people to transform their lives, their children’s futures, and their communities. By 2020, the organization aims to sustain or create 20 million jobs impacting 100 million lives in the developing world.

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A Different World

Opportunity and the Cisco Foundation are designing and testing innovative digital solutions that will empower people to work their way out of poverty and create jobs in their communities.

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Freedom from poverty through innovative solutions

More than 2.5 billion people globally lack access to financial services like loans, insurance, and savings accounts, making it difficult for them to start their own businesses, protect their crops, or save for their children’s education. Opportunity International helps people not only support themselves and their families, but empowers them to contribute to their local economy and create new jobs for their neighbors as well.

Opportunity International serves:

  • 5.9 million clients with savings accounts
  • 5.5 million clients with loans
  • 3.7 million clients with digital banking
  • 2.3 million children through Education Finance
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A powerful partnership

The partnership between Opportunity International and Cisco began with early-stage seed funding to design and test digital financial services. These services were designed to impact critical industries like agriculture, education, and health to further promote economic growth.

More than 450K people were positively impacted in six countries in Africa during the first 36 months. Based on the success of the initial funding, Cisco has continued and deepened its partnership with Opportunity International. Currently, Cisco is working with Opportunity International to extend digitization across the organization and among its clients with the goal of:

  • Improving organizational efficiency
  • Facilitating the ability to reach more people with affordable and relevant financial services
  • Gathering and evaluating data for better decision-making
  • Developing new programs and refining existing programs
  • Better connecting people to services and resources
  • The 3-year goal of the partnership is to create 3 million jobs and positively impact 20 million people. In FY17, Opportunity created 1 million jobs and reached 6.3 million people via digital financial solutions.

    Fingerscanning with biometric technology. Ellen Patrick puts money on the Opportunity bank at Mathambi Village, Malawi.

    Changing the world together

    The founders of Opportunity International believed that if they offered appropriate and convenient banking services, people would use them. Early involvement by Cisco has helped Opportunity International take the seed of this idea, prove it, and now extend the number of people the organization can reach and deepen the impact.

    The next phase for Opportunity International is expansion of their financial services and training via digital strategies. The goal is to achieve scale in a sustainable manner that still maximizes impact. As part of its effort, the organization will increase access to quality education, enhance agricultural value chains to grow and improve small farms, and provide Community Health Leaders with new digital tools.

    Cisco is excited to partner with Opportunity International as it embraces digitization to empower those living in poverty.

    "We are excited about our partnership with Opportunity International, which is leveraging the power of digitization to empower individuals and entrepreneurs to work their way out of poverty and build sustainable futures for themselves and their families, and contribute to economic development in their communities."

    Charu Adesnik, Deputy Director, Cisco Foundation

    Our impact

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    Education sector

    Girls’ literacy in Uganda increased 61% more at schools financed by school improvement loans compared to girls at non-financed schools. An evaluation of Ugandan school proprietor programs revealed that an average of 18.6 jobs are created within communities when a local school proprietor received a school improvement loan.

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    Health sector

    71% of community members trained by Community Health Facilitators have changed their behavior to improve their health, and the health of their families.

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    Agriculture sector

    Opportunity coffee farmer clients experienced a 44% increase in yields, compared to a 23% decrease in yields for non-farmer clients. 68% of agricultural clients report being better able to afford basic education needs for their children, compared to 42% of non-clients.

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    Women's financial inclusion and livelihoods

    86%+ of women clients in India report improvements in well-being after receiving their loans, and a 58-66% increase in monthly income.