International (MNN) — Clementine Uzabakiriho and Andre Habiyabmere, sorghum
processors in Rwanda,
became Opportunity International's one millionth active loan clients in
At the end of the year, over 1.1 million people had received
micro-loans from the ministry, which works through indigenous partner
organizations to provide small business loans, other financial services,
training, and counsel to the poor all over the world.
"The stories we tell are about transformation –
transformation of individuals, families, and entire communities, and it all
starts with the multitude of financial services we are bringing to people who
desperately need them," says Christopher A. Crane, CEO of Opportunity
He is especially pleased with the progress made by the
"multiplier effect" in 2007. Every $100
donated to Opportunity International now makes $274 available to finance
entrepreneurial projects undertaken by the world's poor. This multiplication is made possible by
savings accounts that Opportunity International manages for its clients.
Donations are combined with the money in the savings
accounts to finance more micro-loans for the poor, who use the loans to build
successful businesses. They then invest
their profits in a savings account, making funds available to finance more
loans. Since 98 percent of the loans are
repaid, every donation to Opportunity International goes to work repeatedly to
finance entrepreneurship in poor communities.
Loan clients join Trust Groups, which are groups of people
who guarantee one another's loans. They
also meet weekly for training from loan officers. 84 percent of loan recipients are women. Opportunity International also provides
micro-insurance and innovative banking solutions to people who would not
normally have access to banking services.