16 October 2017 – Opportunity International says the United Nations’ International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October honours families as they work to free themselves from poverty.
Opportunity Global Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Dunn, says: “Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Global poverty has halved since its inception, but we still have much work to do to completely eradicate poverty in developing countries.
“Opportunity is driven by the complex needs and aspirations of families living in poverty. When planning for a family’s participation in our programs, we explore its journey to freedom, its pathway out of poverty. We ask: “What will give the family choices?” and “What will give the family purpose?”
“Opportunity has a broader social mission than economic change. Poverty is not just about money. It has many faces, so it’s more useful to look at it in terms of power. Is a woman empowered? Can she make decisions in her family? Is she at risk? Is there a domestic violence issue in her home?
“So, we partner not only with financial organisations that can make loans, we partner with family violence counsellors. We partner with health education organisations. And we measure movements out of poverty.
“We measure a raft of social indicators. For if there is no school, or if families are always sick from the polluted water in the well (because there are no toilets in the community and everyone defecates in the open), then how can a woman run a little business? How can she be a businesswoman if she is always sick? How does she educate her children if there is no school? We need to know about those things as well. That’s why we’re concerned with water, sanitation and health. We fund water and sanitation programs. We fund health programs. It’s different for different people in different environments.
“There’s no silver bullet to poverty alleviation and that’s why when we look at impact we look at the whole effect of our programs on the lives of families living in poverty,” he added.
Allan English, Founder and Executive Chairman of Silver Chef and Opportunity Council member says: “It’s inspiring to see how Opportunity has expanded the range of services it provides to families living in poverty.
“As well as microfinance, Opportunity provides education loans to parents so their children can go to school. Opportunity trains health leaders so they can educate their communities about hygiene, preventative health and first aid. And Opportunity provides financial literacy training, loans to build toilets and access clean water, agricultural loans and loans to buy mobile phones to help families to run their businesses.”
Annie Crawford, Founder and Chairman of Can Too and Opportunity Council member agrees. She says: “I respect the way Opportunity partners with local organisations on the ground in developing countries. This ensures services such as financial tools, education and health programs are delivered in a culturally aware and sensitive manner that allows for communities to take charge of making the necessary changes to improve their own lives.”
If you would like to honour the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty by supporting families as they work their way out of poverty, click here.