BEATRICE and her family are among the many that were helped by the money raised from the appeal last year.
Full Name: Beatrice Boaten
City, Country: Kumasi, Ghana
Children: five aged 18 to 34
Husband: David, age 72
What type of business do you operate?
I own a three acre cocoa farm and my husband also has his own three acres of cocoa. I inherited mine from my father. We both farm cocoa and also oil palm and plantain; but cocoa is our most profitable crop.
What is your loan history?
My first loan ever was from Opportunity last year for £134. The money allowed me to buy enough fertiliser, gloves, insecticide and spray tools to look after my piece of land.
What kind of training have you received?
Opportunity have given me training in financial management and have shown me how to save, as well as the importance of saving. I had no training in finance before this. Before becoming a farmer I was a teacher and also the headmistress of a school. However I stopped this job several years ago and took retirement. I am meant to get a pension of £40 per month, but most months I receive nothing.
How did the loan from Opportunity help in both your business and personal life?
The loan is good because it means that my farm is more productive. I can now make more money and look after my family which makes me very happy.
How has your business grown since you came to Opportunity?
Before the loan I had a very small yield. My yield has definitely increased with the use of the inputs like the fertiliser and insecticide. I would say about a 20 per cent increase this year. Next year I want to double this.
How has your Opportunity experience changed your life?
Because of the loan I am now a lot more financially secure. I have been able to build an extension next to my house to accommodate more family, which has helped to improve the relationships within the family. We now eat much better and we are able to buy things that we couldn’t afford before like soap and shoes. We are living better than we have ever done and I am lucky to be able to pay for things for other people in the community when they need them.
What is the best thing about having found Opportunity?
Before Opportunity came along I had always wanted to extend my house. Now I have done this I know now that as long as Opportunity is around I can achieve my financial goals. For me, being able to achieve these goal is very important. It means my family and I can be comfortable and have hope for the future.
4.2m jobs have been created or sustained since 2011. Each job, on average, benefits a household of five
£140 average agricultural loan
98 per cent of all loans are repaid
84 per cent of the clients are women. Women reinvest business profits into their children’s education, nutrition and healthcare
900,000 people in Africa have an Opportunity International savings account
“I am delighted that City A.M. and Opportunity International have again partnered for this very special appeal. Having visited Opportunity International’s work I have seen first hand the difference that its microfinance programmes make to poor people. A small loan of £140 can transform a poor person’s business and give them a hand-up out of poverty. I am sure that the readers of City A.M. understand the value of this approach and will support this appeal.”
Princess Anne, HRH The Princess Royal, Opportunity’s Patron
“ Opportunity International provides micro-finance and business training and works to improve financial literacy around the world. These priorities are well aligned with Prudential's corporate responsibility activities through which we deliver projects with an emphasis on education, particularly financial capability. It is a privilege for Prudential to have a chance to support Opportunity International's mission to provide opportunities for people in poverty to improve their lives, their self-belief and their self-esteem.”
Tidjane Thiam Group chief executive, Prudential
“ I’m delighted that for the second year running we’ll be matching pound for pound all public donations to this appeal. That means Opportunity can create jobs and provide loans, insurance and savings schemes for hundreds of thousands more of the poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa, letting them take control of their own lives.”
Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development