Where We Work Colombia
Get facts about poverty in Colombia and learn how we empower its people to work their way out of poverty and build a safety net for the future.
Opportunity International’s very first loan was made in Colombia in 1971. Since then, we’ve been working to provide stable financial systems as a way to reduce unemployment, social unrest and violence in the country. Our vision is to establish a national-scale bank offering loans, savings, insurance and training to Colombians living in poverty. In a country where more than 12.7 million people live on less than $2 a day and only 2.5 percent are using microfinance services, Opportunity Colombia is enabling marginalized people, especially women, to engage in the local economy, overcome extreme poverty and build stronger communities. Currently, more than 75% of Opportunity Colombia clients are women.
Opportunity International’s first branch opened in Bogotá in 1993. In June 2012, Opportunity Colombia officially became a deposit-taking financial institution, which allowed it to offer savings opportunities to clients. As a complement to its financial services, the bank integrates various transformation activities, including:
Empowering youth: Opportunity Colombia’s Youth Entrepreneurship program is committed to providing a better future for the next generation. Operating in Sincelejo, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cartagena and Magangue, 440 young adults have received training and created pilot business plans.
Holistic staff and client training: Loan officers deliver relevant training to clients within Trust Groups. A comprehensive series of DVDs explores themes including values, stewardship, generosity, budgeting, the importance of saving and basic business management skills. A robust training program for 700 Trust Group leaders covers subjects including effective leadership and building on the power of a group.
Improving quality of life: Opportunity Colombia provides loans to help clients improve living conditions, resulting in better health, water supply, sanitation and housing. Families receive home improvement loans through the Techo y Piso (Roof and Floor) and Cocinas y Baños (Kitchens and Bathrooms) initiatives; loans are used for structural enhancements that result in a significant improvement in family health and quality of life.
Additional Services Offered
- Business loans: Trust Group, Solidarity Group, individual and small/medium enterprise
- Savings: Personal savings, long-term deposits