Opportunity International & MicroEnsure Launch EduSave to Provide Education Safety Net to 1,000,000 children in Malawi by 2014

Similar products to be launched in Uganda and Ghana

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Student at Ridgeway School in Uganda

Lilongwe, Malawi (PRWEB) March 20, 2013

Establishing a valuable safety net to protect the educational livelihood of children, Opportunity International today announced the launch of EduSave, a savings-plus-insurance product designed together with MicroEnsure to ensure that the death of a parent no longer means resetting the cycle of poverty.

The savings-linked education insurance product had its first country-wide launch in Malawi on March 8. The product launched with 35,000 qualifying savers in Ghana just one week later and a similar product, called Opportunity Legacy and designed with a separate insurance outlet, is expected to launch in Uganda in April.

EduSave, which allows savers to qualify for school fees insurance with as little as $15 in the bank, will ensure that children stay in school for a year or more after the death of their parents while they access alternative solutions. School dropout due to death of a parent is one of the leading causes of non-completion, and ensures that the poverty cycle repeats for yet another generation.

Under EduSave, when a parent saves $15, they receive a no-cost insurance cover of $75 for their children’s education, redeemable should they die or become permanently disabled. As the parent saves more, the education insurance rises accordingly, with the insurance cover multiplying by five times the savings balance at each new level - parents can earn up to $1,400 in insurance for free.

When EduSave launched in Malawi, 170,000 savings accounts in Malawi were at qualifying balances. With an average of approximately 4.3 children per saver, 646,000 children are now automatically covered against the loss of their educational future. Regionally, these products will cover more than 1,000,000 children by the middle of this year.

Nathan Byrd, Opportunity International’s Head of Education Finance, said the EduSave product was developed as part of the organization’s continuous efforts to build a landscape of inclusion for all children in the developing world, where they are best positioned to break free of the poverty cycle.

“In the developing world, a child’s ability to access education is immediately at risk should a parent die. Without education, the likelihood of breaking out of poverty is slim. This insurance gives them a fighting chance should something happen to their parents, such as death or a permanent disability,” Byrd said.

Byrd continued, “This product represents exactly what we are working to do in Education Finance – give children the opportunity to overcome the major challenges that continually plague millions of children’s ability to continue their education. If we can keep children in school longer, they have a better chance of breaking the poverty cycle, not just for themselves, but for their families, and their entire lineage moving forward. “

"With the launch of EduSave,” says Peter Gross, MicroEnsure’s Business Development Manager for Africa, “hundreds of thousands of Malawians will be formally protected from risk for the first time in their lives. Based on a 2012 study of micro insurance in the country, EduSave will nearly double the number of Malawians with micro insurance coverage. We are pleased to grow our partnership with Opportunity International and to provide this innovative product for those who need it most."

About Opportunity International
Opportunity International provides access to savings, small business loans, insurance and training to over five million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in over 20 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future. For more information, visit http://www.opportunity.org or join the conversation at http://facebook.com/opportunityintl and http://twitter.com/opportunityintl.

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Contact:
Nathan Byrd, Opportunity International, Head of Education Finance
nbyrd(at)opportunity(dot)net, M: +(254) 786 577 173

Stacey Zolt Hara, Opportunity International, VP of Communications
shara(at)opportunity(dot)org , M:+1 (312) 965 1038


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