Despite having been formed around four years ago and with over $8,000 given out by Bellevue College’s KIVA team to over 300 groups of people, recent years have not shown much activity. “We didn’t really fall through on promoting it much” said Dr. Robert Viens, the dean of science of bellevue college and a founding member of the Bellevue College KIVA team.
KIVA, a micro-lending organization, provides a platform for individuals to give loans to people in need of money to jump-start all kinds of efforts, such as businesses and education. Help can be channeled to anyone around the world through microfinance institutions located in almost 70 different countries.
“It serves as a bank for you,” Viens mentioned. “The money will be returned and can be taken back or even loaned out again. There will be no interest, but I know people are making use of it in the world and the money makes an impact.”
KIVA’s website provides users with all kinds of information. Users will be able to read about the people needing help and information about them, such as their business, when they will pay back, default protection and risk rating. Users could also monitor progress and see pictures and other details.
One reason why Viens loans is because he wants his son and daughter to grow up in a healthy and equitable planet. “I feel strongly about social justice, and I like a system that allows people to progress to where they want to go.” For Dr.Viens, sustainability is a big issue, and how it overlaps with social justice interests him. A year into participating in KIVA, Dr.Viens realized that he could form a team and did so. With BC’s very own KIVA team, students, clubs and staff can work together on improving the standards of life of many.
“It’s a good time to get it more active and try to recruit new members, do more with students and student groups. See if others want to get involved again. We’re trying to revitalize it,” Dr. Viens mentioned, also stating that he will continue to spread messages regularly and make the public aware. He also thinks that having a student to lead those efforts would be great, and that the door is still wide open.
Anyone joining now or inviting friends to KIVA will receive free loans, meaning that anyone can be involved and loan without ever putting any money in. Furthermore, with a high payback rate and the well-established system and website of KIVA, doing your part in alleviating poverty has never been easier and more convenient. Money will be returned and efforts head towards sustainability, instead of temporary aids that do not last.
As the old saying goes, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Faisal Jaswal and Teresa McClane-Jaswal will be matching the first 10 donations, but neither were available for comment.
For more information about KIVA visit www.kiva.org .