Contributed by Sarah Milburn, Business English Communication Instructor, ILSC-Montreal.
For those of you who don’t know, KIVA is a non-profit organisation with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, KIVA lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunities around the world. It was founded in 2005, and since then has grown to a network of 1,398,577 lenders, lending to borrowers in 84 different countries, and has distributed just over $835 million in loans, with a repayment rate of 98.35%!
The beauty of the scheme is that these are loans, not donations. So the money you loan gets repaid to your KIVA account by the borrower, which means that you can then re-loan the money to someone else. To date:
Average KIVA user
135 (to users from 43 different countries)
Total money lent:
Recently, the Business English Communication class at ILSC-Montreal re-loaned money from the account after having done a lot of work on Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility in class. We had decided to take on a number of different projects under the name of ILSC, to support the concept of CSR, and re-loaning the KIVA account money was one of them.
We had $1,000 in our KIVA account that had been repaid by previous borrowers, waiting for us to do some good with it. So the class split into 5 groups and between them they decided to make a total of 26 loans ranging from $25 to $200, to a variety of borrowers from 15 different countries This experience will be one of the things they will consider when doing their course written assignment, which is an opinion piece discussing their support (or not!) of the following statement:
“The goal of business should not be to make as big a profit as possible, Instead, business should also concern itself with the well-being of the public.”
We here at ILSC-Montreal intend to continue loaning (and re-loaning!) money through KIVA – and we post our progress here in the hope that by reading our updates you may also be inspired to become KIVA lenders! One person can make a big difference!