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Rotary Club of Powell River donation helps female entrepreneurs

Kiva loans have a 90-plus percent return rate
HELPFUL CONTRIBUTIONS: A committee of members of The Rotary Club of Powell River review applications and choose recipients of Kiva loans. They are [from left] Jill Ehgoetz, Bente Hansen and Lisa Gunn.

Small amounts of money make a huge difference in the lives of female entrepreneurs around the world.

The Rotary Club of Powell River most recently sent funds to women in Tajikistan, Colombia, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Peru the Philippines and Kenya through Kiva, which was founded in San Francisco in 2005 to provide crowd-funded microloans globally to underserved individuals.

“Our club has budgeted $1,000 annually for this worthy endeavour,” said Bente Hansen, international and youth director. “We have a small committee that reviews a list of borrowers and decides which ones to fund.”

Some of the borrowers that received funds recently used them to pay workers to harvest coffee and cacao beans, purchase cows, goods or produce for their stores, seed potatoes and fertilizer, millet and maize to make bread, and a fishing net.

“The loans are typically a small amount; ours are usually $100 each,” explained Hansen. “The wonderful thing is that there is a more than a 90-per-cent return rate on repayment.”

Kiva has lending partners in more than 70 countries on five continents. These organizations develop high-quality services for their communities, screen borrowers, connect them with Kiva, post loan requests to Kiva for funding, disburse loans on the ground and collect repayments.

Many provide services in addition to their loans, such as entrepreneurial training, literacy skills, lending quality seed and farming inputs, and providing access to savings accounts and insurance. Lending partners all share one thing in common: the desire to improve people’s lives through safe and fair access to credit.

To learn more about Kiva, go to

The local Rotary club raises money for both local and international projects.

“People can see Rotary projects throughout qathet region,” said 2022/2023 president Ross Cooper. “They include many improvements at Willingdon Beach, beginning with the campsite and including the impressive pavilion; the viewpoint with its memorial bricks; and playground equipment at Palm Beach and Texada Island, just to name a few.”

Hansen added that past international projects include sending containers of medical and dental supplies to a clinic in Morocco and education supplies to a school in Nepal. Currently in combination with other Rotary clubs on the Sunshine Coast, the club is sponsoring a school with mother teachers in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

“When you support Rotary,” said Hansen, “you help people right in our own community and around the world.”

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