Mr. Bernard Kervyn -
Bernard Kervyn was born in Bruges January 8th, 1952. With a master’s degree from IAG (UCL) in 1976, he quickly left for Bangladesh, decision made several years earlier. For him, if life has meaning, one can not accept poverty and injustice. In Bangladesh, he will coordinate Frères des Hommes programs for 9 years. Back in Europe he led the communications team in France and Belgium, involving movements in solidarity, particularly with the victims of the Apartheid regime like “Free the Children” for children imprisoned by the former regime. Anxious to develop his management experience, he joined the General Electric Medical Systems marketing team, where he covered Europe for a group of imaging products. But quickly reminded by his thirst to intervene with the poor, he left for Vietnam, fascinated by the will of its people to get by, but hampered by many obstacles, especially credit. For him the efficiency and good management are even more essential within solidarity organizations, where it is essential to be aiming for excellence. Cofounder of Mekong Plus, he launches a vast program “Bank of the Poor” until the banks themselves adapt their conditions and allow the majority to borrow at reasonable rates. Human development is core to him: he participated in the establishment of two Vietnamese NGOs that span nearly 600 villages. He developed a microcredit program for extremely poor who live in dire straits on less than half a dollar a day. This program has already helped 12,000 households and is growing. With Mekong Plus he develops two principles: strong local participation, even the poorest, and integrated development. Each year 100,000 villagers participate in the march for solidarity, and contribute to a fund for scholarships. Listening to the villagers he goes in new directions: school health, screening for disabilities, constructions of small bridges and roads in the Mekong Delta, social enterprise. Fluent in Vietnamese, he learned the Khmer and expands its operations in neighbouring Cambodia. His greatest satisfaction: nearly 300 employees totally mobilized in the Mekong Plus programs.
Bernard Kervyn was called as expert by various agencies like DANIDA, CIDA, Oxfam etc. One of his projects – waste recycling and compost, has been awarded by the World Bank. Recently published a small book: “A passion: 20 years with Vietnamese peasants.”