AN APT THEME AS THE 2023 USHIRIKA DAY IS CELEBRATED

The National Chairman, Kenya National Police DT Sacco Mr. David Mategwa receiving the Best Managed Sacco Countrywide trophy from H.E Dr. William Samoei Ruto, Kenya’s President during the National Ushirika Day Celebration-2023.
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Solidarity, pomp and show during a day that is close to the hearts of the co-operative movement globally

By George Gichuki

Known in Kenya as Ushirika Day, the International Day of Co-operatives has been celebrated globally since July 1923 in collaboration with the International Co-operative Alliance. The day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1995. Traditionally, it is marked every year on the first Saturday of July. Its objective is to increase awareness on the role of co-operatives in the society and their contributions to resolving the major challenges facing mankind.

Rahab Wangechi, branch manager Nairobi, NewFortis Sacco listening keenly to a
customer during 2023 National Ushirika Day celebrations at KICC Comesa Grounds,
Nairobi.

Sustainable development

The day’s theme this year was: Co-operatives: partners for accelerated sustainable development.’ The theme was quite inspiring given the pivotal role that the co-operative movement plays in the socio-economic development of the entire world. “ The theme provides an opportunity to showcase how the co-operative business model can augment partnerships for development sustainably,” said Hon. Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Co-operatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development in his message to celebrate the day. “ As we pull together with determination, a shared vision will surely give co-operatives a sustainable future,” he emphasized.

In his message, Mr. Patrick Kiburu, the Permanent Secretary, State Department of Co-operatives observed : “ The human-centred co-operative business model is inspired by the co-operative values of self-help, self- responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity and ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.” He added : “ Such values will provide the glue that bind the partnerships so developed.”

Emphasizing further on the appropriateness of this year’s theme, Mr. Maccloud Malonza, Chairman, national council for Ushirika Day celebrations said : “ The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015 as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, acknowledges the urgent call for action by all countries – developing and developed alike – in a global partnership to strengthen and extend relations between the international co-operative movement and other development actors.” He added : “ We are mid- way in the attainment of these goals.”

FROM LEFT: Mr.Thomas Mbugua and Mr.Peter Njenga, Directors, Mentor Sacco pose with trophies won during the 2023 National Ushirika Day.

Critical role

In Kenya, the co-operative sector plays a critical role in facilitating access to credit, procurement as well as storage of inputs and marketing of produce. Additionally, it creates employment opportunities especially in the rural areas , besides allowing disadvantaged groups to gain social and economic benefits. Significantly, co-operatives in Kenya contribute 40% to the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) and 31% of the national savings. By the same token, they provide financial services to over six million households across various sectors of the economy.

There are over twenty eight thousand co-operative societies registered in Kenya, drawing a membership of over 18 million and an asset base of over Kshs. 1.5 trillion. In the same vein, they have mobilized over Kshs. 1 trillion in form of savings and deposits, with a loan portfolio of over Kshs. 980 billion. The sector has employed more than 500,000 Kenyans directly and three million indirectly. By and large, co-operatives play an important role in aggregation, primary processing, transport, marketing, savings mobilization and financial inclusion.

A draft bill has been developed for Kenya’s co-operative sector given its dynamism and importance. Through this bill , the Sacco Societies Act will be amended. This will lead to the establishment of the central liquidity and shared services facility. The facility shall provide for inter-cooperative short term borrowing, access to the national payment system and provision of common shared services to the Saccos. The Sacco sub-sector holds thirty per cent of the total national savings and it directly employs 500,000 people and about 1 million indirectly.

Members of the public are taken through the products and services of Stima Sacco during the 2023 National Ushirika Day exhibition.

Winners

The guest of honour during this year’s Ushirika Day celebrations was Kenya’s President, Dr. William Ruto. He presented an award to Kenya National Police DT Sacco for attaining position one (Best Managed Sacco countrywide). The tier one Sacco also attained position one in the following categories :best in capitalization countrywide–deposit taking Sacco employer based Sacco tier one; best managed deposit taking Sacco, employer based Sacco tier one and best in credit management deposit taking Sacco, employer based Sacco tier one. Finally, it attained position three : best in deposit management, deposit taking Sacco, employer based Sacco tier one.

During the event’s gala, Mentor Sacco – a leading tier one Sacco – received three awards. It attained position one for being the best in risk management countrywide. Mentor also attained position one – best in risk management among the deposit taking Saccos –employer based Sacco- tier one. Finally, the Sacco attained position three – employer based Saccos – tier one.

Stima DT Sacco got two awards during the gala (both position three). They were: best in technology optimization (deposit taking Saccos , employer based Sacco tier one) and best in technology optimization (countrywide).

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