After a two year break, leading tier one Sacco educates its members through a series of well attended meetings
By George Gichuki
Globally, co-operatives operate under the same core-principles and values. These are clearly defined by the International Co-operative Alliance. Underpinning this model are seven principles of co-operatives including: open and voluntary membership, democratic member control, members’ economic participation, autonomy and independence, co-operation among co-operatives, concern for community as well as education, training and information.
Education, training and information helps members, elected representatives and management teams to become effective participants in the running and development of their respective co-operatives. It is against this background that Mentor Sacco, a leading tier one Sacco in Kenya with an asset base of over Kshs.10.1 billion successfully organized a series of members’ education days in May. This important programme had been disrupted for two years by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Scores of members thronged the venues of the key event in Mentor Sacco’s annual calendar. It ran for three consecutive Saturdays with facilitators educating members on financial literacy, the importance of joining Saccos and the need of planning for retirement among other key topics. Its theme was: ‘Consolidating success through members’ education.’
Speaking at Ikumbi Primary school in Kigumo electoral area during the climax of the highly successful event, Mr. Anthony Kamau, the Chairman of Mentor Sacco said: “We really value educating our members because it enables them to make the right decisions regarding their financial well-being and how to strengthen their Sacco.” Mr. Kamau was thankful to the members for patronizing Mentor Sacco and contributing immensely to its fast growth. Going by the current trend, he was confident that the Sacco would continue growing in profitability as well as asset base and ultimately attain a membership of 50,000 by 2025, as outlined in its current strategic plan.
Addressing members in the same venue, Ms. Wairimu Mwangi, the co-operative officer, Kigumo sub county urged them to aggressively market Mentor Sacco to their friends and relatives. “As members and shareholders of Mentor Sacco, you have the right to attend and participate in its Annual General Meetings (AGMs) where key decisions are made,” she said. “You also have the right to elect and to be elected in the Sacco’s organs, subject to its by-laws,” she added. She reminded the members that in order to enjoy such rights, they must have fully paid the share capital, besides being active contributors of the ordinary deposits agreed upon every month.
Ms. Mwangi emphasized that the core business of Mentor Sacco is mobilizing savings among its members and giving them credit. In that vein, she encouraged the women members to emulate their male counterparts in applying for loans from the Sacco.
Further, she advised members to be careful while guaranteeing their colleagues to take loans since in case of any default, they will be obliged to shoulder the repayment burden. In the same breath, Ms. Mwangi advised members to update their next of kin records in order to avoid unnecessary legal disputes should they happen to pass on. “Your loans are insured and therefore your next of kin cannot bear the burden of settling them if you unfortunately pass on,” she observed. Finally, she urged members to transact using the Sacco’s mobile banking platform, as opposed to visiting its branches in person, in order to save valuable time and money.