By George Gichuki
Millions of people globally depend on co-operatives to address their daily needs- more so the ones
pertaining to their socio-economic advancement. The International Co-operative Alliance (
ICA) defines a co-operative as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet
their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and
democratically controlled enterprise. Unlike other corporate legal entities or unincorporated bodies,
co-operatives are not for profit but for service. They are people centred enterprises owned and run by and for the
benefit of members thereof in a democratic and equal way, based on one member, one vote rule.
One of the major benefits of co-operatives is sharing of the profits they generate within a specified period of time
among their members. Savings and credit co-operative societies ( Saccos) stand out in this respect. They issue
dividends to their members annually ( after holding their Annual General Meetings). This depends on the profits
they have generated in a given financial year as well as the individual member’s level of deposits. The more a
member deposits, the higher the dividends earned.
Indeed, as the World Savings Day is celebrated at the end of this month, it is important to note that dividends
motivate members to save more. It is an innovate way of rewarding the faithful savers as the Saccos endeavour to
mobilise more funds which they in turn advance to their members in form of credit.
According to the 2022 Sacco Supervision Annual Report by the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority ( SASRA),
the deposit taking Saccos in Ken managed to mobilise deposits amounting to Kshs. 522.59 billion last year. In
the same vein, non-deposit taking Saccos mobilised Kshs. 97.86 billion. This clearly demonstrates that Saccos play
a pivotal role in mobilizing savings among Kenyans. By so doing, they enable their members to engage in various
income generating activities which are instrumental in transforming their lives.