The Anglican Church of Kenya has advised women and youth to join Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (Saccos) to achieve economic empowerment.
Bishop Dr James Muchai of Nakuru ACK Diocese said most youth who comprise 70 per cent of Kenya’s population lacked a saving culture which led to the collapse of most of government and private sector initiatives meant to empower them economically.
Dr Muchai said that women empowerment function can be better served by SACCOs adding that unlike banks they never require securities such as pay slips, land ownership documents and vehicle log books which most women did not have.
Speaking in Nakuru during the launch of the Diocese’s ACK Imani Talent Sacco, the cleric cited the 3,600 youth recently recruited under the Public Service Internship Programme (PSIP) as individuals who need to join Saccos to save money for future investment.
Interns in public service will be attached to government ministries, departments and agencies for placements lasting from 12 to 18 months and will receive monthly stipends of between Sh20, 000 and Sh30, 000.
The primate said the Anglican Church of Kenya had inaugurated Saccos in five Dioceses under the auspices of the Five Talents Kenya Board.
Dr Muchai noted that following a Sh1 billion budgetary allocation by the National Assembly to the PSIP programme, Saccos presented the best opportunity for the interned youth to save capital that will enable them initiate income generating projects.
The Chairman of the Five Talents Board Kenya Rev. (Dr) Gideon Githiga said the five Saccos in Thika, Embu and Nakuru regions had already been registered, having satisfied the conditions set by the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (Sasra).
Nakuru ACK Imani Talent Sacco has already enrolled 2,086 members from the eleven sub-counties of Nakuru Town West, Nakuru Town East, Subukia, Bahati, Gilgil, Naivasha, Rongai, Kuresoi North and South, Molo and Njoro.
Rev. Githiga said members of the co-operative would be required to save at least Sh100 per month and would qualify to borrow up to three times their savings after making consistent deposits for six months.
Sacco loans would attract a one per cent interest.
“The best way to empower our youth is by encouraging them to save. We want to ensure they are responsible. What has made some of the youth initiatives fail is because some of them don’t feel the pinch of misusing the money once they get it,” he said.
He reiterated that the church was committed to economic empowerment of women in the county and added that friendly loan interest terms offered by the Saccos had been crafted to encourage them to venture into small and medium scale business.
The Saccos, he said, were open to Church members and others in the community, youth and women groups from respective areas where they had been launched. Rev (Dr) Githiga said one could also join as an individual.
A visually impaired resident of Subukia Sub County Paul Ndirangu said he had immensely benefited from the ACK Imani Talent Sacco predecessor Nakuru Enterprise Board which had enabled him access credit and tender for government projects.
Ndirangu said cash saved in financial institutions can be easily spent because it is easy to access unlike money deposited in Saccos
“You cannot save money in a financial institution to the magnitude of those in a Sacco and plan for it well. I am encouraging persons living with disabilities, women and the youth to join Saccos,” he said.
Ndirangu said this would also reduce crime. “A larger group is recognized by financial institutions and I am calling on youth even if they are jobless to join cooperative societies and start saving whatever little money they earn,” he said.
He said through savings he had been able to enroll his spouse who is also visually impaired into an Early Childhood Education Development training programme and had been awarded Sh600, 000 tender for a project by the County government
Rosemary Wanjiru said by joining Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies women will enjoy many goodies including low interest rates on loans compared to those offered by banks
In the recent past Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (Saccos) have been re-thinking their business models in a bid to survive growing competition for deposits from commercial banks.
The Saccos latest change in strategy involves an escalation of its target market by bringing under its armpit a more vibrant, dynamic and ambitious youthful population, which constitutes more than 50 per cent of the population.
The move is part of the Saccos’ growth and expansion strategy aimed at consolidating their deposit base and bolstering their revenue reserves through diversification and extension of their niche markets.
By Jane Ngugi and Dennis Rasto