At least 44, 000 of the 49, 000 members of Umwalimu Savings and Credit Cooperative (Sacco) in Rwanda have secured a loan from the cooperative, an impact assessment survey shows.
The survey also revealed that Rwf57.9 billion was injected into loan portfolio during the 2013 fiscal year compared to 2.1 billion in 2009.
According to the survey, most teachers sought consumer loans instead of business loans needed to improve their welfare.
The survey aimed at evaluating the cooperative’s contribution toward its members’ socio-economic welfare, so as to inform future planning and decisions.
Speaking at a workshop in Kigali where the findings were made public, yesterday, Joseph Museruka, the Managing Director of Umwalimu SACCO, urged teachers to secure business loans to start income-generating projects which can supplement their salaries.
“Most of the teachers seek loans for education, and building homes. It is good 27 per cent of teachers have built own homes after securing loans. But they should also request for business loans to widen their income base.”
The State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Olivier Rwamukwaya, also advised teachers to think beyond consumer loans in order to transform their lives.
“Teachers should take advantage of the opportunities presented by Sacco,” he said.
The survey shows that teachers’ welfare has improved significantly since the establishment of the Umwalimu SACCO in 2006.
For Cecile Nyirabahire, a teacher from Muhanga District, the cooperative has helped solve many of the members’ problems.
“Before the inception of the Sacco, it was not easy for a primary school teacher to pursue further education, but the school fees loan has made it easier. I even managed to pay for my two children who have since completed their studies,” Nyirabahire said.
Fidèle Rusanganwa, a teacher in Nyarugenge District, said the cooperative’s services that include overdrawing up to three months of one’s salary have helped teachers achieve their goals.
Emmanuel Munyaneza, a teacher from Kamonyi District, however, urged the cooperative to update its ICT platform to ensure quality service delivery.
“We recognise the role of the cooperative in improving our welfare, but we spend a lot of time queuing to withdraw money. They should install automatic teller machines (ATMs) to save time,” Munyaneza said.
Responding to the queries, Museruka said the cooperative has established partnership with 295 Umurenge Saccos to complement the 30 branches spread across the country.
The survey showed that the cooperative made a profit of Rwf1.2 billion in 2013 compared to the Rwf454 million loss in 2009.