Teachers have been urged to come up with income-generating projects that they can run alongside teaching in order to supplement their salaries.
The chairperson of the Board of Umwalimu Sacco, Jean Marie Vianney Nzagahimana, made the remarks in Huye District at the closure of the training for Umwalimu Sacco administrative and auditing committees from Nyanza, Huye, Gisagara, Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru districts.
Trainees included eight people from each of the five districts, including five who are members of the administrative board and three members of the auditing committee.
The training covered good governance, customer service, teamwork and team building.
Nzagahimana said the training is part of efforts to help uplift teachers’ welfare by giving managerial skills to those running the teachers’ cooperative.
“Teachers have to run profitable businesses to complement their salary,” he said.
He wondered why teachers lag behind yet other people use their knowledge and skills to prosper.
“In the past, teachers were exemplary in society. They were the first to own modern houses, and to ride bicycles before the introduction of vehicles in the country, and were always the most civilised in society,’ Nzagahimana said.
“We should use our brains to change the status quo. We should strive for dignity.”
He said Umwalimu Sacco was ready to give out loans to teachers with viable projects regardless of their income levels. He said Umwalimu Sacco has trained at least a teacher in each sector who will help train others in entrepreneurship.
Produce business, livestock farming, shops and modern farming featured on the list of projects teachers can undertake.
Teachers are getting loans at 11 per cent interest rate, which is much lower than interest rates in other financial institutions. Recently, Umwalimu Sacco got Rwf2 billion from a Netherlands–based non-governmental organisation at 10.22 per cent interest rate and the money is being lent out to private schools at 14 per cent interest rate.
“As leaders of Umwalimu Sacco and teachers, we shall work hard to promote the cooperative and improve the welfare of teachers,” said Fulgence Mutangana, an advisor to the Administrative Board of Umwalimu Sacco in Huye District.