Nyaruguru is one of the districts hosting partly licensed Umurenge saccos . The New Times carried out a mini survey of the activities of the saving schemes in parts of the district are been considered vulnerable.
While waiting for the completion of the licensing process for their Umurenge sacco, residents who talked to The New Times said that more than 50 percent of Rusenge sector residents are already operating accounts in the new savings scheme.
Speaking to The New Times, Fabien Niyitegeka, a local official and an account holder of Rusenge sacco-Inozamihigo which was launched in April of this year, said that account holders are increasing by each passing day.
“The process of developing the sacco is on course. Hardly a day passes without registration of new members.
Consequently the saving culture is being deepened amongst the local population. For sure, residents no longer keep their money with them but instead they deposit their cash on their accounts in the new sacco”, he said.
“Employers are using the cooperative to pay their employees, even farm workers are being paid through these new accounts”, he added.
Residents say that Rusenge sacco-Inozamihigo is the only financial institution operating in the area. Since its inception 3 months ago, the sacco has been able to mobilize more than Rwf 60 million from its members.
The sacco is still limited to only taking deposits and withdrawal operations as it awaits full licensing from the Central Bank , according to Gaudence Nyiransabimana, Rusenge sacco-Inozamihigo’s accountant.
“Once we are fully licensed, we will start offering loans to the population in order to boost the local investment landscape ”, Nyiransabimana said, adding the sacco’s management is expecting completion of full licensing in the next 6 months.
Local residents who spoke to The New Times said that the establishment of this particular Umurenge sacco will open up new opportunities for their future well being.
“I hope that with its full licensing we will be able to access loans to help us establish and expand our businesses”, said Claude Rusizanyindekwe, a resident of Raranzege cell.
Apart from supporting individuals, the program has also promoted local cooperatives to boost the well being of their members.
“Previously my life was caught up in the vicious circle of poverty but thanks to the government support through the new Umurenge scheme my life is totally changed”, said Athanasia Ukwitegetse, 70, a resident of Raranzege cell who received a monthly direct support for the last ten months said.
“I have been able to build a modern house and a bicycle that helps me to supervise all my projects”.
“With the money I earn through our cooperative’s farming project, I manage to satisfy all my basic needs and save for a rainy day”, said Faustin Gatare a resident of Raranzege cell and the leader of Rusenge cassava cooperative, a local farming cooperative that received support from the new scheme said.
According to Gatare, the cooperative’s earnings are on the rise which has boosted considerably their social welfare. From a Rwf 3.5 million soft loan that they received last year,Gatare’s cooperative embarked on a 20 hectare cassava farming project which is currently valued at Rwf 15 million.
Gatare adds that part of their mid term plan is to acquire a cassava processing machine to extend their activities.
The new savings mobilization scheme was introduced in Rusenge sector in 2008.Since its inception residents say that it has offered a range of opportunities for community development.
Previously the sector was considered by local authorities to be among areas with the most vulnerable people in the district.