NYARUGENGE - Teacher representatives all over the country Monday gathered at Jali Club, Kigali for the official launch of Umwalimu Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO), a teachers’ credit and savings scheme.
Present at the launch were Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, the Minister of State for Primary and Secondary school education, Théoneste Mutsindashyaka, and other dignitaries.
Umwalimu SACCO, started with a working capital of Frw1 billion, donated by the government for the teachers’ cooperative.
The Prime Minister, who was also the chief guest at the occasion, thanked the teachers for the progressive mobilization that has yielded something self liberating like this.
“For a long time, teachers have been poor and known for it, but with the establishment of Umwalimu SACCO, it’s their time to develop and improve their status,” he said.
Makuza added that if managed well, the SACCO will in one way or another improve the teachers’ professional lives since they will be able to meet their needs and also be motivated at work.
The Prime Minister urged teachers to exhibit the highest level of responsibility when managing Umwalimu SACCO and take it as their own to avoid unnecessary mistakes that have led to the collapse of many SACCOS.
On his part, Mutsindashayka urged teachers to be solely responsible for advocating and marketing this SACCO among fellow teachers.
“Teachers themselves should play a pivotal role in ensuring that the entire teachers’ fraternity in the country is sensitized about Umwalimu SACCO,” he advised.
The Chairman of Umwalimu SACCO, Joseph Murekeraho, expressed optimism in the success of the first ever teachers’ SACCO in the country.
“So far, 83 percent of teachers have subscribed to the SACCO, the majority being from government schools. Some teachers have already expressed to us the projects they want to venture in,” he revealed.
According to Murekeraho, 32,000 out of the 37,000 teachers in the country had subscribed to the SACCO. He added that 51 percent want to construct houses out of the credit from Umwalimu SACCO; 26.6 want to do business; 9.1 percent want to engage in farming; and 6.7 per cent want to use it for paying fees for their children, mostly tuition at universities.
“We are planning to open branches in all provinces before the end of 2009, so that by 2010, we will have 170 branches in the whole country,” said Murekyeraho.
The prerequisite for a person to be a member of Umwalimu SACCO is to be a teacher and after having paid a subscription fee of Rwf1000.
Umwalimu SACCO is mandated to empower its members towards uplifting their socio-economic welfare and to contribute to the socio-economic development of the community in which they live.