The progress being made by this country’s leaders as far as seeking better life for their citizens is no longer in any slightest dispute, and we cannot get tired of appreciating something positive.
This endorsement comes in the wake of teachers launching Umwalimu Savings and Credit Cooperative as a credit and savings scheme, whose start-up capital was donated by the government.
Organising people into cooperatives is a poverty alleviation intervention that should not be taken for granted. Better still, professions like teaching which have big numbers of staff have great potential to succeed, for in those big numbers lies success. Even with very small savings, the money increases very rapidly as there are many savers.
We do not need to any go very far to give a good example – Zigama Cooperatives and Savings Society, one of the most successful SACCOs in the country, started as a soldiers’ savings scheme before opening its doors to the public.
We should not say the scheme was long overdue, but we shall welcome it because it is going to save teachers the hassle of accessing loans.
They will save, earn interest on their savings, and also be able to borrow at low interest rates for their own developmental projects.
However, the managers of the scheme should do well to mind the advice given by Prime Minister Bernard Makuza during the launching, regarding responsible management of the project.
Indeed, many SACCOs have closed because of mismanagement of funds. The money multiplies fast, and there is always a temptation to dip corrupt fingers into the scheme’s kitty.
This should never be allowed to happen. The difficulty has not always been with opening SACCOs; it has always been with maintaining them.
In the East African Community, Kenya has a well-developed teachers’ cooperative and savings society. Some lessons from there would really come in handy, since even the choice of name for Rwanda’s teachers’ society – Umwalimu (Kiswahili for ‘teacher’) – has already taken a broader regional outlook.