Muhanga: SACCO cooperatives, instilling the culture of saving
Some of Muhanga district residents in the southern province of Rwanda say that SACCO (Savings and Credit Cooperatives) in their sectors have helped them a lot by making it easy for people to save as compared to the past when these cooperatives were not yet established.
Umurenge SACCO is a government of Rwanda initiative as elaborated in the Vision 2020 development agenda that aims to increase access of financial services to citizens. The concept of Umurenge SACCO was initiated on the understanding that banks and other financial institutions are more concentrated in towns and less spread in rural areas to serve the poor. As such, establishing a SACCO at every Umurenge(sector) would bridge this gap.
This would in effect, encourage local citizens to break the stigma of fearing financial institutions. Local citizens would thereafter be able to save; access loans and credit for different business activities, thus allowing them to invest and graduate from chronic poverty. Since the introduction of Umurenge SACCO, different government and non government departments especially working in the areas of decentralization and local governance have made efforts to mobilize Rwandans towards this program.
In a bid to better understand the progress achieved by this program, Mukamudenge a resident in muhanga district who is a member of SACCO said; “I used to get paid in hands and I could use it all without thinking about tomorrow but now my salary passes through SACCO and I get only what I need and save the rest.”
District officials said that Muhanga SACCO now has 7773 new members which is attributed to the fact that SACCO has a spacious building where it operates making it easy for people to join it.
The government of Rwanda has called upon citizens to join those banks near them or any other financial institutions so as to save for their future. SACCO now has all authorities and potential to give loans to its members.