There are 6,400 credit unions in Kenya, called SACCOs (Savings and Credit Cooperatives) serving 6.2 million members.
We work with credit unions and KUSCCO (Kenyan Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives) to help SACCOs extend their services to small farmers in rural areas. As we delved deeper into the relationships of SACCOs with their membership, we found SACCOs supporting the wider fabric of their communities.
SACCOs connect farmers to the suppliers who provide the seed and fertilizer to farmers. They provide market linkages for farmers to vendors to get their crops to market. SACCOS finance their members’ access to solar energy to light up their rural homes.
SACCOs help schools incorporate farming techniques into the schools’ curriculums.
We work with KUSCCO to provide women with technical training to assume decision making roles and impact the direction of the SACCOs that serve them.
The teacher SACCO provides rural area communities with HIV AIDS prevention and care information.
The police SACCO provides remote post officers with direct deposit and mobile access to their payroll to ensure that they receive their full pay.
As the drought deepened, commercial banks reduced agricultural lending and rural services.
The SACCOs buttoned down and studied agricultural lending and risk management more aggressively.
Elections came and went with the stress of contested results and rising tensions. The SACCOs continued small trading and production lending, keeping restive communities productively engaged to provide for their families.
As SACCOs engaged more communities in the rural areas, they found each community supporting a large number of HIV AID orphans. SACCOs and then credit unions from across the world pooled their resources to build and support an orphanage in Busia, northwestern Kenya. The children had clean water to drink, clean sanitation, land to grow crops to eat, classes to attend, light to study at night and space to play in.
This year, Fox Valley Chapter sold candy to provide for food, school fees and water.
Bruce and Ted raised Christmas packages for the kids from sports clubs across Pennsylvania.
The Busia Compassionate Center, built by credit unions, reminds us of the hope that credit unions give to those less fortunate, in this case, those at the very bottom of the pyramid.
Thank you for your support and for the difference that you make for these SACCO members.
Best wishes for the holidays.
President & CEO
World Council of Credit Unions