Equality is the theme of the 2015 International Day of Co-operatives!!

In our globalizing world inequality is on the rise

The global income gap has continued to widen over the past years. A recent Credit Suisse report estimates that the top 1 percent of the globe’s population possesses nearly half of the world’s wealth, whereas the bottom half of world’s population holds less than 1 percent of its riches.

But inequality comes in a variety of shades. It can apply to ethnic, regional or locational characteristics, or personal features such as gender or age.

Preceding equal voting rights for men and women, gender equality has been a fundamental right in co-operatives, since their inception in the first half of the 19th century. Co-operatives’ typically flat hierarchy encourages a culture of teamwork, where talent is rewarded rather than competitiveness.

How inequality affects us all

Inequality matters because it influences our perceptions about self-worth and justice. All human beings are entitled to the same respect and dignity. Inequality however, has also serious negative socio-economic and security consequences.

  • Bad for the economy – Inequality also slows GDP growth. It hinders human capital accumulation, hurts educational outcomes and long-term economic prospects for those on the lower end of the income ladder.
  • Bad for our infrastructure – When excluded, people cannot participate in the institutions that build a society. Examples of this are medical capacity building, industry requiring schooled craftsmen, or credit and insurance.
  • Bad for our safety – The social impacts of inequality include unemployment, violence, crime, humiliation, and deterioration of human capital and social exclusion. Inequality negatively affects democratic participation, it fosters corruption and civil conflict.
  • Bad for democracy – Politically, inequality erodes the fairness of institutions. Inequality exacerbates the problem of holding governments accountable. Where social institutions are already fragile, inequality further discourages the civic and social life that underpins effective collective decision-making which is necessary for the functioning of healthy societies.

How co-operatives help

  • All owners – By widening ownership, co-operatives are a proven force for economic and social inclusion. If the co-operative model continues to grow, inequality will be reduced.
  • Open to all – Because a coop is open to all, anybody, man or woman, old or young can enter.
  • Decision power not dependent on wealth – Because a coop has 1 vote regardless of the capital, all have equal decision power.
  • Equality means also equal access to goods – The UN have recognized as a critical strategy, at the national level, that of ensuring universal access to good-quality, basic goods and services, the very purpose of a co-operative.

The United Nations state that it is important to ensure that provision actually reaches the sections of the population that are typically excluded. Co-ops focus on meeting the needs of their members rather than financial returns alone.

The co-operative movement, presents a unique combination of global reach and people based business conduct. We can play an important role in poverty reduction. Co-operatives help to reduce inequality by empowering people and by offering them a dignified and sustainable way to make a living.

Read more here

Safaricom Investment Co-operative unveils Sh1 billion housing project in Mlolongo

Safaricom Investment Co-operative has unveiled Sh1 billion housing project on a five acre parcel of land in Mlolongo.  The 300 housing units dubbed, Blue Bells Garden will be constructed in two phases. They will be completed in 2015. The project will be financed through a partnership with Co-operative Bank Speaking during the ground breaking, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said the first phase will be ready in September 2014, while the second phase will be ready at the end of 2015. “SIC has planned to invsafaricom-saccoest more than Sh1billion in the entire project with the first phase having 160 units and the second phase having 140 units,” said Collymore yesterday. “These houses will be a mix of two and three bedroom units and will contribute towards reducing the 150,000 housing deficit that the country experience annually.” The project will also accommodate a commercial centre to serve its residents.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2000083297/safaricom-sacco-unveils-sh1-billion-housing-project-in-mlolongo

Types of savings products

The SACCO members have the urge to develop and to make their lives better. The question remains therefore ―How can they make their lives better?‖ Saving for the future is one of the ways that they can improve on their livelihood. It is therefore essential to know the various savings products available so that one makes the best choice and selects what suits them best. Savings products can broadly be classified in to three namely;
 Compulsory savings products
 Voluntary savings products
 Contractual savings products.
Compulsory Saving:
These are funds that must be contributed by all members of the SACCOs as a condition of membership and in some instances to access credit (loans). Compulsory savings can be considered as part of a loan product rather than actual savings product since they are closely tied to receiving and repaying loans. Compulsory saving is a saving that a member is forced to make on regular basis; it is a membership saving and must be saved on a weekly or monthly basis. This compulsory saving is collected to lend to
members. If members fail to save on time they will get penalized based on the saving policy of the society. Unless the member quits from membership, he or she should save on regular basis. If a member wants to withdraw from the SACCO, he will have the right to take this compulsory saving. The SACCOs are supposed to provide interest for this savings. There are 2 kinds of compulsory loans i.e.
Group saving: composed of a certain percentage of the loan portfolio contributed monthly or weekly. Saving continues through the loan period and therefore protects the portfolio on one hand and serves, as an investment fund for economic ventures of the group members to supplement the loan in case of emergency needs.
Personal or individual saving: This is where each borrower is required to save a minimum amount per month but motivated to save more voluntarily.
Voluntary Saving:
Voluntary savings are savings, not for access to credit, but for the sake of saving. These are not an obligatory part of accessing credit services. They are provided by both the borrowers and non borrowers who can deposit or withdrawal according to their needs.
The voluntary savings are best fit for people who don’t receive constant cash flow like farmers who get incomes when they sell off their produce once or twice a year. They can make voluntary saving during harvest time, and transfer monthly to their compulsory saving accounts. Farmers, and other individuals, can save the full amount for the coming year’s compulsory savings in advance with the SACCO by depositing 12 months worth of saving in a voluntary account. Following that, each month on the appropriate day the member will come to the SACCO to withdraw the amount of one month’s compulsory saving from the voluntary saving -account and deposit it in the compulsory saving account. This maintains the fundamental function of the SACCO and allows individuals with seasonal incomes to be members. This ensures regular flow of cash to the SACCO society and promotes members participation. This kind of saving can be withdrawn at any time when the owner needs it. The SACCO society may or may not provide saving interest for this voluntary savings. Farmers are highly advised to save on voluntary saving for small capital investment like purchasing seed for cultivation.
Contract Saving:
These are the kind of saving accounts where by the person saves to meet a particular goal.
These include:
1. School fees savings accounts: This is the type of account used by most parents so that they are able to save for their children’s education.
2. Target Savings Accounts: This is where the client opens up an account particularly to meet a particular target like buying land, paying a mortgage among others.
3. Fixed Deposit Accounts: This is the savings accounts were by a person deposits once and they withdraw the money after a period of time. The time ranges from 3 months onwards.
This kind of saving is not used by most SACCOs unless the SACCO has acquired and mastered the good skills in managing the loans and savings effectively. It can be short-term saving like if someone wants to pay school fees; he may save to pay school fees. It can also be long term like fixed deposit accounts were time deposit bring the opportunity of high interest rate on savings. This kind of saving is good in the future when the SACCO is in a good capacity and position of managing its savings and loans properly and if there is a shortage of feasible financial demand by members. This kind of saving can be collected from members and none members but the amount, period of collection and interest for this saving should be decided by the General Meetings of  members.

 

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