What if we formed a Sacco using ‘members’ who have ‘liked’ the Facebook Page “Co-operative Movement in Kenya”…?

We are 693 of the Facebook Page Co-operative Movement in Kenya. What if we formed a Sacco? Is it even plausible? I know we are going to find it hard defining and selling our common bond as “Social media users who have liked the Facebook Page ‘Co-operative Movement in Kenya’ and engage in lawful businesses and professions in Kenya” to the Commissioner of Co-operatives. But wont it be something if it were possible? 693 is a good number as the Law only requires 10 people!!

PAGESo why am I saying it is difficult through questioning if it were possible? For any group of people who would like to start a Sacco society, will be required to notify the closest co-operative office and organize for a pre-co-operative education with all eligible/potential members. Now that is the problem. How and where are we all going to meet? Do we even have a history together to say that we know each other and we have had a similar experience through a self-help group? I am saying this because, all successful co-operative ventures started as small groups of people who knew each other and that is how trust is established and would be members can bring resources together and entrust the same to the elected few.

But lets see how such a co-operative will look like with the 693 members!! Just assumptions now:-

  • Entrance/registration fees    =    1000/= (693 members* 1000/= gives us 693,000/=)
  • Value of one share                     =     20/=
  • Minimum shares 100 valued at = 2000/= (i.e. 20/=*100 shares and total share capital is 2000*693= 1,386,000.00/=)
  • Monthly contributions            =    500/= (For one month 500*693= 346,500/=)
  • Saccos give loans after 6 months from the date of registration. So the total monthly contributions will be 346,500/= *6 =2,079,000/=
  • At the end of six months we would have had a total of Ksh. 4,158,000.00 minus expenses.

Expenses are mainly:

  • Registration expenses   =   10,000.00 (including Ksh. 3,500.00 for application and registration fees, cost of hiring a venue, printing and stationery costs i.e. making the By-Laws and economic appraisal, e.t.c.)
  • Bookkeeping fees   = 8,000.00
  • Audit and supervision fees  =  15,000.00
  • Travel and subsistence allowance   =  20,000.00
  • Sitting allowance of the committees  =  30,000.00
  • General meeting expenses  =   20,000.00
  • Education and training  =  25,000.00

Total expenses for the first year = 128,000.00/=

Ksh. 4,158,000 – 128,000.00  =  4,030,000.00/=

After 6 months we loan out 80% of Ksh. 4,030,000.00 i.e. Ksh. 3,224,000.00 repaid within 6 months at 1% reducing balance to 322 each taking Ksh. 10,000.00 giving us an income of Ksh. 112,840.00

Note that it looks like we did not break even the first year but remember registration/entrance fees is treated as income and also we will be recruiting more members from the figure of 693 and we will still be giving out loans as we move from the 7-12th month. We can also include other sources of income like fines/penalties, interest from bank, etc.

Okay buddies, remember Saccos are the best way to save. Note the interest I indicated in the example above as 1% on reducing balance!! Majority of Saccos charge this interest, ask around. Also note that the monthly contributions are not restricted to the minimum given of Ksh. 500.00 above; you can save more than that.



Annual General Meetings are Here!!!

This is the time all co-operatives that have their financial year as 1st January to 31st December are holding their annual general meetings. Members’ expectations of course is tied to interest on deposit and dividends. People are making calls to know what percentages they are getting for the previous financial year. Some are making calls to know who is retiring in the management committee and who are contesting. Most probably nobody is sending their agendas to be considered for discussed at the AGM.

Most co-operatives only meet once in a year whether through the delegates system or whole membership attending the AGMs. Sometimes the agendas are so congested such that all of them are not discussed and some important agendas are postponed till the next AGM!!! That is 12 months or more of delay!!! So how do we get out the most from these meetings as societies or as members??

The societies…..

1. Membership/delegates should be informed earlier as stipulated in the societies’ by-laws. All of the agenda clearly stated. AOB (Any Other Business) shouldn’t be encouraged always as this ends up consuming more time. Members should be encouraged to present their agendas to the secretary early enough to be considered for discussion in the AGM.

2. Keep time. I have attended many AGMs and keeping time is a big problem. Members and even the board of directors/management committees most times never arrive on time. On average meetings usually start 2 hours later after the stipulated time even 4 hours later is not uncommon!!. This discourages some members who usually arrive early and they are also converted to late comers of AGMs. Also late meetings will lead to all the agendas being not discussed sufficiently and resolutions too will not be of quality or well thought out as the early birds will be tired.

3. Keep to the agendas. I have been to meetings where the chairman loses the control of the agenda and the membership end up discussing other things. This will to lead meeting being prolonged and members exhausted and therefore failure to finish all the agendas or have effective meeting.

4. Let the presentations be brief and to the point. Some people when given time, will bore members to death and it happens that these people are poor in reading body language. Difficult to them to know if members are bored. These people are sometimes not time conscious and most times they are the ones that arrive late for meetings!! It is important that societies’ appoint a time-keeper who will notify speakers if they have finished their allocated time.

5. Do not give drinks when the meeting is ongoing. It is better to have a short break rather than you have a presenter on the floor and someone is distributing drinks or food. Membership ends up not listening or their concentration is interfered with because of the movements and noise. Better, provide water before the meeting starts.

6. Use public address system if member numbers exceed 100! Some people are inaudible and they end up talking on the podium with the first and second rows and the rest of membership wonder what the person in front of them is saying!!

7. Switch phones off or have them in silent mode. I have witnessed several members of the societies an even board members, receiving calls when the meeting is ongoing. That is RUDE!! If the call is important, walk out with minimal noise.

8. It is good to take questions first and then answer them instead of taking one question and answering that one question before going to the next question. This saves time.

9. The societies’ minutes should capture all the relevant issues being said and proposers and seconders of those issues. It will be easier to pick up from where the societies left from the previous meetings.

The membership/delegates……..

1. Come with a pen and a paper and note all the points you thing are important or questions you will need clarification on.

2.Be patient and let there be order in asking questions. If your question has been asked, do not ask the same thing again.

3. Learn to arrive early as stipulated in the notice convening the meeting. It is good to be time keepers by reminding the management/board/members/delegates if they are taking too long to start or spending too much time on a topic or a point.

4. Be constructive. Remember the supreme authority is the AGM. Whatever is discussed or passed in these meetings as resolutions are what will determine the future of the co-operative society and also the ramifications are far much greater and do not stop at you. So be helpful.

5. Restrict your movements. Some are particularly annoying and cannot be in a meeting for more than ten minutes continuously. They usually keep dragging everybody else on same issues that have been asked or discussed time and again.

Probably there are more points that I have missed, but hope that the message has been driven home here….cheers!!



Managing Change in Co-operatives

The economic environment is dynamic and keeps on changing globally. It is therefore imperative for co-operative societies to keep abreast of the global changes or risk being irrelevant. Change is sweeping in nature and non response to change leads to being obsolete.

managing change is saccosIn order for co-operatives to manage change as it occurs the following factors need to be put in place:-

1. Awareness

It is of utmost importance for members of the co-operative to be aware of the changes affecting the economy as a whole i.e. potential socio-economical, technological including information technology and their effect on modern living. To do this the co-operative are required to set aside adequate funds for training and education not only for committee members but also for the general membership. It is the general membership that provides the leadership of the co-operatives and also an enlightened membership is an asset to the society.

2. Amendment of the co-operative society By-Laws

The current liberalized economy requires that co-operatives can rise up to the challenges and pressures of everyday living. The Co-operative Societies Act Cap 490 has made provisions for the amendment of the By-Laws of co-operative societies so that they can incorporate the changes that are occurring to suit current members needs.

3. Professionalism in the management of the co-operative societies

Co-operative societies are essentially business entities with various different products and services, but they are not alone in that line of business. There are other players in their diversified fields competing for the same business. It thus important that co-operatives are managed with utmost professionalism in this age of liberalization in order for them to survive. Other competitors are professional in approach and functioning. They employ the best professionals in their fields found in the open market, they adopt the most economical, cost effective methods and strive for the maximum profit in the market.

4. Marketing strategy as a manner of change in co-operatives

Marketing research is vital to all stages of the marketing plan:-

  • For decisions on the marketing mix, for example product research, pricing research, advertising research, etc.
  • For the implementation and control of the marketing plan, and
  • For assessing the extent to which objectives have been achieved.

Marketing research gives the following information inputs from the market:-

a) Environment audit

This reviews the organizations position in relation to changes in the external environment i.e. social, political, cultural, legal, economical and technological. The audit provides information which directly affects the setting of co-operative objectives. The market place is by definition, part of the “environment” and is a source of revenue and profit.

b) The Competitor audit

Provides competitor intelligence, competitor response models and so on, which again influence the co-operative objectives, strategy and contingency planning.

c) The customer audit

Assesses the existing and potential customer bases to provide information as to whether to develop new markets.

d) Product portfolio

This analysis provides inputs for decisions on whether or not to drop certain products and or add new ones.

e) Provides the basis for all other functional activities as well as marketing.

Information inputs from marketing to the co-operative society planning decisions perform a double duty, apart from planning they also provide objectives and strategies.

From the foregoing discussions, it is apparent that in order to manage change awareness, preparedness and implementation not to forget continuous market research are necessary components that cannot be ignored.



In view of the changing economic role of the co-operative societies, there is need to properly formulate investment policies for maximum returns to the members.

Prior to liberalization of the co-operative movement and the economy at large, our co-operatives had been too complacent and lacked innovative approaches in performance improvement.

These co-operatives have tended to operate under policies which have led to;

a)      Lack of creative innovation

b)      Reluctance to embrace change

c)       Over-reliance on traditional customer and products

d)      Inward looking policies, etc.

Co-operatives must strictly and urgently address their operational deficiencies. This involves;

a)      Improving service delivery

b)      Focusing on core customer needs

c)       Reducing on waste

Co-operative members are becoming more demanding and knowledgeable. This means that the management cannot assume that its products will be well received forgetting that the members have a wide choice. The co-operative therefore must offer its customers additional services and customised products. This can be achieved if:

–          There exist well thought out investment strategies

–          There is proper implementation of those strategies

Developing a new product

In developing a new product, the society needs to address the following aspects.

–          What product needs to be developed?

–          Who are the targeted customers?

–          What benefits will be derived from the consumption of the product?

–          How will the product be financed?

–          How will the product compare with existing products and harmonizes with the existing market structure?

–          What is the technical capability of the society in implementing the investment/product?

–          Will the implementation be in harmony with the existing legislative and regulatory controls?

In addressing the above the society shall move in the following direction:-

  1. Identify the most important service the members need;
  2. Identify the extend of the market for such need;
  3. Identify the sources of finance of the society;
  4. Conduct a cost benefit analysis to find out if the project/investment is justified and;
  5. Prepare the following:

a)      The staff skills;

b)      The system of implementation;

c)       Structure of the scheme and;

d)      System of evaluation and control.

Target market selection

The following guidelines should be followed by the Sacco when selecting target markets:

i)                    The target should be consistent or at least compatible with Sacco’s goals and image;

ii)                   The Sacco should seek markets that are consistent with its resources and;

iii)                 The Sacco should seek markets that will generate profitable volume of trade.



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