By Kennedy Shivairo
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli says the country needs vibrant Saccos and Societies to help individuals live a better life.
Talking to Sacco Review at his office in Nairobi, Atwoli advised workers to form Saccos which can assist them grow through loans, adding that salaries offered by most employers were not enough to cater for their development goals.
“If you look at what many employers are giving our young men and women, you will be shocked. COTU is advising you to form Saccos and borrow so that you can develop,” he advised.
He added that in some counties, youth are already constituting small Saccos which may later join COTU as societies to benefit in both advice and loan.
Saccos, he affirmed, have greatly enhanced development in Rift Valley and Central provinces since independence, adding that the communities in the regions embraced savings in groups to assist each other.
“Central has the biggest towns and industries due to their old spirit of unionism and group investment. Western and Nyanza regions have remained behind because of their individualistic behavior,” he observed.
At the same time, the secretary general decried the rate at which youth are involved in alcohol consumption, calling on the county governments to assist them redirect their energy.
He urged county and the national governments could train them on modern savings and income generating technology including on-line work.
“Our intelligent youth, some with degrees, are wasted because they lack investment knowledge. We need to help,” he noted.
Atwoli advised youth to stop thinking that Saccos are tailor-made for only the rich, arguing that most gigantic organizations grew from humble beginnings.
He encouraged youth to create income generating activities and develop the gallant habit of saving with societies and Saccos.
In the larger western region, Mudete Sacco is the largest with membership of over 6000, followed by Kakamega Teachers Sacco with roughly 3000 teachers, he observed.
According to experts, western region has been lacking in resources with most families living from hand to mouth. Most are not able to raise membership fee and monthly contributions, a requirement to qualify for benefits from Saccos like applying for loans.
But according to Mr. Atwoli the situation can be changed if the community empowers youth with knowledge first, then help them overcome addictions.
To employed Kenyans, the unionist encourages them to join stable Saccos and unions affiliated to COTU for protection against harassment and unfair dismissal.