By Roy Hezron
Current cooperative chief executives have to join the Kenya Society of Professional Co-operators (KSPC) to obtain professional certification.
Speaking to Sacco Review, KSPC acting Chief Executive Symon Mburia urged cooperatives CEOs and managers to register with the organisation.
“All serving co-operative officers and managers of co-operatives are eligible for membership as associate or fellow members depending on their professional and employment background,” he said.
Mburia, who is also the Assistant Commissioner for Co-operative Development, previously served in the organisation as a council member representing the ministry.
“Among my responsibilities is to come up with functional structures for the organisation,” said Mburia.
KSPC, which was registered in 2017 as a non-profit making member-based organisation, has the mandate to register, develop and regulate co-operative professionals in the country and promote co-operative management as a profession.
It also has the mandate of issuing certificates, establishing, publishing and monitoring standards of professional competence and practice amongst its members.
Other duties include promoting research in co-operative management practice, publishing books, periodicals, journals and articles on co-operatives, providing medium of communication and exchange of information and knowledge among co-operatives, networking with regional and international related organisations to promote progressive professionalism in the movement and prescribing tests of competency to qualify for membership and certification by the society.
It also promotes and protects the welfare and interest of members and promotes inter-professional collaboration with other professional organisations through the Kenya National Qualification Authority.
“We want professionalism among managers of co-operatives to avoid cases of mismanagement,” said Mburia.
KSPC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries Examination Board to administer Certified Cooperative Professional examinations with approved curriculum for Certified Cooperative Professional course.
The organisation is also planning to come up with an academy to train its members on management.
“Already we have signed an MoU with KASNEB to administer our examinations and currently we are registering our first batch of students,” Mburu confirmed.
The body was set up as part of the National Co-operative Policy which identifies poor management and corruption in cooperatives as a concern that requires to be addressed.
For instance, in the 2019/2020 financial year, the State Department of Co-operatives surcharged co-operative officials more Sh1.37 billion. The officials were found to have mismanaged or embezzled funds in 18 co-operatives societies.
The organisation is currently being led by a council of nine chaired by the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the Cooperative University of Kenya Prof Esther Gicheru. Members include Teresa Mutegi (vice chair), Steve Otieno (Secretary) and Richard Nyakenogo (Treasurer).
Others are Nelson Kuria, Moses Gweyi, Francis Kamande Richard Nyaanga and Vincent Marangu.