The New Times (Kigali)

14 January 2013

Rwanda: Teachers' Co-Operative Set to Decentralise Operations

THE Umwalimu sacco, a teachers' co-operative and savings society, is set to increase the number of representatives in decision-making, a move top managers say will enable teachers to effectively represent others and benefit from their cooperative.

The initiative will see the number of teachers' representatives during the cooperative's general assembly increase from the current 300 to 416 members.

This, top officials of the cooperative say, will not only enable teachers to have one strong voice, but also effectively plan the needs of teachers at the grassroots level.

"We will have a teacher from each sector so that views from all teachers are heard. Representatives will be reporting at the district level," said Jean Marie Vianney Nzagahimana, the cooperative's board chairman.

Nzagahimana was at the weekend speaking at a two-day training for representatives of the Sacco. Those trained will be tasked to train others, who will make up a new team to join the decision-making body.

Building strong team

Nzagahimana said the decision to increase the number of members' in decision-making is to build a strong leadership team.

"This cooperative is growing and it is time we bring on board more members to build our capacity to work even better," he said.

The training attracted 90 members. Speaking to The New Times, Alex Nsanzabaganwa, a trainee from Rulindo district, said the training enhanced their skills in accountability, entrepreneurship and management.

Joseph Museruka, the Sacco general manager, said they have grown and that this year, they target a net profit of Rwf1b, up from Rwf 700m last year.

He also said although the cooperative has in the past focused on mortgage loans for the teachers, this year, more loans will be channelled to members willing to engage in income-generating activities.

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