The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Muhanga Women Urged to Embrace Savings Culture

WOMEN in Muhanga district have been urged to work with banks and embrace the saving culture as a way of improving their socio-economic livelihoods.

'Women make the majority of the total population in this sector, but it seems men dominate when it comes to working with banks, micro-finance institutions or other financial institutions."

The call was made, on Monday, by the district mayor, Yvonne Mutakwasuku, who was opening the new office of Muhanga Savings and Credit Cooperative (Sacco).

The Sacco building cost about Rwf22.5m to construct.

Mutakwasuku told the residents that saving is not a privilege of the well-off individuals.

She told them that the saving culture involves planning on how to use personal finances before any expenditure however little they might be.

She particularly encouraged women to join Saccos as a way of uplifting the welfare of their families.

"Women make up the majority of the total population in this sector, but it seems men dominate when it comes to working with banks, micro-finance institutions or other financial institutions," she said.

"As you are the majority (of the population), you have to play a great part in other developmental programmes. This is good for your families as your role in maintaining family welfare is as well vital," the mayor told the women.

Officials told The New Times that more than 3,000 out of the total 12,000 residents of the sector have already opened accounts with the savings cooperative.

A tale of beneficiaries

The Sacco has offered loans to more than 150 individuals, who later invested mainly in agriculture and livestock farming.

Aphrodis Kanani, a member of the cooperative, said working with financial institutions has transformed his life and that of his family.

He testified that he used the Rwf500,000 loan acquired from the cooperative to buy two cows which has helped improve his living conditions.

"I now have milk for home consumption, which contributes a lot to making our health better," he said, adding that he gets surplus to sell.

"I am planning to request for another loan to further invest in other income-generating activities and boost my revenues further."

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