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Interview: Wakenya Pamaoja Sacco enhance members socio-economic welfare

4 min read
Started in 1976 as a Union Banking Section of Kisii Farmers’ Co-operative Union (KFCU) under the Cooperative Society’s Act, WPS has remained the best financial service provider in the region. It became autonomous in 1992 under the name Gusii Farmers Rural Sacco Society Limited (GRFS). Over the years, the society has undergone major reforms which have facilitated the change of name in line with the strategic move to expand geographically and explore other financial opportunities, and diversification of membership to increase the society’s scope beyond tea and coffee, including value chain financing, microfinance, business development financing, asset financing among others.

Mr. Benjamin Mbuya from Marani Kisii County, his life has greatly improved since he became a member and started saving with Wakenya Pamoja PHOTO/BRIGHTON MAKORI

Wakenya Pamoja Sacco (WPS) remains on track at enhancing the socio-economic welfare of its members through provision of affordable, accessible and sustainable financial services –as stipulated in its vision and mission statement.

Since it changed its name from Gusii Farmers Rural Sacco Society Limited (GRFS) to Wakenya Pamoja Sacco, the society has changed the life of its members who are a living testimony to its growth, success and development cum member satisfaction.

According to Mr. Benjamin Mbuya from Marani Kisii County, his life has greatly improved since he became a member and started saving with Wakenya Pamoja Sacco. The small scale farmer, who is also a landlord, has declared the benefits he enjoys after securing loan products with the society since he joined in 1982.

“If it was not for the loans I receive from Wakenya Pamoja Sacco, I would not have been able to send my children to school, build my rental houses, improve my farm and solve other urgent issues.” he says

Mbuya is among the farmers who are enjoying the fruits from the loan products offered by WPS, and to this he says, ‘‘has made me popular in Marani sub county for venturing in Farming and Rental business.’’

“At the moment I have three storey buildings and many other rental houses within Marani sub county and am the leading coffee farmer in Marani and Rigoma region,’’ says Mbuya.

He adds that with the locality and understanding staff as well as the management of Wakenya Pamoja Sacco, the society has provided best financial services to its members giving them an opportunity to tap their potentials.

“Wakenya Pamoja Sacco offer overwhelming financial services to its members. When you apply for a loan, you don’t need to wait for a whole month, weeks or days. The loan does not take more than three days to mature.”

“ Even as we speak, I recently applied for a loan of Kshs.800,000 which did not take much time to mature and has helped in building more rental houses, expanding my coffee farms among many other things,” adds Mr. Mbuya.

He also commends the society for the affordable interest rates offered on loans, which has given him an easier time to repay back.

“As the Sacco grows, its loan interest rates remain good and at least I’m able to return the money in time after collecting rental dues.” he adds.

Mr. Mbuya also notes that Saccos are major tools in fighting poverty by providing financial resources, especially to rural population, urging local residents to join Wakenya Pamoja Sacco which will help them improve their lives.

From the Mbuya’s we meet yet another Wakenya Pamoja Sacco beneficiary. His name is Stephenson Isoe.

Mr. Isoe happens to be the Director Of safe havens children’s home, which started in 2011.

When Isoe had no any other option of getting resources that could help him build the Children’s home, he resorted to join Wakenya Pamoja Sacco which gave him his first loan of Kshs.150,000 after saving with them.

“The loan enabled us to buy the land where we have built this home that hosts more than 40 children with 16 being in High schools.” says Isoe

Stephenson Isoe the director Safe haven childrens home showing land and
children home which he started through the support from Wakenya pamoja sacoo loans         PHOTO/BRIGHTON MAKORI

The Director also adds that with the continued savings and loan offered by the society, he has been able to pay school fees for the children. The loan also gave him an opportunity to acquire a school bus which provides transport to the children.

“I have also bought a piece of land for commercial purpose with the help of Wakenya Pamoja Sacco, and I plan to put up rental houses in the near future,” says Isoe.

Started in 1976 as a Union Banking Section of Kisii Farmers’ Co-operative Union (KFCU) under the Cooperative Society’s Act, WPS has remained the best financial service provider in the region. It became autonomous in 1992 under the name Gusii Farmers Rural Sacco Society Limited (GRFS).

Over the years, the society has undergone major reforms which have facilitated the change of name in line with the strategic move to expand geographically and explore other financial opportunities, and diversification of membership to increase the society’s scope beyond tea and coffee, including value chain financing, microfinance, business development financing, asset financing among others.

Its diversification into microfinance followed by value chain financing has created the impetus and incentive for change in the society, resulting to the Sacco success.

The Sacco has Front office savings activities (Fosa) like ordinary (Sacco) account targeting cooperative societies, TSC staff, farmers with shareholding, civil servants, pensioners, business people, Corporate account for schools, churches, hospitals, films, other institutions and organizations and Wakenya Akiba account which targets customers who wish to fix their deposits for a specific purpose.

Wakenya Pamoja Sacco also offers Mwanangu account for the junior savers below 18 years by parents/guardians, Group account for registered groups in rural and urban areas and Biashara account targeting small and medium enterprises and individuals with legal businesses.

Other products offered at the Fosa service desk are Wakenya Fosa Savings which targets employees of various institutions and firms and Okoa account for small farmers with little income.

For loans, the society has crop based and agricultural loans, Okoa advance, coffee society advance, institutional loans, Wakenya Fosa loans and advances, business loans and group based loans.

The Sacco has complementary services like M-PESA, ATM-Visa, cards, Lipa na Mpesa, (point of sale) and Mobile Banking Services

With introduction of the SACCO Societies Act 2008, the Society now operates under a regulator, the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) and its By-laws.

Wakenya Pamoja Sacco was licensed to conduct deposit-taking Sacco business, subject to the provisions of the Sacco Societies Act No. 14 of 2008 and the regulations in April 20, 2011, making it to appear among the first ten Sacco’s to be licensed by SASRA.

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