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Kenyan SACCO project proceeds in aftermath of riots
MADISON, Wis. (8/4/08)--In the aftermath of deadly riots that broke out in Kenya at the end of 2007, the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) SACCO Capacity Building Program is proceeding apace.
Erick Sile, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) project director, Kenya, talked about how political unrest in Kenya affected WOCCU’s SACCO (credit union) Capacity Building Project. (Photo provided by the Credit Union National Association)
Credit unions in Kenya are known as SACCOs (savings and credit cooperatives). The broad goal of the project is to provide financial inclusion in the financial sector in Kenya, Erick Sile, WOCCU project director, Kenya, told News Now. “The project is about developing the market of Kenyan SACCOs on the demand and supply sides,” Sile explained. “We also work with financial service providers. Using different WOCCU tools, we provide technical assistance to train consultants who work with credit unions.” Funded by the British Department for International Development, the project is working with five credit unions, but hopes to add five more by the end of September, and 10 more for a total of 20 in the third round by the end of December, Sile added. The project is moving ahead, he added. Violence in Kenya resulted in the killing of several hundred people the week after Mwai Kibaki was re-elected. He was sworn as the country’s president Dec. 30. The opposition candidate claimed the election was rigged (News Now Jan. 3). The unrest, which Sile said lasted about two-and-a-half months, slowed down the project in the first quarter of this year. “You couldn’t travel in some areas; there were roadblocks and rallies,” he said. “The unrest affected some credit unions, but not all.” Sile did not feel any real threat from the violence. “I was relatively safe because in the city of Nairobi there was security. I didn’t feel threatened while at home. Most of the violence was going on in other poorer areas.” WOCCU has two other projects in Kenya. The SACCO Growth Project, which is funded by the Gates Foundation, is directed by Jesus Chavez. The project provides technical assistance to consultants who work with credit unions, in Kibera, a slum inside Nairobi. Another project is Mitigating the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Economic Growth through Credit Union Modernization; Institutional Restructuring; Agricultural Business Development and Services and Education. The project is run by Sam Dunlap in Kisumu, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Of the 30 million people in Kenya about four million (19.1%) are credit union members, according to WOCCU statistics.
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