Mr. Patrick Waithaka, the current chairman of Nabosa Housing Cooperative located in Nanyuki in Kenya, is a 40-year old father of 3. He first heard about Swisscontact in 2015 during a cooperative meeting organised by the Department of Cooperatives. At that time, he was the treasurer at Nabosa Cooperative and was struggling to craft a housing product to offer a lucrative investment opportunity for the SACCO members.
“I noted tremendous growth in the other SACCOs that had received support from Swisscontact. For Nabosa, this was a great opportunity to improve access to finance through advancements in our service delivery and product offering.“
After numerous amicable consultations, Nabosa SACCO was able to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Swisscontact in 2016. Swisscontact played a crucial facilitatory role that saw the SACCO benefit from an automation software that helped them with their daily organisation and bookkeeping.
“We had about 300 members then and populated their data manually on an excel sheet. This was tedious and filled with porosity, leaving us exposed to several errors. At the onset of our partnership, Swisscontact installed the software that allowed us to enter and store information in an easy, transparent and secure way. They ensured that all staff were trained on how to use the system and even went the extra mile to take us through other appropriate capacity building sessions. Wholesomely, Swisscontact has facilitated 8 training sessions that have covered various topics in financial management, leadership and governance and savings and resource mobilization. These sessions have changed the overall mindsets and general operations of not only our staff and management but even board members. Our service delivery has greatly improved,“ says Mr. Waithaka. Swisscontact also facilitated the linkage of the SACCO to a key stakeholder, the National Cooperative Housing Union, who helped Nabosa register and craft the attractive and affordable housing product.
Mr. Patrick Waithaka volunteers in his capacity at the cooperative and earns an allowance of CHF 29 a month. He volunteers because it gives him an opportunity to give back to society. “I grew up in poverty and Nabosa SACCO opened my eyes to the possibility of having a better life. I have seen so many riders’ lives changed and Swisscontact has played a crucial role in this, “ said Mr. Waithaka.
He is an active SACCO member who contributes a minimum of CHF 4.9 per week. CHF 4.4 of this is allocated to savings and CHF 0.5 to administration. Separately, he began saving for his house in the cooperative and in September 2018, was able to meet the 20% principal minimum amount required to own a home in the Nabosa City Between Mountains estate.
“I have always desired to be my own landlord. After paying rent for close to 20 years, I can finally sit back, reflect on the valuable assistance Swisscontact has accorded us and happily see my dream materialise, “ says Mr. Waithaka.
Mr. Waithaka moved houses with his family after previously paying rent of CHF 68 a month. He is presently spending slightly more on the house (about CHF 116 – CHF 146 a month) in a bid to quickly pay back the loan he took to purchase it. Both his house and plot are valued at CHF 9,166. Mr. Waithaka has plans to expand his one-bedroom to a three-bedroom house to better accommodate his family and plans to speed up his loan repayment to 2 years. He can support his family through various business involvements. He owns a Public Address (PA) system which he hires out, a few motorcycles which ferry people and goods and is also a Field Officer with the County Government. In a month, he makes approximately CHF 485 and can afford to provide basic needs for his family and take his children to private school.
The capacity building sessions facilitated by Swisscontact have seen the SACCO offer good service which has in turn helped them grow to approximately 700 members. Strategically, they have been able to introduce new products that have seen them attract more members; even some living in the diaspora. Swisscontact has again supported them in the facilitation of an advanced, reliable and adaptive automation system that will assist them in handling the increased memberships. The SACCO will be well equipped to track loan repayments and pending fees, access real-time credit history, post data, retrieve and print personal member statements and most importantly securely store information on a cloud system.
“Through the continued collaboration with Swisscontact, we want to grow the SACCO to be an internationally recognised society; give members an opportunity to access finance and grow their investments. “
Phase one of the housing project saw the construction of 60 housing units – 50-bed sitters and 10 one- bedroom houses. The cooperative has plans to embark on the second phase in 2019.
The intervention is a component of the Innovation Lab under the Inclusive Finance Programme (IFP) which seeks to improve access to finance by the bottom poor.
Inclusive Finance Programme (IFP) is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Esperanza Stiftung and Canton Basel-County.