•The Sacco targets to grow its assets by three-fold in the next five years.
•Members are saving from as low as Sh300 a month.
A community-based Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (Sacco) in Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare slums is now eyeing more members from informal settlements in Mombasa and Kisumu cities.
With a membership of 4, 000, Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) has indicated that it is moving to recruit more members in major slums in the two cities.
It is targeting Muoroto slum in Tudor, Mombasa and Nyalenda in Kisumu.
Established on August 15, 2015, SHOCFO has grown from a membership base of 10 to over 4, 000.
About 3, 000 members reside in Kibera while 1, 000 are from Mathare.
Speaking during celebrations to mark its fifth anniversary, Sacco manager, Collins Odongo said they are keen to uplift lives of slum dwellers who have largely been ignored by players in the industry.
“By end of next year, we want to have a presence in all major slums in the country. It is a movement for slum dwellers,” Odongo said.
He said the Sacco targets to grow its assets by three-fold in the next five years.
“Our mission is to empower members economically through mobilisation of savings and provision of affordable credit services,” he explained.
To join, one is required to visit the Sacco offices in Kibera and Mathare for registration and submission of membership application form.
One then begins saving from as low as Sh300 a month.
Almost 90 per cent of the Sacco's members are women, who are involved in small businesses.
The Sacco has a new mobile platform that allows members to apply for loans and make payments.
“The Sacco plans to make full use of ICT to conveniently make available all services on mobile platform . The corona pandemic has helped us adopt technology in a way that previously we were cautious. There is no going back,” Odongo said.
The Sacco, just like other financial institutions has also been hit hard by the pandemic.
As a result, it has restructured loans worth more than Sh10 million since April when the pandemic soared.
This is in line with the Central Bank of Kenya’s call on financial institutions to provide relief to borrowers on personal loans based on individual circumstances caused by the pandemic.
SHOFCO is considering opening its doors to other city residents apart from slum dwellers.
“We are still looking at how best we can roll it out. However, our immediate goal is to reach to slum dwellers in other parts of the country,” Odongo said.
Sheripher Mutua, a businesswoman in Lindi area in Kibera is among the beneficiaries of the sacco.
She runs an egg business and daycare facility for children in the area.
“I have just applied for my third loan. The egg business is doing really well but the daycare has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic,” she pointed out.
Tabitha Oria, a leader of a group of 35 young women who have benefited from the sacco said: “We first borrowed Sh25, 000 and we now intend to apply for Sh100, 000 to expand our business.”
The group runs a water vending kiosk in Laini Saba area in Kibera.