As material contributions towards the COVID-19 national and district taskforces continue to roll in from both individuals and organisations, Cooperatives in the in Ankole sub-region have not been left behind in supporting the national fight against the pandemic.
However, the list of cooperatives in the Ankole sub region donating to the task force both in cash and in kind continues to grow.
According to David Byamukama, Bushenyi’s District Commercial Officer, over 9.2m cash, 1200kgs of maize flour and 11 cartons of soap have so far been mobilized from cooperatives in the district.
In Bushenyi alone, some of the cooperatives that have made contributions include; Kambuzi farmers SACCO (Shs 200,000), Butuuro Peoples’ SACCO (Shs 400,000), Jubilee SACCO (Shs 500000), Bushenyi Teachers SACCO (Shs 300000), Kyamuhunga Peoples’ SACCO (Shs 2.5m) and Kajunju Abahambani Growers Cooperative Society (Shs 1m) among others.
In Rwampara district, contributors include Mwizi SACCO (Shs 100,000), Ankole Farmers SACCO (500Kgs of maize flour plus Shs 100,000), Shuku SACCO (Shs 100,000), Kinoni SACCO (spray pumps and liquid soap), Kijo SACCO Buteraniro (Shs 200,000), Rwenyaga SACCO (Shs 100,000) and Bugamba Peoples’ SACCO (Shs 300,000).
The Rwampara District Commercial Officer (DCO), Amon Mutabarura thanked the cooperatives for their contribution to the COVID-19 Taskforce.
“We thank those that have contributed for fulfilling Principle Seven of cooperatives, namely ‘Concern for communities’. SACCOs work with communities and it is in order that we give back especially in such times of need,” Mutabarura said.
In Kiruhura and Kazo districts, cooperatives through Amos Dairies donated 60 tonnes of powdered milk to the national taskforce.
Andrew Rwakishaija, the former LC III Chairman for Nyakashashara Sub County in Kiruhura district appealed to the National Taskforce to ensure that the donated powdered milk is distributed especially to breastfeeding mothers around the country during this COVID-19 era.
For Mbarara, Kampera Farmers SACCO donated 100 bunches of bananas to the COVID-19 taskforce, according to James Agaba, the Principal Commercial Officer, Mbarara Municipality.
Work in the COVID-19 era
Agaba advised cooperatives to realign their operational practices if they are to weather the challenges of working in the COVID-19 era.
“For instance, since the savings have drastically reduced in many cooperatives, they may need to reduce on the number of staff to at least three in order to be sustainable,” he proposed.
Nevertheless, he is hopeful that majority of the cooperatives will still survive after the COVID-19 era.
“We don’t expect any SACCO to close unless it has also been very weak and on the verge of closing. In case that happens, we should not attribute such closures to the pandemic,” he said.
“Yes, cooperatives will be affected by the current situation, but not so much. We plan to rebuild these institutions after this COVID-19 pandemic ceases.”