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Monitoring and evaluation key to success of SACCOs

There has been tremendous growth in the cooperative sector in Uganda.  Statistics from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives show that Uganda has over 41,621 registered cooperative societies under their various categories.  Financial Cooperatives (SACCOs) are estimated to number 28,556 and account for approximately 69% of the registered societies.  The various categories of SACCOs include community-based and institutional SACCOs, Emyooga SACCOs, and PDM SACCOs. 

There are many critical success factors that must play together for SACCOs to be sustainable. Good governance, the ability to raise share capital and grow savings, the product offering and its relevance to the members needs, as well as regulatory compliance

While growth of capital, savings, surpluses, and loan portfolios may point to the success of SACCOs, these may not be adequate measures for determining whether all sustainable SACCOs are impacting positively on the welfare of their members until a system is in place to check on the utilisation of the funds borrowed and the successful Projects undertaken by members through monitoring and evaluation. 

Monitoring and Evaluation [M&E] in organisations helps track the progress and impact of programs and projects on the beneficiaries. In SACCOs, M&E provides a link between the activities of the SACCO and those of its members. It provides a basis for assessing progress and aids societies in making informed decisions, learning from experiences, and improving processes and future initiatives, as well as building institutional memory and influencing policy. 

SACCOs that deliberately facilitate M&E reap the benefits of transparency. By opening themselves to scrutiny, they are able to identify mistakes and make timely corrections and adjustments as applicable.   

The members should know that their projects will be evaluated to assess progress and determine whether the SACCOs are having a significant impact on their welfare. 

In Wazalendo SACCO, monitoring and evaluation are areas where we are now focusing our energies and resources.  We believe that effective M&E will help us remain focused on becoming a strong and self-sustaining SACCO that drives the development of its members.

Col.Joseph Freddy Onata is the Chief Executive Officer Wazalendo SACCO.

This opinion piece first appeared in Issue 31 of theCooperator News

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