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Odongo was poor but Loro-Oyam Sacco lifted him out of poverty

In 2016 Pasquelli Odongo, 42, dreamt of building a residential house in his village, Ayom-Apwono, in Aber Sub County, and five years later he is a proud owner of a modest three-room house in the northern district of Oyam.

In an interview with theCooperator, Odongo tells a stirring story about how his membership of Loro-Oyam Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (Sacco) catapulted him to financial success.

Odongo, a father of two, says he sold three sacks of maize one day and got Shs 700,000. He used the cash windfall to join Loro-Oyam Sacco in 2016 and subsequently his savings grew to Shs 25 million over the years.

He said he withdrew part of his savings and built his three-room residential house and set up a retail shop.

“The Sacco gave me Shs 25 million from the Shs 500,000 monthly savings I injected in and I must say joining the Sacco was a blessing because it allowed me to construct my residential house,” he said in the interview.

Odongo told theCooperator that after completing his house, he opened a retail shop in Loro Town Council, which is helping him sustain his young family.

Brian Olum, a Boda Boda rider, had financial constraints too until he joined Loro Oyam Sacco. Olum like Odongo said the Sacco has improved his livelihood.

“I started with only one motorcycle, but after saving for the last three years, I have managed to procure three new Bajaj motorcycles, they are all on the road and I earn Shs 150,000 weekly,” he said.

He says money from his Boda Boda business has boosted his savings. Vicky Adongo, another Sacco member and peasant farmer, says the Sacco has enabled her to build a house.

“I approached the Sacco in 2018 for my first loan and was given Shs 2 million, which I topped up and bought land. I immediately started constructing. Recently I was given another Shs6m, which enabled me to push the house to the top,” Adongo, a widow, said.

Loro Oyam Sacco is currently one of the most capitalized Saccos in the Lango Sub-region, with 2,217 members, 24 farmers groups, 101 VSLA, eight learning institutions, 14 churches, share capital of Shs 265m, members’ savings of Shs544m, and a loan portfolio of Shs453m, according to Jacob Odur, the general manager.

This is in sharp contrast with only 33 members the Sacco had in 2012 when it was formed to fight poverty through credit and savings.

Odur said the Sacco, which started in July 2012, was registered in 2014 and currently operates at Loro Town Council.

Interviewed, Brian Okello, the Sacco chairman, said people are still poor at saving.

“As management, we have launched member mobilization drives and conducted training especially on financial literacy, poor saving culture still remains a loophole among community members,” he said.

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