Cooperatives & Communities

Women Urged to Join Cooperatives, call for more inclusion in Leadership.

Call made at Women's Day Celebrations

 

ARUA, UGANDA: Women in Arua District have been urged to join cooperatives if they're to attain finacial literacy and independence.

Presiding over the District Women's Day celebrations at Oluko Sub-County, Arua Deputy Resident District Commissioner(D/RDC) Alice Akello said that cooperatives like SACCOs can help women minimize reliance on their spouses for provision of basic needs for their families, and help them develop a saving culture that can help them make investments.

She however appealed to the women to find a balance between doing cooperatives’ work with home responsibilities, urging that the neglect of the latter was found to be a leading contributor to domestic violence in homes.

Juliet Driwaru, a resident of Arua municipality who was amongst the hundreds that turned up for the celebration said that through the support of the SACCOs, she had managed to meet some of her financial needs without having to resort to high interest loans from commercial banks.

As a result, Juliet said, she has been able to start a business selling second hand clothes in Arua town, which has improved her family’s income. She argued that SACCOs need to be introduced at village level, especially in hard- to-reach areas that don’t usually access a number of government services.

However, despite the commendable work that the Deputy RDC said SACCOs were doing in West Nile, other women decried the fact that women continue to be excluded in the leadership of these SACCOs, most of which are led by men.

Grace Chandiru, a member of Arua district Business Women Enterprise Ltd noted that during elections, Men are prioritized for top leadership positions in SACCOs, which demoralizes Women from enthusiastically getting involved in SACCOs’ activities.

She argued that continued exclusion of women was eroding their confidence, and explained why many of them sit quietly and are unable to contribute to meetings chaired by Men. She said that SACCOs need to be deliberate about involving women in leadership, as a way of motivating them to play a more active role in their activities.

Membership in SACCOs generally remains low in West Nile, with a 2011 report by the Micro-Finance Support Centre noting that the entire sub-region had only 63,000 people as members of SACCOs across its eight districts, out of a then population of 2,813,800 people.

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