Cooperatives are an integral part of the alternative economic and social development model that hold the capacity to integrate social responsibility and civil society values of collaboration, cooperation and solidarity. It is based on the fundamental Catholic values of coming together and caring for one another that the Archdiocese of Kampala has been working for a significant time to support the expansion of cooperative enterprises under the church structures. We are strong believers that the cooperation values complemented with the spiritual support provided, delivers an integrated approach to the development of the individual and our communities.
The Caritas Cooperatives Office works to develop, grow and support the grassroots parish-based cooperative movement within the Archdiocese of Kampala, through the implementation of a framework conducive for the formation and growth of sustainable societies, expanding awareness of cooperatives as value based business model and as a means of socio-economic development for individuals and local communities.
This continued work has resulted in the formation of 37 registered groups, 24 Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) and 13 multipurpose societies, including 6 agricultural cooperatives, accounting for 17,165 members - 53% women and 47% in September 2015 that has already surpassed the 20,000 members in 2019 - distributed in Kampala, Wakiso, Mpigi, and Butambala districts based on the parishes below indicated in yellow.
KAMPALA ARCHDIOCESE COOPERATIVES LOCATION
With the support of Viatores Christi - an Irish faith-based organization - funded by Irish Aid through Misean Cara since 2015 under the project “Strengthening and Capacity Building of Caritas Cooperatives in the Archdiocese of Kampala”, Caritas has set the foundation for the implementation of an effective capacity building agenda through the assessment conducted to the development of the “Caritas Cooperatives Strategies and Action Plan 2016 - 2020”, strengthening of the relationship with the cooperatives and key stakeholders in the sector and delivering workshops.
In 2017, and as a result of the work conducted during the course of this partnership, Caritas Kampala was awarded a three year contract to continue to expand its work combining training, technical assistance, exchanges of experiences, review and implementation of policies, provision of tools and equipment to ensure better quality of services delivered to the members and higher transparency and accountability across Archdiocesan cooperatives.
Caritas Kampala Cooperative Strategies 2016 - 2020
Current Focus Areas
Strengthen cooperatives governance, management and business development to grow self-reliable and self-sustainable societies, expanding its financial inclusion and benefits to the members and local communities.
Implement a multi-year training program to build the capacity of the Caritas team, cooperative leaders, staff, members and other stakeholders, facilitating training, education and learning systems, complemented by technical assistance and follow-ups, focused on the following areas:
governance and leadership
financial and risk management
business development skills
savings and product development
Promote cooperation, mentoring and exchange of experiences and networks among parish-based cooperatives and the relevant stakeholders of the sector
Strengthen organizational capacities of the office and cooperatives to ensure effective programming implementation and structural growth of groups for enhanced quality of members’ service delivery.
Introduce standardized systems for the office and cooperatives to harmonize practices and track the progress of activities and cooperatives performance for prudential supervision, reporting and better assist their needs.
Promote communication and marketing initiatives to engage community, stakeholders and partners.
The implementation of this capacity building agenda expects to foster the cooperative capacities to take advantages of opportunities that make them stronger societies to help to expanding financial and social inclusion, increasing opportunities for those who own and democratically control these societies and the development of their communities.
Summary of Achievements
Training Program: over 4,000 beneficiaries, including leaders, staff and members of cooperatives trained in governance, financing and accounting, credit management, business skills and financial literacy.
Cooperative organizational and structural capacities: Governance Charter, Financing and Accounting and Credit Lending policies set up; 7 equipment and 6 furniture sets distributed; produced and gradually implementing accounting stationery and software; and development of an MIS for the office.
Mobilization/Community Engagement: over 10,000 people sensitized about the cooperative model during community events and campaigns. Published articles in the national newspaper about cooperatives:
Advocacy: - Engaged in the reinstatement of 10 year tax exemption campaign for SACCOs among other initiatives, and held a meeting with the Honourable Minister of State for Cooperatives Frederick Ngobi in 2018.
Governance and accountability: set up the Caritas Cooperative Council to provide oversight during the implementation of the project alongside the regular Project Management Committee and Forum of Cooperative Leaders' meetings.
Building partnerships: strengthened the relationships with Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA), Uganda Cooperative Savings and Credit Union Ltd (UCSCU), Uhuru Institute, Centenary Bank, government and the Church structures, creating opportunities for increased advocacy, sharing and learning.