By Eva Kiden JAckson
Saint Kizito Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, a group of women that came together in 2014, though doing individual business, as well as group business have been trained on Micro-finance to enable them access loans to manage and grow their businesses.
The St. Kizito women group was registered as a cooperative society in Jan 2018 before the registration it was managed by women with about 35 members. The group without any external funding depends on sales (in marketplaces, during trade fair etc.) From products made by its member members registration fees and members monthly contribution to run its activities.
Mama Doris Keji, Chairperson of the St. Kizito Women Cooperative Society told Brisker Magazine that the number of its members have increased drastically after registration with the Cooperative Society as a Cooperative, “At the starting we were 35 members, but after registering, the number increased to 100 members. Still more are willing to join us. We charged a registration fee of 500 SSP and 200 SSP as monthly contribution for service in the office. The payment of 200 SSP started from January to October,” Keji said.
The business model of the St. Kizito Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society is quiet simple and straight-forward, the group deals in production of liquid soap, Jik, ear earrings, necklaces, pasta (supagiatti), cookies, local cakes, peanut butter), Sunday prayer papers among other stuffs. The profit it earns from sales of these items is retained and lend to members to payback at an interest of 10-20 percent. The borrowers are given a period of time to repay the amount lend to or such that another member may borrow the money.
Few banks with this recession lend to groups like St. Kizito because of risk that comes with unsustainable earnings, collateral (security pledged for the repayment of a loan, normally an asset or something that can be easily convert to cash) etc. With help few microfinance, like Sazduk Micro-finance currently active on lending to small business owners, and cooperative, the cooperative society is seeking for an opportunity to embark on its business model and expand its operations.
The major role of micro-finance institutions in the economy is to offer affordable financial services (mostly administering loans) to its members in trade, manufacturing, services and agribusiness among other SMEs as well as training solutions to serving loans.
Mr. Waja Robert Credit Manager at Sazduk Micro-Finance located in City Mall – Hai Malakia-Juba, during the training on ‘How to get loan investment and saving’ at St. Kizito Multi-Purpose Women Cooperative Society said that his organization lend to groups and small business owners. “Sazduk Micro-finance gives group loans basically for those who are doing small business through Micro-credit lending. it’s important that, before giving loan, it’s necessary to equip them with basic business skills of management, so that they understand the concept of business and way of managing cash or loan safely, such that they know how to service the loan as well as handling the business, it will result in getting more loans in the future and will improve their lives, Waja added.
Talking about loan repayment, Sazduk loan repayment plan is in form of installment. “Because it’s a micro-loan, it will be either on weekly or monthly basis” Waja explains.
With about 40 members from St. Kizito who attended the training, Sazduk Microfinance is will to lend to about 20 members. “They have 40 Members on board, but some have already acquired loan from other institutions, so those remaining maybe around 20 members only who will be able to get loan from Sazduk micro-finance, Waja clarified.
St. Kizito Women Cooperative Society privileged to have also attend similar training and got access to loans from other financial institutions amongst them Nile Commercial Bank, and Dim Sisters.
“We gained a lot from such training, first, we gained skills and knowledge on how to save money and get loan for someone who wants to start a business, second, we know the meaning of loan and important of saving, third, the training encourage us to work hard with the little we have, as we know that women are the vulnerable groups in the community”, Mama Keji added.
South Sudan formal and informal enterprises such as St. Kizito, Kuru Ko Wate, Mononyik Women, Kitaneeta Women and other women-lead enterprises need support from the financial institutions to gain more access to financial services not only getting loans but also develop their capacity in small business management to be able to increase the scope of financial inclusion especial among the vulnerable women and youth. Banks and Microfinance institutions should develop policies and products that are flexible and fit for small and medium-sized enterprises.