Magazine article New Internationalist

Co-Ops Driving Change

Magazine article New Internationalist

Co-Ops Driving Change

Article excerpt

Until five years ago, Joseph Mwaura was just another downtrodden middle-aged Kenyan eking out a living washing cars at a petrol station on a busy highway in Nairobi. He hated the meagre $10 daily income, but with a family of four to feed he had no choice but to stick to his bottom rung of the ladder - or so he thought.

Today, Joseph runs several taxi-service cars, employs six people and lives in his own house, besides comfortably meeting his children's education needs.

The secret to his transformation? Joseph joined a local saving and credit co-operative. Through it, he put aside $4 a day until he had saved enough to be able to borrow three times his savings, enabling him to buy a piece of land and venture into the transport business.

The co-operative movement in Kenya has helped millions of people like Joseph, transforming ordinary citizens into home and small-business owners through cheap, affordable credit.

Since 1908, when the British colonial government introduced the concept here, the movement has grown to become the most successful in Africa, it Is the seventh-largest - and the fastest-growing - In the world. …

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