By Renson Ndoro
We have recently marked a very significant occasion in the history of Imarika Deposit-Taking (DT) Sacco – the official opening of our new Imarika Plaza, and the launch of our 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.
The Sacco, having been officially registered in 1974, initially targeted primary school teachers, but we have since opened our common bond, accepting everyone to join us. This is our small part in ensuring financial inclusion among the unbanked.
As we celebrate our most recent milestones, it is also important to remember a few other achievements over the years through the support of our members and partners.
After opening our common bond in 1998, we started computerising our operations at a time when many other co-operatives were still on manual record-keeping. We also opened numerous branches across the coastal market. We have completed the eighth one in Mombasa at Kengeleni.
In 2013, we rebranded from Kilifi Teachers Sacco to Imarika Sacco, and started our very own Imarika Foundation in 2015. The foundation, which is majorly funded by the Sacco, focuses on five pillars: Education, Health, Disaster and Emergency Relief, Environmental Conservation, and Agribusiness. We strongly believe that these initiatives have gone a long way in reducing the number of the unbanked, and has also made positive impact on the communities around us.
The whole world is just recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, albeit slowly. Its effects on the co-operative sector was very significant, affecting the ability of our members to save and also repay their loans.
The war being waged on Ukraine at the international scene, coupled with an electioneering period in Kenya, has made the operating business environment increasingly volatile.
And yet in our contemporary business environment, customers expect more, as they increasingly become aware of alternative products and services in the market. This is also true for Saccos, and places a huge responsibility on the leadership to deliver. The situation calls for more proactive approaches to governance and management.
Our dream of having a new building started over a decade ago. I want to particularly thank our members, through the delegates who are their representatives, for approving and financing the construction of Imarika Plaza, whose ground-breaking ceremony took place in July 2017.
Special appreciation to the entire board and management of Imarika Sacco for having played an amazing role in making sure that the project became a success. Our dream has come true!
Sincere gratitude to the team of engineers and contractors who worked tirelessly to make the project a success. We also appreciate all our other partners for having played a role in our success.
We want to thank our regulator – Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) – and also other arms of government, for approving and guiding us along the way during the entire process. From that humble beginning pioneered by less than 100 members back in the early 1970s, we have grown to a membership of over 140,000 registered members, with an asset base of Ksh10.6 billion. This is as at May 31, 2022.
I also pay special tribute to the founder members and all former directors for their vision and direction, and the retired members of staff for their unwavering dedication towards this Sacco.
The new Imarika Plaza is located at the heart of Kilifi town. It will go a long way towards helping the Sacco provide better services to our esteemed members by ensuring that they are able to easily access products and services. Members will now be served in our ultra-modern banking hall. Our menu of products and services addresses all segments of our membership.
Imarika Plaza will also provide an avenue for the Sacco to introduce a new revenue stream through the letting out of extra space. We welcome all potential tenants to engage us for an opportunity to work in one of the most comfortable and secure buildings in Kilifi county.
And as we launch our ambitious 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, we have a clear vision of becoming the trusted Sacco of choice. Our new strategy focuses on the member. It is designed to ensure that members are socio-economically uplifted. It also focuses on growing membership and offering better services through the use of technology as the major driver of operations.
Being a reliable and stable home-grown financial institution of choice, I want to encourage the public to join us so that we may all realise our dream and mission of gaining financial freedom.
On June 25, 2002, we published a newspaper supplement detailing our progress and the latest milestones. Feel free to download your copy from here.
Long live Imarika DT Sacco; and long live the co-operative movement!