NCBA CLUSA supporting Kenya's efforts to strengthen legal framework for co-ops

Written by Sarah Crozier

NCBA CLUSA signs an MOU with Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives.NCBA CLUSA signs an MOU with Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives.NCBA CLUSA signs an MOU with Kenya’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives.Formalizing a partnership with the Government of Kenya, NCBA CLUSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this month with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, agreeing to jointly support the development of the country’s national policy and legal framework for co-ops.

In collaboration with the Ministry, NCBA CLUSA will facilitate stakeholder participation in a review of the National Cooperative Development Policy and align it with the new Constitution, which was established in 2010. This effort builds on NCBA CLUSA’s work in fostering enabling environments for co-ops across East Africa, including the development of a co-op policy in Mozambique, and current collaboration with the Government of Madagascar.

“The cooperative movement in Kenya continues to contribute enormously towards the socio-economic well-being of our people,” said Ali Noor Ismail, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Co-operatives under the Ministry, at the Cooperative Leaders Forum held earlier this month. “The government, for its part, is doing everything possible to enhance the policy, legal and regulatory environment for cooperatives to operate in,” he added.

In addition to bolstering the co-op legal framework, this partnership will promote the registration of a National Cooperative Organization or National Federation for Youth Cooperatives. As youth increasingly participate in Community Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) and their co-ops mature, this Federation will provide a wider platform for Kenyan youth to engage in advocacy and resource mobilization.

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This partnership will also help ensure a positive role for cooperative societies in achieving the country’s development objectives under Kenya’s Vision 2030. To date, the movement has mobilized savings of over 600 billion Kenyan shillings. The State Department for Co-operatives has registered over 22,000 co-ops, with a total membership of 14 million. The sector employs more than 500,000 Kenyans. This partnership will seek to unlock the potential of the co-op sector through inclusive economic growth and improved livelihoods for Kenyans more broadly.

Steve Otieno, Acting Chief of Party for NCBA CLUSA’s USAID Cooperative Development Project in Kenya, who established this partnership, noted the importance of reviewing the current cooperative laws and how they fit into Kenya’s Vision 2030.

“Through this partnership NCBA CLUSA will actively champion stakeholder inclusion and participation of the process of reviewing the National Cooperative Development Policy and its implementation,” Otieno said.

In addition, NCBA CLUSA will work with the Kenyan government to develop a Cooperative Department Management Information System, which will help to build the capacity of registered co-ops. This work will extend to strengthening farmer groups, producer organizations, youth groups and women’s groups. A focus on including women, youth and people with disabilities is also a clear priority for Kenya.

“The theme of this year’s International Day of CooperativesCo-operative Day—‘Cooperatives ensure no one is left behind’—captures the spirit of inclusivity. It should guide us to bring our Youth, Women and Persons Living with Disabilities on board,” Ismail said. 

Signing on behalf of NCBA CLUSA was Jonathan White, Director for East and Southern Africa.

To learn more about cooperative development in Kenya, see our USAID Cooperative Development Program projects.