MARACHA. Teachers in Maracha district have been asked to join the Walimu savings and credit cooperative organization (SACCO), a saving scheme established by the government of Uganda with the aim of improving teachers’ lives across the country.

From 2015 to date, the government of Uganda has so far injected shs17.8 billion into Walimu SACCO.

According to Mr Steven Nabende, the national chairman of Walimu SACCOs Union of Uganda, the fund that teachers get through the SACCO helps them to establish individual income-generating projects.

He said this in turn, improves teaching efficiency as teachers don’t live in fear of being chased by financial institutions over unpaid loans.

Speaking to the headteachers of primary and secondary schools in Maracha district at the district headquarters over the weekend, Mr Nabende stressed that it is an urgent cause because teachers have been involved in multiple loan borrowing from money lenders, something that has made them not to perform in class due to the fear of being arrested.

“We have taken the initiative to train teachers on the importance of financial discipline and good financial management because we have observed that many teachers take multiple loans that end up affecting their performance in schools,” Nabende said.

He disclosed that the Walimu SACCO has a target of starting a teachers’ bank in Uganda by 2024 of which the current SACCOs in districts will automatically become its branches.

Mr Bosco Adrimundu, the headteacher of Ojapi primary school called upon the district education office to consider sensitizing teachers on the importance of joining the Walimu SACCO.

“Whenever it comes to loans, headteachers realize it when banks invade schools to know about the presence of teachers who borrowed from them. Teachers have local SACCOs but those who do not want to save, are the ones who borrow loans from money lenders without first seeking for advice,” Adrimundu said.

Maracha district education officer, Ms Flavia Osoa noted that multiple loan borrowing is one of the main factors keeping teachers out of schools.
She said some teachers have opted for Boda Boda work at the expense of teaching with the aim of looking for ways of repaying loans.

Ms Flavia Osoa 29 10 19Ms Flavia Osoa speaks to teachers during the sensitization meeting in Maracha. PHOTO BY JOSEPH ODAMA

“The issue of teachers having multiple loans affects their performance. This makes teachers not to settle at their schools. Teachers are always looking through the windows to check if loan officers are coming. This for many years, has affected us as a district,” the DEO said.

Osoa observed that teachers are not enjoying their work because their minds are disturbed with loan issues as many of them have become addicted to borrowing.

Ms Rose Ayaka, the Maracha district woman Member of Parliament (MP) urged teachers to join the Walimu SACCO so that they can get many other project opportunities to boost their financial capacities.

Ayaka noted that improved financial management by teachers will make them stabilize economically and boost their teaching morale hence contributing to better performance in schools.