The role of savings and credit cooperative societies in facilitating rural financing in Kenya (a case study of Embu county)
Rural financing is one of the critical factors to promote productivity and ensure an improved social and economic development for a country like Kenya, whose population of about 80% is rural-based and dominantly depending on agriculture. Like in many other developing countries, access to financial services in most parts of Kenya, particularly the rural areas, is very limited. The specific objective of the study was to assess the role of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) in facilitating rural financing; it analyzed the type of financial services and products offered by the SACCOS and assessed the extent to which SACCOS are effective in facilitating rural financing. Data were collected through questionnaires. The study used a sample size of 35 respondents, which comprised SACCOs members and SAC COs board members. In data presentation, tables, charts, percentages and graphs were used. The study found that a majority of SACCOs offers Credit and saving facilities only while money transfer, insurance and deposit products are not offered. A number of SACCOs were found experiencing poor management, low membership, and a low level of knowledge on the part of members. The study concluded that if SACCOs are managed sustainably, they can playa critical role in facilitating rural financing. The researcher further recommended that in order to improve sustainability and ensure provision of knowledge for best practices, the government should put in place reliable mechanisms to the SACCOs.