At the 38th Annual General Meeting in March 2019, I was elected to the Board of Kanisa Regulated Non-Withdrawable Deposit taking SACCO Society Limited (“Kanisa SACCO”). Excited but also unsure of the mandate I took up the role in great stride, with a commitment to serve the members and to grow myself professionally and socially.
After 4 years of service and due to changes in personal circumstances and priorities, I decided not to offer myself for re-election at the 41st Annual General Meeting on 11 March 2023. It has been a challenging yet fulfilling experience with many lessons that I carry with me onto my next adventures wherever they may lead me.
I am not a perfect being devoid of shortcomings, but nonetheless I am proud of the contributions I made towards:
- Strengthening governance and management of the society in my role as Vice Chairperson of the Board, Chairperson of the Education and Business Development Committee and as member of the Finance and Administration Committee
- Rescoping the role of the Education and Business Development committee to play more strategic functions in the management of membership processes, communications and technology, products and services development, and marketing and related polices
- Improving how we communicate with members and market our products and services leveraging the power of technology by developing a new and regularly updated website, active use of social media including opening of new channels, e-newsletters, system-automated SMS and WhatsApp, including the development of digital audiovisual marketing content. Now you can find Kanisa SACCO on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
- Restructuring the Secretariat and recruitment of competent staff to improve our capacity to deliver better services to members and to anchor future growth of the society
- Playing a key role in the review of the 2015-2019 strategic plan and development of a new strategic plan 2020-2024 including its recent mid-term review.
- Leading the Society’s transition process into a new regulatory framework introduced by SACCO Societies Regulations of 2020, particularly by managing the transition preparation process, ensuring development/revision of required policies, and provision of education to directors and members on the same.
- Spearheading the Society’s first-ever milestone celebration of the 40th Anniversary in 2021 that brought increased visibility to the SACCO.
- Contributing to industry thought leadership through published opinion articles (on making boardrooms accessible for young people, 5 reasons why you should join a SACCO and how to teach your children financial skills) which have been published by KUSCCO in its quarterly SACCO Star magazine and speaking at different fora.
- Enhancing service delivery by staff through the development and rollout of a new performance management system for greater effectiveness and accountability.
- Championing the mainstreaming of the use of technology across different areas of the SACCO’s operations including digitalization of processes and services, transition to paperless board and committee meetings, virtual general meetings and member education and engagements.
Despite these achievements, I believe Kanisa SACCO could still do more and better in:
- Relooking the SACCOs governance framework and finding ways to enhance diversity (in it’s many forms) including to reflect the changing landscape of its membership, in order to expand the Board’s professional capacities and to strengthen decision-making.
- Attracting more members, especially young people to join cooperative societies and inspire them to take up leadership in those institutions to help shape the movement’s new growth trajectory.
- Supporting board members to build greater emotional intelligence required particularly when handling tough matters or have to make unhistorical or unpopular decisions on matters pertaining to change management and business process re-engineering.
In this journey, I have learned many lessons and grown as a person and a professional in many ways, among others;
- Enhancing my resolve to serve for causes greater than myself with the satisfaction that my efforts and contributions have been for the benefit of our more than 3500 members and their families who trust and rely on the SACCO to help them achieve their financial goals
- Improved my governance and leadership skills particularly in my ability to shape policies, offer strategic direction and empower others.
- Networking, learning from others and building my personal brand within the cooperative movement in Kenya.
My appreciation goes out to:
- The members of the Society who saw the potential and elected me to serve in the Board. Thank you for your confidence in me and I assure you that my contributions have made the SACCO better for your sake.
- The Directors with whom I’ve served over the last 4 years – Anne Kioi, Richard Kola, Boniface Maina, Philip Tuwei, Alice Agunda, Charles Lwanga, Sandra Sophy, Goeffrey Alemba, Grace Mwangima, Joyce Kangogo and Everlyne Okunda. Thank you very much for the collaboration and friendship. There were times when we agreed and when we disagreed, but in all we put the interests of the society and it’s members first.
- The SACCO staff who’ve worked for the SACCO during my mandate; Charity Mwangi, Casper Mutoro, Geoffrey Mokaya, Godfrey Mwangi, Dennis Osewe, Quinter Anyango, Milkah Wagura, Kenneth Hinga, Maureen Mukungu, David Ndivo, Gloria Lwile and Mary Mueni. Thank you for the important role you play in supporting our members to get the best out of the SACCO.
- The Cooperative Officer for Westlands Sub-County, Mr. Njoroge Mwangi for his constant counsel and support to the Board
- All our partners, stakeholders and service providers who have in one way or another supported our goal by delivering the products and services we needed to achieve our objectives.
- To my family – my wife (who’s also a member) and our 2 sons – who have had to endure many days of my absence from home when I had to be away to attend to the call of duty at the SACCO. Thank you for the understanding and support for my mandate.
As I bow out, and who knows maybe to return to the Board in future, I would like to
- Wish to the continuing and new Directors the very best in the discharge of their mandate. I encourage them to be open-minded to new and alternative thinking, brave in making decisions and alive to the custodial duty to serve only the interests of the members and the society.
- Call upon members to support the Board and staff in their service to them, but to also not shy away from pointing out when things go wrong and from offering themselves to take up leadership of the Society. We need more new people and ideas to push the SACCO to grow in news ways.
- Reassure the Society of my continued membership and availability to lend my counsel and support as and when called upon.
Thank you all for the memories!
Nelson Opany, MoP, MPRSK
Vice Chairperson, Kanisa SACCO (2019-2023)