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MEMBERS’ PARTICIPATION, SUSTAINABILITY OF SAVINGS AND CREDITS CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETIES: A QUALITATIVE CASE STUDY
Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (SACCOS) are directly serving more than two million people in Tanzania; most of whom are from the low-income population. However, its sustainability remains questionable. This paper explored the role of members’ participation in the sustainability of their SACCOS. The study used a qualitative case studies approach. This design was suitable for understanding the membership and sustainability as it helps to probe deeply by exposing participants to a real-life situation which otherwise is difficult. Data were collected from four (4) rural SACCOS based in Mpwapwa district in Dodoma (MDC, 2016), Tanzania using focus group discussion and interview methods and was analyzed using the content analysis. The findings of the study revealed that members’ participation and the way SACCOS was formed are crucial in the sustainability of SACCOS. The findings too show that participation is determined by the way SACCOS was formed and commitments of members in SACCOS’ activities which are; attending meetings, borrowing and saving money. Moreover, the results show that the conditions that limit the ability of a member to practice democratic rights are the major reasons for poor participation and sustainability in SACCOS. For instance, the wider coverage area for SACCOS’ operations and cooperative education were identified were important factor which influences members’ participation in SACCOS activities. Thus, to improve sustainability in SACCOS the focus should be on strengthening member’s participation through promoting close membership which will enhance the democratic process in SACCOS.
Keywords: Member’s participation, Sustainability, SACCOS, Qualitative Study