Since 1908 when Kenya’s first co-operative society was formed, the sector has continued to grow, becoming one of the world’s great.
Currently ranked first in Africa and seventh internationally, the co-operative movement has made significant milestones.
According to the Ministry of Trade and Industrialization statistics, co-operative sector has generated employment opportunities for over 500,000 people and indirectly for more than 3 million.
One such employee and co-operator is Julia Wamuyu Kanyogoro, who has worked in the cooperative sector for 38 years. Julia joined the sector in 1981 as a student in the co-operative college where she graduated in 1983. She worked in Kirinyaga and Nyeri as a Co-operative Officer under the State Department for Co-operatives.
Following the inception of devolved governments, Julia joined the County Government of Nyeri where she has served in her role for the last nine years.
So far she has worked in six of the eight sub-counties whereby her skills and expertise have been invaluable.Julia is a committed co-operator who is very passionate about her work.
She loves to see people grow and raise their standards, and this has been her driving force since she joined the co-operative industry.
Over her 38-year career, her responsibilities have been mostly co-operative advisory services based through attending general meetings, management committee meetings and education to members’ forums.
She has also conducted pre-cooperative training, helped register and promote co-operative societies.
Julia has also been instrumental in ensuring co-operatives run smoothly and in accordance to the Co-operatives Societies laws and regulations.
She has been a part and parcel of formulating many co-operative societies across the country which have since grown into giants and significantly transformed people’s lives.
One of her proudest accomplishment has been being part of the group responsible for the formation of Tea Growers Saccos in the 1990s.
The Sacco’s have since grown into great giants, benefitting hundreds of farmers in the 19-tea-growing counties and beyond.
Director of Cooperatives, Peter Theuri has labelled Madam Julia as a coach, mentor, trainer and a great ambassador as far as co-operative matters are concerned.
Further, she’s been praised as a person who is always ready to share her knowledge and experiences to all adding that she has made it easy for other officers to serve the co-operative movement effectively.
“Her passion and determination has been very inspiring to us. I am sure she has transformed many lives during her 38 years of service.
We are grateful for her selfless service and wish her all the best in her new chapter in life,” added Theuri.How do you balance the work and the family for all the years? It’s been quite challenging but prayers and support from my family has gone a long way. I ensure that we are in constant communication with the family as well as purposely make time to meet mostly on weekends.
What kind of challenges have you experienced?I abhor corruption hence faced quite the challenge as I experienced some of it during my initial years of employment.
This is because corruption has led to the death of so many cooperatives even before the members have reaped any benefits. What message do you have for H.E Governor Mutahi Kahiga?I wish to thank Governor Kahiga for the opportunity to work in his government.
He is a committed leader, particularly to his staff’s welfare, seeing that we have never lacked our salaries on time. Governor Kahiga is a cooperator at heart and I would continue urging him to continue supporting sectors such as the coffee/tea/dairy in terms of value addition.
I understand you are retiring on Sunday, 22nd August, what’s your parting shot and message to cooperative leaders and the youth who are starting out in this industry?I am grateful to God for his favor at work, to my seniors for facilitating me adequately and allowing me to perform my duties with a bit of independence in decision making.
To the Co-operative movement, I enjoyed working with and for you, though I retire from public service, I will always be available for consultation and advice. I remain a co-operator at heart for I know, Cooperatives are organization that greatly transform the lives of their members.
I would encourage cooperative officers and youth starting out in this industry to love and be committed to their work as this will drive them to do it well. Take the time to understand the Cooperatives Societies Act as it will guide them their entire career.
I am proud to have served for 38 years and I retire with pride as my fingerprints are deeply engraved in the history of the movement. Lastly, I would encourage each and every person to adopt a saving culture.