Saturday, 2 June 2012

Rwanda | Nyaruguru district: A new way of salary payment pays off

Almost two years down the road, Nyaruguru district teachers are upbeat about a new, alternative way to pay them their monthly salaries, launched at the district headquarters to supplement their usual Huye town payment avenue.
Both primary and secondary school teachers usually get their salaries through the Huye town branch of UMWALIMU SACCO, a savings and credits cooperative for Rwandan teachers. Since 2010 though, a SACCO mobile cash dispenser team has been travelling more than 30 kilometers to meet teachers at the Nyaruguru district headquarters, as a supplement to its Huye town main branch.
“Today life has changed for the better”, says Emmanuel Muhire, a teacher at Groupe Scolaire Saint Laurent, a twelve-year basic education high school in Cyahinda sector, Nyaruguru district.
“Teachers from as far places as Nshili can now get their salaries easily instead of making their way up to Butare town [former name for Huye town]”, Muhire added.
Two more attempts by this news website to get reactions of teachers from Nshili in Busanze sector were futile, as their mobile telephones could not go through. But at more than 60 kilometers away from the SACCO’s Huye town branch, this news website can only assume that Nshili-based teachers supposedly used to pay the price coming from this rural, remote area of the Southern Province at the border with neighbouring Burundi.
According to Charles Gakwaya, education officer in Nyaruguru district, the SACCO’s mobile cash dispenser is making lives of teachers much easier.
For about two years, they had been complaining that going to Huye town for payment, he said, cost them both more time and transport fees. Besides, SACCO’s Huye town branch being at the crossroads with many more teachers from neighbouring districts meant that Nyaruguru teachers could even spend a day before their payments were made − an equally lost class day for their students.
“Huye branch is now only useful for our teachers [from Nyaruguru district] who are near Huye town. Others just go to Nyaruguru district to get their salaries”, Gakwaya said.
Figures from Nyaruguru district’s education department suggest that a total of 1,774 teachers work both in primary and secondary schools in the district.
Each month when it’s the payment time, a SACCO’s mobile cash dispenser team head to Nyaruguru district office, where they receive makeshift rooms to operate in. As this news website understands, discussions are even underway between Nyaruguru district and SACCO to open up, in a near future, a permanent SACCO sub-branch in Nyaruguru district to keep serving local teachers.
UMWALIMU SACCO is the initiative of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, with a mandate of helping members boost their socio-economic status and contribute to the socio-economic development of the community in which they live, an online government document says.


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