The Cooperative Alliance Of Kenya (CAK) replaces the hitherto national apex body, the Kenya National Federation of Co-operatives (KNFC). Formed in 1964, KNFC was the first apex organization, whose key objective was promoting the development of the cooperative movement in Kenya. In line with its objective, it was instrumental in initiating the establishment of specialized cooperative institutions, many of which are now key National Co-operative Organizations (NACO’s) that play a critical role in the financial sector such as the Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd, the CIC Insurance Group Ltd, the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (KUSCCO), the National Cooperative Housing Union, (NACHU) and many Savings And Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) among others. The formation of CAK was a response to the need by the cooperative movement to have a single voice in addressing its concerns on the national and international stages.
Cooperative Societies Act, CAP 490 of 2004.
Government ID Number: CS 12402.
National cooperative organizations (NACO), cooperative unions and primary cooperative societies.
Cooperative Bank of Kenya, offering Financial Services;
Cooperative Insurance Company (CIC), offering Insurance Services;
Cooperative University College of Kenya for cooperative education and training;
KUSCCO, the union for urban savings and credit cooperatives;
NACHU, for the housing cooperatives in Kenya;
Kenya Rural SACCO Societies Union, (KERUSSU) for the rural savings and credit cooperatives;
Cooperative Development Information Centre (CODIC) for computer software information management;
Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters (KCCE) for value addition and marketing of coffee;
New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (New KCC) for processing and marketing of dairy produce.
Individual farmer membership
Smallholders, farmers, commercial farmers, fisher folks and pastoralists
Governance and structure
CAK is structured based on different levels as follows:
CAK apex at the national level;
National cooperative organizations;
Secondary cooperative societies (district unions - composed of primary cooperatives);
Primary cooperative societies (composed of individual persons).
The General Assembly is the highest authority of CAK and counts with 255 members (except for Nairobi County with 25 elected delegates, members in the rest of the Counties elect 5 delegates each).
The Governing Council that serves as the governing authority of the Alliance and consist of: 15 elected members including four from the national cooperative organizations, eight from the regions of Nairobi, Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Central, Eastern, Coast and North Eastern; one representing countrywide SACCOs; and two coopted by the Governing Council. Four Sub-committees are already constituted from the Council members to address issues such as but not limited to cooperative finance, human resource, agriculture and manufacturing, cooperative business and trade, cooperative governance and policy, technical (on programmes, projects and proposals) and audit (monitoring and evaluation).
The Technical Committee comprises NACO’s Chief Executive Officers and serves as the ‘Think Tank’ of the Governing Council.
The executive officers of the Alliance are the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, and the Executive Director.
Vision. To be the voice and national guardian of the Co-operative Movement in Kenya.
Mission. To represent, fulfill and to further the interests of members
Slogan. “We are stronger together”
Objectives. CAK objectives are to:
Represent, fulfill and further the interests of its members with emphasis on lobbying, advocacy, networking and collaboration at local, regional and international level;
Promote the development of the cooperatives;
Engage in any income generating activity in furtherance of the above objectives;
Act as a custodian and exponent of the cooperative values and the cooperative principles.
Sectors of intervention and activities
1. Capacity-building and institutional support to members
2. Policy engagement, lobbying and advocacy
3. Provision of economic services
4. Communication and knowledge management
5. Other: Networking, collaboration and representation
Lobbying and advocacy and involvement in policy formulation and analysis.CAK’s key mandate is to pursue lobbying and advocacy for a favorable and enabling policy and legal environment for cooperative development in Kenya to create harmony in the cooperative movement for socio-economic member empowerment. In particular,
CAK lobbied for the enactment of the SACCO Societies Act No. 14 of 2008 which has led to the establishment of the SACCO Societies Regulatory Authority. The national apex has continued to champion for an enabling environment on behalf of the cooperative movement by taking an active role in the formulation of country cooperative laws;
CAK received support from Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) in 2015 under the Food Governance Project to fast track the drafting of the proposed county cooperative law into a model county cooperative Society’s Bill by legal draftsmen. A national cooperative validation forum for the proposed county co-operative societies bill was held with 38 county governments’ representatives and over 200 co-operative leaders attended the meeting. The USAID funded cooperative Program (EMIRGE) further supported the process of fast tracking the legislation process for the buy-in of the legislative process by the county and national governments;
CAK actively participated in the drafting and public hearing of the East Africa Community Cooperative Society Bill, 2015. The law aims at boosting regional trade and co-operation among co-operatives for greater economic growth.
CAK in collaboration with the National Government, the State Department of Co-operatives were able to stop a private member bill that sought to change how co-operatives function guided by the co-operative principles - the proposed statute law (miscellaneous amendments) bill, 2018 and the proposed amendments to the Sacco societies act. The co-operative leaders and the government strongly opposed the amendments and these were ultimately rejected by parliament.
CAK together with the co-operative leadership participated in the development of the new national co-operative policy through the State Department of Co-operatives in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives. Parliament has already approved the policy and it is awaiting accent as a Sessional Paper.
Provision of economic Services:
Improving the process of the value chain. CAK, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, is spearheading the revival of the agricultural production such as cotton, fish and aquaculture, apiculture, dairy/livestock, coffee, horticulture, cashew nut, macadamia nuts among others. Areas of intervention include the following activities: (i) procurement and distribution of farm inputs; (ii) bulk handling of grain and fertilizers; (iii) value addition and supply chain management; (iv) ware housing receipt system; (v) marketing of produce through e-service; (vi) promoting exchange programme locally, regionally and internationally; (vii) enhancing food security through micro-irrigation for small holder farmer.
Credit cooperative. Co-operatives have played a key role in financial deepening and intermediation with mobilized savings of Kshs 378 billion, (2010). This accounts for 30% of the gross national savings while providing affordable credit to members in over 5,628 SACCOs which have established over 400 Front Office Services Activities (FOSAs) that are deposit taking activities in both urban and rural areas. Some SACCOs are now key financial sector players and providers of micro finance services.
Institutional development. CAK addresses and incubates emerging cooperative institutions/organizations such as investment, women and youth cooperatives among others. CAK does play the pivotal role of institutional development through supply of model by-laws and conducting pre-co-operative member awareness program. With the support of the Support to Farmers’ Organisations in Africa Programme (SFOAP) and through EAFF with funding from European Union, IFAD, French Development Agency and Swiss Development Cooperation, facilitated the strengthening of two agricultural cooperatives (Kirinyaga Dairy Co-operative Society and Borabu Dairy Co-operative Union) from 2013 to 2017.
In addition another project is on-going courtesy of Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) with grant funding from EU-ACP Secretariat for a programme dubbed Farmers ‘Organizations for African,
Caribbean and Pacific Countries (FO4ACP). The Programme runs from 2019 to 2023. The beneficiaries are 24,000 smallholder and family farmers, 40% being women, in 6 co-operative societies namely Bumula Dairy Co-operative Society, Gesima Dairy Co-operative Society, Nyala Dairy Co-operative Society, Endarasha Farmers Co-operative Society, Kirinyaga Dairy Co-operative Society and Mburugu Dairy Co-operative Society in Bungoma, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Embu counties respectively. The overall objective is is to increase income and to improve livelihood, food and nutrition security and safety for the smallholder and family farmers.
Awareness Campaign and Innovation. CAK undertakes intensive awareness programs within the cooperative movement in the following areas: (i) innovative development of products and services; (ii) good corporate governance, value addition and supply chain management; (iii) promotion of new forms of cooperatives; (iv) strengthening of existing weak cooperatives and supporting the newly registered cooperatives through governance programs and member training days; (v) cooperative educational programs through the existing print media and broadcasting on radio and television for the visibility of the cooperative movement.
Information Communication Technology. CAK has established networks and linkages with ICT service providers with a view to enhancing e-service/e-business through relevant Information System and Information Technology for the benefit of the entire cooperative movement in Kenya and Africa.
Institutional support to members. CAK organizes international exchange visits and study tours for members. These include: (i) the MASHAV Israel Training, in collaboration with Alliance Africa, on the topic "Cooperating out of Poverty- Cooperatives and Enterprise Promotion in Africa"; (ii) The Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) study tour, in collaboration with African Cooperative Leaders (2016); (iii) CAK/DGRV Study Visit (2016).
Coping Mechanisms and Covid 19: Following the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic in mid-march 2020, the Co-operative Movement was least prepared for the abnormal global occurrence. The Government of Kenya through the leadership of His Excellency the President demonstrated its preparedness and commitment to deal with this virus. Kenya’s initial response to COVID-19 was highly praised as effective in suppressing the
spread of infections such that by 1st of October, 2020 in Kenya, there were a total of 38,713 reported cases of Covid-19, 718 people had succumbed, a total of 25,023 had recovered from the diseases. In overall, Ministry of Health reported that the tests conducted by then were 552,646. The Co-operative Alliance of Kenya’s leadership took action immediately following the government protocols and collaborated with the Commissioner for Co-operative Development to mitigate the spread of this pandemic and manage its impact in the co-operative sector and the economy at large. The sector would focus on non-clinical activities and mobilization of the necessary financial resources to support in minimizing the potential vagaries of Covid-2019. A Co-operative Corona virus Response Committee (CCRC) was immediately constituted by members from the State Department for Co-operatives and key stakeholders from the Co-operative movement. This would allow for broad-based approach and a dip-dive in outreach to the sector to maximize the support. The committee reached out to the most vulnerable cooperative members from a total of 21 counties (Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Laikipia, Nyeri, Nyandarua, Meru, Meru, Isiolo, Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu, Tana River, Kwale, Nakuru, Narok, Baringo, Kisumu, Kakamega, Kisii, Nyamira and Garissa) and a total of 357 societies. Each of the societies reached, had an average of 23.3 households, with an average household size of 4.2 persons per household compared to the National household size of 3.9 as per the Kenya census report, 2019. This household size translates to a high dependency ratio compared to the number of household bread winners. A total of 8,328 households were
reached with at least a coop kit in support of their families. This translates to a population of approximately 35,000 Kenyans. From the total households reached, 53% of these were men headed households while 47% were women headed households. This was an overall indication that the men headed households were the most affected compared to the female headed households. The Committee was able to mobilize Kshs. 12,731,435 between April to October, 2020 from 67 cooperative societies and organizations in the country. Individual members also made individual donations. A few challenges included immobility due to Covid-19 restrictions where the government imposed a Nairobi lockdown and a curfew that made movement in and out of Nairobi a challenge within the months of April-June, 2020 and as such limited the co-operative business operations. There were job losses resulting to loss of income consequently affecting their incomes and such they were forced to hold on what they have for future uncertainties. As a way forward and in the light of the on-going pandemic, the co operative movement needs technical and financial support from other key stakeholders and development partners to carry out the socio-economic impact of the Covid 19 to serve as a basis for thePost-covid-19 Socio-economic recovery strategy.
Coffee, green coffee, Cotton, Fish, crustaceans and molluscs, Other Products, Pyrethrum, dairy, cereals, Sugar cane, Tea
Agence Française de Développement (AFD), German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation (DGRV), European Union (EU), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), USAID and EU ACP Secretariat.
The Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP) 2019-2023, funded by the EU/Secretariat of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States and IFAD. Building on the success and lessons learnt of the SFOAP programme (see below), FO4ACP aims to increase the incomes and improve the livelihoods, food and nutrition security and safety of organized smallholders and family farmers in ACP countries by strengthening regional, national and local farmers’ organizations. The project is supervised by IFAD and implemented by six regional farmers’ organizations, the Pan-African Farmers’ Organization, Agricord and the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. In Eastern Africa, the programme is coordinated and implemented by EAFF. National farmers' organizations, such as CAK, are the co-implementers of the programme and are responsible for executing national activities;
CAK/ DGRV Project (2014-2017) the aim was to strengthen governance structures in agricultural co-operatives and their associated rural SACCO’s;
Support to Farmers’ Organisations in Africa Programme (SFOAP) (2013-2017) (IFAD, EU, SDC, AFD financing), a capacity building programme that supported the institutional capacities, policy engagement and engagement of dairy value chain of dairy farmers’ organizations in Kenya. CAK participated in the SFOAP as a member of EAFF;
EMIRGE (2016-2017) (USAID financing). USAID/EMIRGE entered into a memorandum of understanding with CAK to support the lobby activities of CAK for a model county co-operative society’s bill in support of the devolved functions of the co-operative sector;
Agriterra - 2017 to 2020 - CAK received support from Agriterra to enhance organizational development and create vibrancy through strengthening governance by training the board members and the development of a sustainable business model (2020 - 2023);
The Co-operative Alliance of Kenya partnered with NCBA/CLUSA for the implementation of a Co-operative Development Project for creating an enabling environment for co-operative expansion. (2019 to 2023).
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