Staff savings and credit scheme: is it the way to reduce financial stress on devoted service providers? TASO Uganda experience
Presented by Emmanuel Wandera (Uganda).
E. Wandera1, C. Barugahare1, K. Mugisha2, F. Wasagami3, J. Birungi3, P. Sebanja4
1The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), Internal Audit, Kampala, Uganda, 2The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), Capacity Building, Kampala, Uganda, 3The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), Planning and Strategic Information, Kampala, Uganda, 4The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO), Advocacy, Kampala, Uganda
Issues: TASO serves over 90,000 HIV positive clients and has around 1,000 staff. In a resource limited setting, staff benefits are low and employees look for opportunities to earn extra income. Employees in HIV/AIDS care agencies find it difficult to engage in other income generating activities because of the tight work schedules. They end up living with financial stress that eventually leads to reduced morale and inefficiency at work. Employees often request for salary advances; making their monthly take-home pay very little.
Description: The TASO savings and credit scheme was established in 1992. Subscription to this scheme is voluntary. Whoever subscribes to the scheme is obliged to save a portion of their monthly salary. The money is pooled together on a bank account and managed by an elected executive committee of 5 members. Employees are entitled to access loans from the scheme at a low interest rate. The loan is recoverable in small instalments over 24 months. Interest that accrues from the loans is shared as dividends among members.
Lessons learned: The staff savings in the scheme have grown from $126,086 to $308,609 while loans advanced to staff grew from $101,231 in 2006 to $294,518 in 2009 respectively.The scheme has reduced financial stress among staff by offering loans at a lower interest rate of 5% with out the need for collateral securities unlike the commercial banks. Incidences of staff asking for loans from the organisation have reduced; staff retention has improved and there is evidence of increased motivation and commitment of staff towards work.
Next steps: A well managed staff savings and credit scheme has the potential to reduce financial stress among service providers and enhance their motivation and retention. Human resource managers in HIV/AIDS programs should consider utilizing similar schemes as a complimentary strategy for improving staff motivation and retention.
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