From initial daily savings of Ksh50 each, boda-boda operators in Nanyuki town, Laikipia County, have become proud house owners in a gated community in Nanyuki, now called the City Between Mountains. The motorcycle taxi operators came together in 2011 and formed a chama, from which members could borrow money to buy spare parts or bail themselves out in case they were arrested by traffic police.
Gradually, the scope of the chama widened and the Nanyuki Boda Boda Sacco (Nabosa) was registered with the aim of helping members buy new motorcycles. In 2015, the idea of a housing project was mooted and a housing co-operative – Nabosa Housing Co-operative Society Ltd – was registered. The housing co-operative formation was inspired by success stories of a similar NACHU project for motorcycle taxi operators in Kitengela area of Kajiado County. In 2018, 60 members were able to get affordable houses. “I had never imagined owning a parcel of land; leave alone a house, before the age of 30. It seems too good to be true,” says 28-year-old James Mwangi, who operates near the Nanyuki Central Park.
The second phase of the project, which will begin soon, will see the completion of another 60 units that will benefit other members. Located in Ichuga village 7km from Nanyuki town and two kilometres from the Nanyuki-Nyeri Highway, the houses are in a gated community on a six-acre piece of land.
The success of the housing co-operative saw it recently contracted by the Laikipia County Government to mobilise youth into co-operatives and mentor them into entrepreneurial thinking.
On its part, the housing co-operative was able to lobby the County Government to improve internal roads and water supply.