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Welcome to the month of May. May happens to be a special month for me as I was born in this month. So, happy birthday in advance to me!  

The month of May also happens to be month when workers all over the world are celebrated. The 1st of May is annually celebrated in many countries, as May or International Labour or Workers Day. Here’s wishing everyone Happy Workers Day (in arrears).

Although the theme for this year’s Workers Day was not announced, I have chosen to dedicate this week’s article to the celebration of workers and labourers, using the 2019 theme of “Uniting Workers for Social and Economic Advancement.”

This theme resonates with me given the current economic realities in Nigeria and many parts of the world as well as the lingering effects of the 2020 pandemic on the labour market.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, the word unite means “to join together as a group or to make people join together as a group; to combine.” Uniting, therefore, means the joining or combining together of people as a group.

Below are some of the ways I believe workers (or individuals) can come together for social and economic advancement:

  • Cooperatives/Esusu: Last August, I wrote about a lady I know (Iya Ayo) who partially financed the university education of her last child in Russia through her membership of the staff cooperative of her place of employment.

Many people who work in companies with cooperatives can readily relate with her experience. Even traders and people in the informal sector can attest to this fact.

Apart from being cheaper sources of funding, it is also helps one leverage on funds that would otherwise have taken longer to raise.

Today, many people live in houses either purchased or built through their cooperative investments. For others, it is their side businesses that were funded through such cooperatives.

Many of those in the informal sector can confirm the efficacy of esusu as it has been used by millions of traders to buy much required inventory or tools of business.

We have a co-operative group within The Smart Investment Club and contributions commenced in October 2021. Monthly contributions have been ongoing in the last 6 months and from May, financial activities typical of a co-operative will commence. Please email businessmanager@smartstewards.com if you would like to know more about it.

  • Associations: This relates to both professional and social groups. Associations are also good avenues of seeking or gaining leverage through numbers. They also provide platforms for networking and achieving common good. This holds true in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.

Some, especially the business inclined ones, have been known to pool funds together to either sponsor social activities in their communities, brainstorm, learn new techniques or hold training sessions or business excursions.

  • Post retirement ventures: Althoughthese groups are not as common as the previously mentioned ones. Many Gen Xers, especially those nearing retirement are beginning to explore business opportunities in groups as a means of preparing for the next phase of their lives.

Although this list is inconclusive, they all rely on the principle of strength in numbers to ensure that common goals are achieved easier and faster. I find that the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” holds very true in this instance. As we continue in our various personal finance and wealth building journeys, we will do well to always remember this.

Please remember to continue to maintain safety and social distancing protocols. Here’s wishing you all a fulfilling week ahead.

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