The co-operative principles are guidelines by which Cooperatives in general and SACCOs in particular put their values into practice. These are:
- Voluntary and Open Membership
SACCOs are voluntary organizations; open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
- Democratic Member Control
SACCOs are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership.
- Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their SACCOs. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the SACCO members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote).
- Autonomy and Independence
SACCOs are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organisations, including Governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their SACCO autonomy.
- Education, Training and Information.
SACCOs provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their SACCOs.
- Co-operation Among Co-operators
SACCOs serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.
- Concern for Community
SACCOs work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by the General Meeting.