Self-help groups or Chama’s in Kenya have turned out to be a common way of collecting money from a group of people who have come together with a goal to achieve.
Chama’s started off as women groups who used the avenues for saving money. Originally, the majority of them operated as merry-go-rounds and where the money would be contributed to buy household goods such as utensils for one member or the money contributed would be given to a member.
The main objective of a Chama then was for members to meet, talk, eat and contribute a specific amount of money monthly. Each month a person would receive the money and use it for a project or whatever investment they wanted to make. This goes on until all member of the group get money and the process starts all over again
Currently, many investment groups have graduated from just the normal contributing groups where the money would end up with one member to contributing cash that is invested in long-term goals. This is an indication that Chama’s’ have discovered that there is potential to transform the lives of members in different perspectives.
Key to a successful Chama is when all the members share the mission, vision, and objectives of the group. Before registering it, there needs to be an agreement among members; that all the members. This way the Chama members are sure of achieving their desired goals.
Here are some elements that will guide through knowing a serious Chama before joining one:
As members of an investment group, do you have a shared goal of what you what to achieve? It is in human nature to compare and desire what your neighbor has. But it is only wise to learn from others.
Do not have a vague vision that will end up being buried in a report book where nobody knows what really the vision means, what actions is implied and what they stand for. Having a powerful vision means that the vision should inspire action. A powerful vision pulls in ideas, people, and other resources. It creates the energy and will to make change happen. It inspires individuals and organizations to commit, to persist and to give their best.
A vision is a practical guide for creating plans, setting goals and objectives, making decisions, and coordinating and evaluating the work on any project, large or small. A vision helps keep organizations and groups focused and together, especially with complex projects and in stressful times.
How are the activities in the investment group being handled? What do people say about the group? What is the communication chain of the group? Is the organogram clear, are members performing their designated roles? As much as you may develop friendly relationships with your investment groups, it is very important that activities within the Chama are handled professionally.
The organizational structure should be respected and proper flow or chain of communication should be established at all times so as to avoid misinterpreted or misguided information.
What big thing do you what to achieve as a Chama? What legacy do you what to build? What will you do that will break records and make your group stand out from the rest of the Chama’s? Investments must be chosen with the main goal in mind: safety, income or growth.
The first thing you need to decide is which of those three characteristics is most important. Do you need current income, growth so the investments can provide income later, or is safety your top priority? Investment whether for an individual or a Chama is an art. Chama’s are an investment. Success depends on the choices you make. Choose wisely and have a legacy for people to promote your business.
Join Rafiki Microfinance Bank as they kick off their #ChamaTuesday series where a wide range of issues concerning Chamas will be discussed. If you are in an investment group or planning to join one, Rafiki Microfinance Bank has been voted as the ‘home of Chamas’ in giving investment groups the help they need.