• As you join a Chama, you are advised to ensure you know the person keeping your money at a personal level.
• Though they are known to be dominated by women, men too have moved to embrace Chamas as a way of gaining financial security.
Chamas are self-help groups of people who come together to create a common pool of funds.
The self-help groups were originally women's way of saving money but men have also embraced Chamas as a way of gaining financial security.
The groups have morphed from tea-drinking meetings to recognition by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development.
Chamas can actually be registered as private limited companies.
So, what are some of the factors one ought to consider when joining a Chama?
1. You must know the treasurer at a personal level.
Every Chama has officials from a chairperson, a secretary and a treasurer who keeps the group's money and financial records.
As you join a Chama, you are advised to ensure you know the person keeping your money at a personal level.
You must have a feeling of trust toward your treasurer.
Cases of treasurers running away with members' money have been common.
Knowing and trusting your Chama treasurer is a safeguard to reduce the chances of losing your money.
2. Make sure the frequent contributions are not strenuous to you.
There are frequent contributions in every Chama. It could be once every week or twice every month with a set specific amount.
If you find the frequency of the contributions to be strenuous financially, then the Chama will be an inconvenience to you.
3. Be familiar with the ones you are keeping money with.
One should not keep money with people they consider strangers.
So that in case anything goes wrong, you have fellow members to consult.
4. Condiser Chama meeting schedule
Chamas meet frequently to discuss money matters.
Though with the Covid-19 pandemic, Chamas moved to hold their meetings online, some still meet up physically.
Some Chamas meet every weekend while others meet once a month.
Every Chama has its own way of running matters as guided by their Constitution.
Thus, meeting times are different and one ought to find a Chama they feel is convenient for them.
5. If you can measure up to the rules.
Every chama has a constitution with set guidelines on how operations in the Chama will be conducted.
The Chama constitution will show you the penalties and punishments when rules are broken.
For example, when one delay making their contribution, the delay could attract penalties. The constitution also has rules on absenteeism.
A Chama constitution may limit the number of times a member is to be absent even if it is with an apology.
Before joining a Chama, request to read their Constitution for you to understand their rules.