Basic steps to creating a successful Chama

Basic steps to creating a successful Chama

Every Chama has phases that they pass through before they realize their success. Some economists have referred to these phases as a failure for Chamas.


There are so many successful Chamas around. What makes a Chama successful? What can you do to make your Chama succeed?

How do you get the most out of your Chama?

Choose your Chama members wisely

Other than the investments, people make up the Chama. A Chama with disinterested members is like a train with no engine.

Members of a Chama should share the same vision for progress and growth. 

Also, remember, teamwork always wins. Choose members in a way that all of them have an essential role to play in the Chama.

Your savings group should at least have one financial professional to help with financial guidance.

Chama holders should be strategic and intentional when picking members. Reject failure and save your Chama than accept members with no value.

Members selected should, therefore, be dependable and goal-oriented. There has to be a shared purpose. It is the role of the members to remind each other why the Chama was developed.

Have a mission

Most Chamas and investment groups are purposely driven by the members’ zeal to achieve financial objectives.

You have to initially set your money goals and visions from the start. 

Decisions on the goals for a group can never be decided by one person but all members.

This is likely to be one of the most crucial stages as it will determine if your Chama will flourish.

Chamas all have a common ground that they agree on including a savings plan, duration of meetings, desired goals, and so forth.

Cohesiveness in a Chama is what drives everyone to put in the work to reach a collective desired goal.

Elect an industrious leader

Chamas need leaders to spearhead the mission of the group and maintain focus. Someone has to lead the pack.

Here you need to have a leader that is skilled in entrepreneurship and has mastered the skills or business development. Such people are the best to achieve financial results.

Of course, there should be a democratic and fair manner in the ways things are run. Members should feel free to challenge their leader when they do not deliver results.

Assign each member with a strategic and well-informed task to encourage teamwork.

Set Rules for your Chama

Set rules to govern mode of conduct as a Chama, disbursement of funds, how and what to invest in as a group.

Simple fines for putting in check those that compromise the rule will keep everyone on toes.

Careful though, if your Chama imposes harsh norms, you are bound to lose members both new and existing.

Rules should be set to oversee the smooth operation of the Chama and its activities and not frustrate members.

Plan ahead of time

After you have set financial goals, what next? Action! Design the best action plan for your team. Here, members must mean business because they cannot take chances with your investments.

Your plan as a Chama should include income-generating activities to give it a lifeline, e.g. merry-go-rounds, savings and investments. 

Financial knowledge

Most Chamas are centred around finance as their core existence. They are purposely fabricated to reach financial goals that individuals could not do alone like investing in real estate, purchasing farms, buying pieces of land etc. 

Chamas have faced difficulties in the past not because they do not have enough funds but due to the lack of financial knowledge and discipline. This is why critics like Waceke Nduati think Chamas don’t work. 

Create a Chama with at least one member who has a finance background. The rest of the members need to chip in and help the Chama grow.

Each member should have some financial education to keep up with the state of their investments.

Chamas should encourage learning, and this should involve all members.

Maintain high proficiency

However much you might be friends, acquaintances as well as members of the same Chama; stick to your purpose.

Maintain professionalism in your meetups and follow the initial agreement.  

Should all hell break loose and you go out of hand as a team, the rules you set should be able to draw you back to your purpose.

Prioritize savings and investments

Every Chama should have initial savings that can be invested for revenue. Saving is a gradual process.

Ensure that the process is not slow yet not too fast that the members are strained.

When you employ tough savings mode, members will feel burdened and are likely to drop out.

Saving should be simple yet impactful for the group. Decisions on saving and investing should involve all members of the Chama.

While investing, Chamas should look and learn from other groups, observe their shortcomings and find ways to avoid such.

How your Chama invests will determine the future of your group.

They started as a local women’s collective group, and the idea later sprung into many other sectors.

We have seen the birth of banks, SACCOs, and so many companies like Centum Investments that started as Chamas.

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