How was the chama formed?
It was formed by friends who used to work together at Eastleigh market before it was demolished. Members then introduced their trusted friends, and that brought the number to 15. The maximum number we want is 20.
If one is brought by a friend, they have to be members for two years, before they can introduce someone else.
How do you operate?
We registered ourselves under the Ministry of Social Services and then got into a programme for chamas with the Equity Bank.
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Members have to be at least 15 and contribute at least Sh100 each for six weeks before they are entitled to a loan.
So how does it work?
Members have individual accounts and they contribute the much they can. The chama members are just the security that is required by the bank if they want to take a loan.
One gets a loan that is 10 times their amount of savings.
How often do you meet?
We meet every Thursdays and an official from the Equity Bank comes to talk to us about the latest services they offer. It helps us especially because we are still new to the programme.
For instance today we were introduced to a programme known as Eazzy 24/7.
When do you contribute the money?
Every week during the meeting, members contribute any amount ranging from Sh100, which goes to their savings. Those repaying loans also bring the money and at the end of the meeting it is deposited in the account.
Members are all business people and the loans help them in boosting their businesses.
Before a member takes the first loan, we go to their house and see what they own. The household assets are the security. We steer clear of one’s business.
What are your plans for the future?
We would want to have a joint account where we can put the money that members pay as fine and also start a merry-go-round. Merry-go-rounds strengthen members’ commitment.
We also have a long-term goal of opening our own training school where we will teach tailoring and embroidery.
So your chama is a financial one?
Not exactly, we are also concerned with members’ personal situations. For example, if a member is strained that they cannot pay their weekly amount, we contribute and pay for them and they refund later. We are also good friends.
When members take a loan and default or miss the weekly payment and meetings. Sometimes they have to be reminded about their savings as well as their loan payment.
Other Members: Peninah Obiero, Grace Mnala, Anne Afande, Consolata Ouma, Grace Juma, Beldina Nyaema, Veronica Musomba, Rahab Kuria and Rose Odeny.