Some chamas that contribute modest amounts per month may face challenges on how to grow their savings so as to earn more and reach their goals. Whilst some adapt the merry-go-round concept where all the money contributed during the monthly chama meeting is given to one person; others opt to contribute and put the money in the bank Whilst the money is secure in a bank account, it earns very little interest thus the chama does not get a good return for their savings.
Due to this, many chamas stagnate; the livelihoods of the members remain unchanged leading to disillusionment. This is what brings about unrest and even break-up of chamas due to discouragement. Lack of growth and opportunity for chama groups is brought about by lack of access to information on credit opportunities they can exploit to improve their lives.
Did you know that funds to support women groups such as your chama are available through government. These include The youth fund , Women Enterprise fund and Uwezo fund.; yet your chama may have missed out due to poor flow of information?
Well, something exciting is happening and you and your chama need to take advantage of this. Mrs. Rachel Ruto, wife of Deputy President who launched a successful woman enterprises organisation known as JOYWO – Joyful Women Organisation in Eldoret North a few years ago, is set to expand this organisation’s tentacles countrywide to benefit all of us. Now, any chama in Kenya can enjoy what chamas in Eldoret and North Rift have been enjoying in the past couple of years. JOYWO is set to embrace chamas from all over the country to empower women and help them access the government funds such as The Women Enterprise Fund.
JOYWO is set to represent low-income chamas at the top. JOYWO will assist to build the capacity of women on economic empowerment and poverty reduction. Mrs Ruto has stressed chamas all over the country to embrace this new concept of table banking where women can save and watch their lives change. According to Mrs. Ruto the government through Poverty Eradication Commission (PEC) has launched the table banking system with the aim of helping women in low-income chamas access funds for income generating activities. Since its inception, JOYWO has enrolled over 1000 affiliate women groups (chamas) with an average membership of 25 women per group.
What is table banking? Actually this is a very simple concept similar to the merry-go-round. The only difference is that the money contributed by the members is not given to one person to take home. What happens is that the money is collected and then members take soft loans until all the money is used up. During the next meeting, each member pays back her loan with an interest varying from 10 to 20 percent, depending on what the group decides. This way, the money keeps growing and more money is available for members to borrow every time.
So how can your chama become a member of JOYWO? The chama should be composed of at least 25 – 35 members. Each member in the chama must pay a non refundable fee of Kshs 150 for registration. This money is left in the group. From then on members have access to government funds in the form of Short term loans and Long term loans through JOYWO.
The group must have a written chama constitution that gives precise information about the groups. These include: When the group was formed, The members of the group, The nature (Business) aim of the group, The officials of the group, The rules and regulations of the group. The headquarters of JOYWO are located in Eldoret along Kenyatta Street at Metro Towers. To register, you can elect one of your chama members to travel to Eldoret to the headquarters. Though it may be distant, it is certainly worth the effort, given the gains. They require to see at least one member of the chama representing the group before your chama can be registered.
Once your chama becomes a member of JOYWO, an official is assigned to your chama wherever you are. This official attends all your meetings and is able to monitor the activities of your chama. Your chama will articulate to him or her your chama goals, how much funds you need and your plans. The officer acts as a link and puts your case forward for funding at JOYWO. The interest rates of these loans are very low at below 12 percent.
Tags: table banking, table banking concept
This post was written by Martin Njuguna
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