January 10, 2014   by

The business of Chamas is all about teamwork. A collective effort of all members towards a common goal. The truth is, Chamas consist of different personalities some hardworking and focused, others with a lackluster, casual attitude towards Chama activities. This means that the bulk of the work may be left upon the more enthusiastic members while some members just sit back and do the bare minimum. For instance if the Chama has a project to survey banks offering the highest interest for fixed deposit accounts; all members are supposed to participate and do their part then report to the group later. In many Chamas a common scenario is you will find one or two members who never participate in any project. They always feign forgetfulness, illness or even don’t show up on the next meeting and thus squirming their way out of the work they should have done. These people will just put in the bare minimum, technical appearances here and there, frequent absenteeism and pushing jobs to fellow members, while they just sit back without lifting a finger. The whole essence of the Chama is to work together as you rely more than ever on one another to get the job done. Your success and the Chama’s success depends on members working together efficiently and productively. If one of those cogs in the wheel is faulty, then the whole Chama investment project can go bad. Let’s look at ways to handle Chama members who shirk responsibilities and how to get them to do their part.

Give deadlines

Make sure that if you need a member’s input by a specific deadline, you’ve made that deadline clear. Do not nag as that is sure to annoy the other person and only lead to more communication problems. If you think there may be problem, be positive: “Diana, I just want to check in and remind you that our deadline for those stockbroker contacts is on Friday thus I expect you to be prepared on our next meeting on Saturday. How is it going, any problems? No? Nice! That’s wonderful news. I’ll check back in on Thursday.”

Don’t be a martyr.

If you know the only way the work is going to get done is by putting in a lot of time, avoid getting upset that all the work has been left on your shoulders. Instead, be proactive. “Nancy, we’ve really got to make sure this feedback on bank Chama accounts is done by next meeting on Saturday, and it looks like the banks are too many I can’t manage to talk to all them by then. Which ones would you like to talk to?”


There are people in the Chama who are so cunning and good at escaping their share of the workload. You will find that these people are so charming and will get you to do more than your fair share of the work as they charm you to take on theirs. Don’t give in simply because it’s easier to do it yourself than to push them to do it. You’ll only end up hurting yourself because you’ll burn out much sooner. Instead, be focused on your objective, which is making sure the member follows through on a work commitment. It is best to do this when you’re not under the threat of a deadline. Pick a quiet time, and say, “Brenda, it seems that I’m usually the one who takes on the extra workload when there’s a deadline. I’m willing to do my part, of course, but I’d like to talk about ways we can split the work a bit more fairly.”


You may be angry and resentful by the time a member does come through, but your anger won’t help. Instead, be appreciative so that the member’s helpfulness won’t be a one-time thing. “I see that you got the figures to the meeting in time. That really helped us meet the deadline. Thank you.”


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