December 10, 2013   by

How to make decisions together in the ChamaWhen working in a group full of people with diverse opinions such as a Chama, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page. The group discussion can go on for hours.

People can often see issues differently and they all have different experiences, values, personalities, styles, and needs. When time is of the essence, a good decision is one that’s made quickly. Where Chama members can work together maturely, Chama decision making is often best. Keep in mind that you must have a clear, fair set of rules in place that will require your Chama to come to a decision during meetings.

Appoint a parliamentarian

This should be a balanced, level-headed person who does not tend to take one side
over the other on a regular basis. This person will be responsible for maintaining order, closing discussions and demanding that a decision be made or asking for a vote.

Set rules

Draw up a set of rules for the Chama to follow regarding the decision making procedure before any discussions begin. The Chama leader should create the rules and submit a copy to each member. These rules should include information on how long an issue will be discussed, how long each person has to make his point, and how the vote will be conducted for example, by ballot or show of hands. Each member must comply with these regulations and leave if he refuses.

Ensure participation

A good decision depends on hearing everyone’s opinion. In a Chama situation, that doesn’t always happen naturally: loud people tend to get the most attention. Quiet members can often feel intimidated and don’t always speak up, particularly when their ideas are very different from the popular view. Discuss the situation and allow each member to give her perspective on how the issue should be resolved or approached. Keep your time restraints, as defined by the rules, in mind.


A great solution is the product of comprising many ideas together. Such a technique is commonly used during the time of making a group decision, where many ideas or opinions are expressed in order to reach to a conclusion. Such a process is termed as Brainstorming. This strategy has the advantage of improving the number and quality of the ideas. Listening to different views of different people proves more effective than an individual’s view. This method disallows the criticism of views and promotes more ideas and its analysis. As, more than one person is involved in this technique, it is likely that the opinions of people might not always be well accepted. Therefore, it involves a procedure, which helps in smooth running of brainstorming session.

Establish Chama Priorities

During group decision making, you need to prioritize a set of options, where everyone has different views; the classic situation in which this occurs is where people are allocating resources between competing projects. First, the Chama discusses the problem, then Chama members narrow down the issues to the key choices they must evaluate. From there, participants each rank their top choices. The Chama totals the rankings for each alternative, and the options with the highest ranking emerge as the group’s priorities.

Call for a vote

This should be done by the parliamentarian on each proposed solution if a yes or no is not obvious from the discussion. The decision that receives the most votes will be implemented. The Chama leader should choose the final decisions if there is a tie between two options.

Reaching to the Decision

Submitting the list of ideas and conducting a discussion, every participant must express their individual views on the short listed ideas. The individual must give the effects of her appropriate decision and must allow others to share their thoughts on the following decision. After everyone expresses their view and suitable ideas, it is then possible to arrive at the best decision.



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