Women and Chamas are like men and football. Actually, when our husbands are busy catching up on the game over the weekends, we are busy in our various chamas.
Being in a chama is one of those very Kenyan things. like saying “Me I”. or looking up and concluding “Hii jua ya mvua.” (this sun will bring rain)
I got to learn about chamas when growing up from my late Cucu. Where I come from, we call them “Ngurufu” which is a corruption of the word ‘Group’. My Cucu belonged to several of them. The Mother’s Union one, the Women’s guild one, and two others which I am not sure how they(the women) came together in the first place. I remember how religiously she made her contributions and would rather fail on anything else but not “Koruta” ( contribution).
Back then because there were no computers, the chair lady and treasurer kept two exercise books for book keeping and reconciliation. Life was hard then as things like mobile money were nonexistence so they all had to meet to contribute. Then the treasurer would keep it under a mattress. Again, banks were not as well known or as welcoming as they are nowadays.
The hustle of keeping accurate records of all those who contributed, those who failed, those who borrowed, how much they have paid back, defaulters etc is one that my Mum goes through also in her chama made up of former high school mates.
Every month when they meet, that ka-book is brought out. God forbid if that book ever got lost, rained on or torn by mistake.
The recently launched EazzyChama platform by Equity Bank will benefit Kenyans, many of whom, despite having very little accounting skills, like my mum and her friends, believe firmly in investment groups.
What is EazzyChama?
Its is an easy to use book keeping tool for investment groups or as we say, Chamas
What exactly does it do?
If you have ever used excel which is an easier option to the exercise books my mum and Cucu use, then you know that sometimes it can be a pain using excel especially if you don’t know how to use formulas to get things done quickly.
The EazzyChama tool has the following functionalities
– Automates member invoicing
– Generates individual statements for all contributing members
– An interface for every member to log in and check on their contributions, make payments etc
– The data is stored online (on a cloud) thus it is accessible anywhere as long as you have an internet connection
– A cash book module for the treasurer
Whilst a bevy of chama book keeping solutions have been developed locally to enable easy management of group investments, there are several things to consider before putting all your information in them.
How secure is your information, is it prone to access by a third party and what guarantee can the solution developer give you that your information will not visible to un-authorised users?
Coming up with a stable & reliable bookkeeping platform requires a very good understanding of accounting as well as a very stable hardware platform that will support your interactions with the platform. You don’t want a service that is complicated, will keep hanging or keeps failing to load when you need to use it.
Keeping up with contributions and following up with members is hard enough for any treasurer, they need not take any more time trying to prepare different reports such as total contributions, loans, investments repayments, defaulters etc.
4. Integration with banking services
Most chama solutions out there are independently developed and run with no integration with banking facilities. Thus to access huge loans is such a pain with so many hurdles to jump.
Visit the EazzyChama website for more details on how it works and to sign up.