Chamas putting a big smile on women’s faces


National Police Wives Association Trans Nzoia coordinator Sophia Ngikoi (right) receives foodstuff from members at her home in Kitale town on October 19, 2021.  

Photo credit: Gerald Bwisa | Nation Media Group

Women are an interesting species. I say this with a lot of pride, as I am one of them. You see, 2020 and 2021 were difficult years for every person, family and organisation.

Yet despite the financial and economic hardships, women have stuck with the same financial habits and are not letting their chamas go.

I know of men who had little or no regard for chamas, yet when the going got tough during the pandemic, they were fed and the bills in their houses paid yet they could not tell where the money came from. Well, it came from chamas, merry-go-rounds, piggybanks, name it. Women do not need big money to start saving.

The month of December is always bitter-sweet for employed persons. Some employers pay salaries just before Christmas, putting a smile on your face before the festivities. Sadly, you are broke by December 28 yet your bills are yet to be paid and the children are about to go back to school. 

The second type of employer will give you a shopping voucher that is just enough for basic Christmas shopping, then pay you on the last day of the month when you are sober and able to think of school fees and other bills. Either way you are doomed.

Your children do not care whether you have been paid or not, and by December 15 they will chastise you into decorating the Christmas tree, buying presents, clothes and so on.

Social media pages

As men sulk in January, women start vacationing in the best of hotels, eating at the best eateries and meeting in the best conference facilities.

Their social media pages are all full of beautiful pictures as it is time to break their banks, earn their dividends, or split their savings. On the other hand, those who do not save are at this time raiding the mobile loan app, visiting the shylocks or waiting for a deal to mature.

We have learnt that saving in banks does not benefit us and that we can earn much more among ourselves and build social networks in the process.

We have therefore created mini saccos where we borrow and pay with interest but, unlike banks, the interest is shared amongst us once a year. We not only enjoy fast loan approvals, we are also shareholders of the said ventures.

Women are just realising how powerful they are. If they can come together to build homes for each other, buy land, pool Sh10 daily to pay school fees for their children and buy the latest 4WD for themselves, can you imagine what would happen if they were to come together politically and careerwise?

After receiving my chama savings last month (December), I settled some debts here and there, treated myself a bit, and generally felt that I did well in financial planning and management last year.

Chamas bring together people from all social circles, with the only difference being the amounts contributed, the objective and the model chosen.

If you are a woman and have not joined a chama and did not get anything this season, please wake up. We are starting a new year and I can tell you this money is sweet. Join a chama and enjoy life in December 2022.

The writer is Head of Corporate Affairs and Communication, Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company Ltd