Self-help groups (SHGs) or mutual-help groups (MHGs) are community-based organisations that help low-income women, youths, and people with disabilities in their daily livelihood activities to obtain basic needs, such as health care, safe water, sanitation, education, and income-generating activities.
They create opportunities for women and youths to improve their living conditions, access basic services, and advocate with policymakers on issues that affect them.
Self-help groups were pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as part of the organization’s 12-step recovery program in the 1930s and 1940s, but the movement has since spread to many communities and populations in need of aid.
In Kenya, for example, poverty and unemployment are on the rise, and self-help groups provide much-needed support to those struggling to overcome their issues.
Self-help groups are also legally registered organizations in Kenya, so you must follow all specific steps to comply with Kenyan laws and register your group appropriately.
How to register Self-help group (Chama) in Kenya
The following documents are required to register a self-help group (a Chama) in Kenya.
Documents required to register Chama2
- Full names of all the members, as they appear on their identification cards
- The constitution of the Chama
- A list of all the members that belong to the Chama dully signed.
- Minutes of the members who want to register the Chama.
- Take the above documents with the application fee to the Huduma centre near you, get the form, fill it out and submit it.
What is the registration for the Chama in Kenya?
It will cost a small fee of Ksh 1000 to register a Chama in Kenya. Make sure you have that amount with you while making the application.
How long does it take to register a Chama?
It will take 10 days for your application to be processed and finalised.
- Every year, the registered Chama must file its annual returns with the registrar and pay Ksh 100. The Chama may be deregistered if the returns are not submitted.
- If the Chama wishes to change its constitution or name, it must apply to the registrar in writing. The chairperson, secretary, and treasurer must all sign this agreement. The letter must also include a copy of the minutes that have been confirmed by the three officials.
- When the Chama has to modify the names of officials or office posts, they must provide the registrar with two weeks’ notice. Please note that at least three officials must sign this notification of change.
The Importance of the Chama in Kenya
- The self-help group can act as a trustee for the participants’ assets. As a result, members feel safe contributing their hard-earned money to the Chama.
- The Kenyan constitution recognizes Chama as a body, which allows it to do a lot of business under its official name.
- It helps build your social circle – The first step in starting a self-help group is to build your social circle. It’s not enough to ask people who you know if they might be interested in joining; you need to ask them and then actively seek out people outside your network.
- It helps Develop accountability: – self-help group’s biggest benefit is that they help you feel accountable for your actions. As a result, you tend to improve in areas such as productivity and decision making.
- It helps find like-minded people. – There are times when you need help from others who understand your situation to effectively move forward in your journey to recovery. By joining a self-help group, you can find people who are in similar situations and able to offer support and wisdom on how they’ve overcome their own problems.
This article explains step-by-step how to register a self-help group. Call the Huduma Contact Centre at +254 (020) 6900020 for further details and advice, or visit their website at https://www.hudumakenya.go.ke/service/44 to read more about how to register a Chama.