Chamas are locally organized groups that meet on regular intervals to contribute funds that are given to members (via loans and emergency support). Chamas are important for economic development (accounts for 18% of Kenya’s GDP with over 50% Kenyans participating), because they provide capital to small businesses. However, chamas face challenges including lack of transparency and accountability, as well as members defaulting on loans. Yet, there are few initiatives to address these challenges.
SmartChama addresses the problem by providing real-time access to group transactions for all members. Rather than relying on group treasurers (who mostly misuse group funds) to deposit and withdraw funds from banks, the system gives power to all members to contribute funds directly to their group’s account. Approved loans are also directly transferred to members’ accounts. All these transactions are accessible by all members thereby reinforcing accountability and transparency in chamas.
|Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted||20,000,000|
|New Implemented Countries||Kenya|
The team is led by George Hope Chidziwisano, a Malawian currently pursuing a PhD at Michigan State University (MSU). George has collaborated with Rellika Kisyula (under 24 years old) and Martha Othieno – both Kenyan citizens. Rellika is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at MSU and Martha coordinate the team’s initiatives in Kenya. Their interest in this topic came from previous participation in chamas in their respective countries. The team is advised by Dr. Susan Wyche – associate professor at MSU.
EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN AND YOUTH