Putting Rules in Place: Developing a Group Constitution

We are thrilled to see Nuru’s Community Economic Development (CED) program growing every day and expanding its services to every village and community in Kuria West District. As of March 31st 2013, CED has helped more than 2000 community members in organizing 304 savings and loan groups in its Misingi Wa Kapesa (Mwak) model. The demand for CED’s services is ever increasing.

Cognizant of this fact and as part of its scaling plan, CED has completed preparations to scale its services to 5 sub-locations in Msaba, Ikerege and Kehancha Divisions. It is inspiring to see CED scaling to Masaba and Ikerege Divisions for the first time.

The increasing number of members and scaling to every sub-locations and villages of Kuria West district, inevitably causes some challenges in the operations of the program. Planning and adapting to new situations need to be part of the scaling plan. As we continue enrolling new members, we want to make sure that the bond between group members is firm enough to continue the groups’ objectives sustainably.

Facing the challenges of increasing membership, we are looking to help groups to develop their own “group constitution” that will guide their operations and the relationships between them and the CED program. The introduction of a group constitution is aimed at outlining procedures for creating a group, stating the responsibilities, obligations and privileges of a group member, and establishing a set of rules and enforcement mechanisms for meetings, contributions and loan repayment. Such a clear set of guidelines will inevitably help groups to understand and further members’ objectives.

In March 2013, CED staff, in consultation with selected group members, key informants and organizations running similar programs, have completed a draft Group Constitution that will be brought before each group meetings for deliberation, improvement and approval. In the coming weeks, we hope each group member will discuss the contents of the draft constitution and improve the draft to reflect their needs. Once this task is completed by each individual group, the constitutions will be a major document guiding the relation between savings and loan groups and the CED program.

We are confident that this process will be smooth, constructive, inclusive and relevant for all groups working with CED now and in the future.

About Elias Fanta

Financial Inclusion Strategic Advisor — Elias initiated and coordinated the first microfinance project in southern Ethiopia. For eight years he worked for the German International Cooperation (GIZ) in Ethiopia as a program officer. Elias graduated with a BA in Economics from the Addis Ababa University, MA in Development Management, and PhD in International Development Studies from the Ruhr University of Bochum.

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