How to Register a Chama in Kenya


Chamas, or self-help groups are essentially an investment group. Many use these as a platform to financial success. Chamas although started as an informal group, these days many have such success that they can be formally registered through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development.

To formalize a Chama as a limited company or partnership, the group has to;
1.    Have ten members or more.
2.    Perform a name search on eCitizen or at a nearby Huduma centre at the cost of Ksh 150. To save time, one must submit at least three names at once in case any of the names are already taken. When successful, the name is reserved for 30 days during which time the chama can then register its name.
3.    Have officials, a postal address as well as a physical address with a plot number. The primary officials must be members of the chama to avoid any conflict of interest among the associates.
4.    Have an agreement to evade future misunderstandings, and each person must be allowed to voice out their opinions concerning the registration of the chama.

Documents Required
Some documentation is needed to formalize a self-help group legally. These include;
1.    The objectives and the activities to be conducted by the chama.
2.    Full ID names of the members.
3.    Full names of the Directors if different from the shareholders.
4.    Postal addresses. Email, telephone details of the shareholders, and directors.
5.    Number of shares for each stakeholder
6.    Copy of national ID/passport of the investors and directors. Photos – must have a clear background and show all your facial features, just like a passport photo
7.    A copy or KRA PIN certificate for all the members and directors.
8.    Articles of association and Memorandum of Association documents in place
9.    A constitution that guides its activities as well as membership directives including how to nominate officials.
10.    The objective of the company and the activities to be conducted by the chama.
11.    By-laws or a constitution that guides its activities and dictates its membership including the officials. Ensure that your constitution clearly indicates your objectives.

Other Guidelines
1.    A small fee of Ksh. 1,000 is needed to register the chama.
2.    Every year the registered chama must file its annual returns by paying Ksh 100 to the registrar. Failure to submit the returns can result in deregistration of the chama.
3.    The chama must give two weeks’ notice to the registrar through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, whenever they need to change the names of the officials or office posts. Please note that this notice of change must be signed by at least three officials.
4.    Also, if the chama wants to change its constitution or name, it must apply in writing to the registrar through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development. This compliance must be signed by the chairperson, secretary, and treasurer. Additionally, a copy of the minutes verified by the three officials must be attached to the letter.
5.    Every registered chama is required by law to hold an annual general meeting inviting all its participants.
6.    Besides the yearly returns, your chama has to pay various fees from time to time such as change of officials, postal address, and application for constitution adjustment, request for change of officials, name search, and request for disbanding of the self-help group.