Exploring the financial literacy of Chama women's groups in rural Kenya
LE3 .A278 2022
Doctor of Philosophy
The pooling of resources by organized groups is widely practiced in Kenya and is popularly known as Chama. These groups often exist to provide savings, to meet basic needs and for investment to support livelihoods. This phenomenon involves the organised collection of money from members, the development of lending processes, and extending loans to members, usually in a merry-go-round way. The lending and repayment of pooled money continues until each member has received and repaid the loan within the agreed cycle. This study is an exploration of Chama, a Swahili word meaning group, in Kenya. The study examined the financial literacy of women engaged in one Chama in rural Kisii, Kenya. The study adopted an Africana womanism perspective and critical participatory action research (CPAR) method. A background and demographic questionnaire were used to situate and plan the study. Through individual and group sessions we held conversations, and collective self-reflections in a kitchen table setting with six Chama women. We did this to draw out the under-represented experiences of co-participants’ financial literacy and the beliefs and values that influence practice with the aim of drawing upon the values and methods to facilitate learning. Hudson-Weems’s Africana womanism, Ubuntu philosophy and critical participatory action research methodology informed the analysis and found the financial literacy interwoven in the women’s identity, social relations, and knowledge of the local environment. Even though there were areas of inconsistency between the Chama women’s practices of financial literacy and Western understandings of financial literacy, there were areas of conformity as well. Areas of conformity included methods, such as learning through others, and through activities. The methods included characteristics associated with community engagement, centering learning, and discovery learning.
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