*This article was previously published in the print edition of Move!
FORMATION:The Umndeni Wethu stokvel is made up of 11 women who all work as nurses at a local hospital in Lephalale. Their initial goal was to simply be there for each other when it came to funerals and weddings. But they found that they were not able to assist physically because they often work long hours at the hospital.
They began thinking of other ways to support one another and settled on the idea of a stokvel, where they raise funds with which to help the bereaved family or newlyweds. They started out with just 10 members and welcomed a new addition last year.
RULES:The stokvel is quite strict when it comes to a member who requests to leave. They generally do not pay the member all of their money back and will only do so when there is a valid reason, such as a member moving out of the area.
In such a case the stokvel will pay out a certain amount of money. When it comes to making decisions in the stokvel, such as appointing treasurers or secretaries, the members vote for the ones who are running for the positions.
MONEY MATTERS: Each member makes a contribution of R500 at the beginning of each year followed by R250 every month. At the end of the month, members are required to give their money to one of the treasurers who then records it in a logbook.
The women appointed three members who are in charge of the finances of the stokvel. The money is deposited into the stokvel bank account and is withdrawn when necessary. Members that fail to make payment on time are fined and the incident is logged in the report book.
CHALLENGES :The biggest challenge that the stokvel has experienced is the lack of communication from some members.
They now make use of a WhatsApp group chat to make announcements and to remind members to make their monthly contributions.
They meet quarterly and each take turns to host get-togethers. Since they do not meet monthly, they ensure to address any house rules on the group chat instead of waiting for the day when they meet.
It’s important to keep consistency when dealing with the rules of the club.For example, the Umndeni Wethu stokvel is strict when it comes to members who do not make their monthly contribution on time.
A stokvel should also be democratic and members must understand that decisions are made based on the rule of the majority. You must be able to trust your fellow members and feel confident that each member will be able to handle money.
If a member is unable to make their monthly contribution, they should be honest and inform the treasurer beforehand so that alternative arrangements can be made if necessary.
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