They were strangers a few months ago but thanks to a Facebook group, they are now in an association of 20, each contributing Sh3,000 a month for buying household goods.
Their group goes by the name “Harmony Glammers” and most of its members are in Kisumu, with Leah Achieng as its chairperson.
They came together courtesy of a concept gaining popularity among Kenyans on social media: Look for people living in your locality then create a group where each member contributes cash every month for buying of household items on a rotational basis.
A Facebook group named “Glam My Home”, which has more than 540,000 members, is the nucleus of this initiative. Through it, Kenyans have been encouraging each other to group up, giving rise to Harmony Glammers and numerous other groupings.
In Mombasa, for instance, there is a group called Mikindani Glammers that has 15 members. In Nairobi, there is Wonder Women with 10 members.
In Eldoret, there are the Kosyn Sisters, a coalition of 21. These groups are the latter-day definition of chamas, with the Internet determining the way they meet, share ideas and invest.
Unlike the Harmony Glammers of Kisumu, not all of the groups began by members meeting on the “Glam My Home” page, but that is the platform that inspires most of the groups to forge ahead with their team work.
According to Mr Lawrence Obonyo, the group’s administrator, the initial idea of the platform was to create space where people would share thoughts on how to improve home spaces.
In the group’s early days, he says, members would post pictures of their homes and get comments from others on areas of improvement.
“Later, members realised that improving spaces required purchasing of home appliances and other household goods, a venture that can be expensive if done alone,” he says.
That is how the “glammers” idea was born, out of the desire by some members to acquire quality household items.
“We have since grown to over half a million members since 2017 and we continue to admit between 2,000 and 3,000 new members to the group every three days,” says Mr Obonyo.
Mr Obonyo says the “glammers” idea has grown to be so famous among the group’s membership, whose spread now reaches the entire county.
“I still continue getting requests from members on the modalities to use to set up the groups. We have partnered with some appliance brands to get the members good deals,” he says.
Mr Obonyo’s platform does not have a say on the financial activities each group does. He considers his Facebook group a “meet-up” platform where people share ideas.
He also admits that the noble idea is not devoid of challenges. For instance, there are three cases where group members bolted after benefitting from others’ contributions.
“I am currently researching on ways we can have the ‘glammer’ groups registered to have a legal backing to hold members accountable,” he says.
The Sunday Nation spoke with leaders of four of the many groups spread across Kenya to have a feel of their initiatives.
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