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Why Some Self Help Groups Fail

Updated on February 23, 2016

Unity is Strength

In the West, a wise man said that unity is strength and somewhere in Africa another wise man said that one finger cannot crush a louse. These and other sayings try to show us that when we work together as a group we will succeed and achieve more. This is what is happening in some third world countries like Kenya where people are trying to pool resources together to achieve a common goal. It is by coming up together that they are able to do great things like buying property or solving their social economic challenges.

Team Work

All Team Work Must Be Properly Coordinated
All Team Work Must Be Properly Coordinated | Source

Self Help Groups are for Helping One Another

People are forming self help groups, informally called 'chamas' in Kenya and I am sure in other parts of the world, to help one another. They are usually formed by people with a common goal of pooling resources together. The success or failure of such groups largely depends on the mindset of the officials and the group members. These are some of the reasons that will largely lead to the failure of such groups.

Why Some Self Help Groups Fail

Lack of Proper Goals

There are groups which are started without setting proper goals. There must be short term and long term goals for the group to succeed. Having the goals set, then it will be easier to pursue them.

Lack of Serious Leadership

If the group lacks serious leadership, it is no doubt that the group will not go far. The leadership of such a group like in any other entity is very important. The leadership should always be ready to give the right direction to the rest of the members. They should always be coming up with new workable money making ideas to be discussed and implemented within the group. They should also lead by example when it comes to following the stipulated rules. They should be ready to enhance discipline within the group.

Team Work Must be Present in Self Help Group

Group Members Must Act As A Team
Group Members Must Act As A Team | Source

Lack of Serious Members in the Self Help Group

Members also play very important role in the group. They should be serious in all aspects starting from discipline, making sure their contributions are on time, and following the group’s set rules. They should always be engaging the officials of the group making sure they keep them on their toes. This is by keenly following all activities taking place within the group more so the financial ones. They should also come up with ideas worthy improving the group and be ready to adopt the ones worthy adopting.

Lack of Discipline

The groups that fail to survive and meet their objectives always have problems of discipline in their early stages of formation. This is a situation where you find some members are not following the set rules and regulations. For instance some will lag behind when it comes to contributions and others failing to attend meetings without reasons. The group members because of their sympathy continue enduring with such rotten members who eventually end up destroying the group.

Working Together Is The Key To Success

Globally, humans can succeed by working together
Globally, humans can succeed by working together

Members Do Not Follow Set Rules

Not Following the Set Rules

The groups always have rules that members should abide with. If some members behave as if they are special and will not follow the rules, then that is the onset of the group’s failure. More so most members have a weakness of contributing fines and yet they are the ones who pass them.

Passing Rules Members Will not be Able to Follow

There is always this habit of members setting tough penalties in the pretense of enhancing discipline. For instance they will set high fines for lateness, absenteeism among other issues. Yet when one is asked to pay, that becomes another story.

Lesson Learnt

It is not an easy task to maintain such a group but with a clear vision and good will of the members, all is possible. Out there, there are some very successful groups worthy millions of shillings. However, for those that fail to realize their dreams, they are closed and members end up wasting their money and valuable time they had dedicated to the group.

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© 2015 Patrick Kamau


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    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 2 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      @Larry Rankin thanks, yes I have tried to come up with possible reasons. And I hope those ones still running can learn a thing or two.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very comprehensive list of why self help groups fail.