The Journey of Building Human Capital among Financially Disadvantaged Local Thai People: A Sequential Transformative Mixed Method Case Study


  • Sherri Tabaka-Morrissey
  • Anong Wisessuwan
  • Chalong Tubsree


Building Human Capital, Chalmers Center, Savings Group, Isan, Local Thai People, Spirituality and Resilience, Financial Literacy, Financial Skills and Knowledge


         This mixed methods case study, with an emphasis on qualitative inquiry, explored four questions through a 15-week savings group training process: (1) what is a process for building human capital among financially disadvantaged local Thai people using Christian faith-based savings group training? (2) What are the effects of implementing this process? (3) How do participants perceive their Christian faith-based savings group financial training program? (4) Does the participants’ spirituality have any relationship with their group training experience? At four training locations, quantitative background data was gathered, identifying: participants’ education levels, access to financial training, sources of financial advice, income, savings, and debt load. A pre-and post-training Spiritual Resiliency Assessment was also administered. Additionally, at two locations, in-depth qualitative data was collected through participatory observation of training sessions and group meetings, providing a chronological narrative of the 15-week process. There, post-training, open-ended interviews were carried out, with responses coded for themes using NVivo11Pro. Findings: Setting aside a portion of money for saving before spending was described as a new pattern by participants. Most reported experiencing greater peace due to participation and greater savings success. Spiritual practices within the group strengthened members; group participation provided encouragement, hope, and enhanced learning. Financial findings are provided: savings, withdrawal, and roll-over totals of members transitioning into the second cycle of savings are included. Recommendations: Participation strengthened ‘saving muscle’, but this is only a first step. Additional training and adaptation of materials to fit the Thai context are essential to building financial well-being.

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