Nattawan Thongkled, or Mam, is part of a new generation who love farming. Mam oversees a 100 rai sugarcane plantation in Phetchabun Province. For many years, she has experienced first hand the high cost of farming, which is very labor intensive, and being put under increasing pressure by rising wages. As such, she was struggling to keep her farm’s finances afloat.
The turning point of her life began when she was invited by a community development officer of Thai Rung Ruang Sugar Group (TRR) to attend the Sustainable Business with Coca-Cola for Female Sugarcane Growers Project. This presented Mam with the opportunity to participate in the project’s financial literacy training for female sugarcane farmers, run by Kenan Foundation Asia.
Kenan adapted its financial curriculum to meet the specific needs of female sugarcane farmers, based on an assessment it conducted in 2016. Kenan’s five-module, activity-based training sessions strengthened participants’ understanding of spending, debt management, saving, household accounting, and entrepreneurship. Ultimately, the project seeks to improve the financial behaviors and outcomes of the project beneficiaries, and is a part of Kenan’s overall efforts to improve personal financial management practices across Thailand.
The workshop changed Mam’s perception of training sessions as being “simply boring”, and empowered her to easily understand financial matters and relate them to her daily life. She found the atmosphere of learning to be fun, thanks to the use of games, yet challenging.
After the workshop, Mam started doing household bookkeeping, which led to a string of positive changes related to her financial habits. Through further self-learning, she also gained more knowledge in investing and entrepreneurial skills, building her management perspective. She said that “The bookkeeping gives you a better overview of your financial and operating systems. It points out excessive expenses and how to reduce unnecessary costs. For example, the outlay of hiring workers, when calculated, I found that it is more cost-effective to buy a machine.”
Today, Mam has clear financial goals. She began to reduce costs and invest more in machinery which is more economical. Most importantly, she can apply what she has learned with the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of His Majesty the Late King Rama IX.
“Every problem in life is a result of greediness. We have to start managing what we have in a more effective way. For me, this way is in line with the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy that His Majesty the Late King Rama IX always taught us. When we are not greedy, understand the current situation, and know how to adjust, our life will be a lot different.” Mam concluded.
Learn more about the latest results of the Sustainable Business with Coca-Cola for Female Sugarcane Growers Project.