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Thursday, March 27, 2014

S. Korea Provides US$ 8 million to Cambodia for Promoting Saemaul Undong Community Movement

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picture, Feb.26
Phnom Penh: The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) launched a signing ceremony on Record of Discussions (R/D) for the project “Self-Supporting Rural Development Project with Saemaul Undong’s Participatory Approach” on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at the Ministry of Rural Development.

The Record of Discussions (R/D) has been signed by H.E. SUOS KONG, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Rural Development of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and Ms. Baek Sook Hee, Representative of the KOICA Cambodia Office with the high presence of H.E. Chea Sophara, Minister of the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) and H.E. Kim Han Soo, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Kingdom of Cambodia, and participation of the KOICA delegates as well as MRD’s officials.

The objectives of this project are to (1)promote a community-based integrated rural development model following the great success of Saemaul Undong (SMU) in terms of the villagers’ voluntary participation and collective decision, and thus provide an essential outlet for the sustainability of rural communities in Cambodia; (2)mainstream capacity development at all levels, from the central government to village committees, by spreading SMU’s three guiding principles of diligence, self-help and cooperation; and (3)strengthen the basis for the SMU model to spread it throughout the nation by ensuring the success of 30 pilot projects in terms of income generation, environment improvement and community empowerment.

The project will be implemented for a period of five (5) years (2014-2018) based on the Framework Arrangement on Grant Aid for the year 2014 which formalized the approval of the project on the part of Korean government. The Korean government provided grant aid equivalent to eight million United States dollars (USD 8,000,000) for the intensive activities divided into three categories: Strategic Policy Consulting and Master-planning, Capacity Development of government officials and villagers and Pilot Projects at 30 villages. Those project output will include SMU Master Plan, Establishment of SMU Training Center, Development of Education Curriculums and Training Materials, Local Training Program, Invitational Training Program, Pilot Project for income generation, environment improvement and spiritual reform.

Saemaul Undong, Korea’s community-based integrated rural development model has evolved to be the driving force behind Korea’s modernization and rapid economic development. Originally targeted toward the agricultural sector, Saemaul Undong soon inspired economic, social and cultural revolutions in the 1970s. The sense of accomplishment and pride that Korea has developed over the past four decades through Saemaul Undong still attest to the people’s unwavering commitment to national development and even further encourage spreading it throughout the world.

In response to the high demands from developing countries, KOICA is working to influence its reach into every corner of the world. Last year, UNESCO designated the Saemaul Document heritage in the Memory of World Register, and the Korean government and UNDP established the “ROK-UNDP Saemaul Undong Global Initiative” to help spread Saemaul Undong across the world through the UN body.

This remarkable shift to higher global interests in Korea’s rural development experiences is vitalized due to its unique character. Saemaul Undong can be differentiated from similar rural development projects featuring a donor-country-oriented approach in sharing development experiences. There are a number of similar projects with names such as village movement, new village program and community development project by other donors. These activities can be characterized as one where “relief from hunger” is achieved through environment improvement.

Saemaul Undong rather pays attention to “cooperative development” on the basis of community empowerment.  With a strong will to “live well all together,” Korea made a heroic story of success together. Facilitating empowerment for the rural people, village leaders and local government officials, we promoted communal spirit and ownership.

From this year, the Korean government will employ all its resources to share our knowledge, skills and experiences on Saemaul Undong with Cambodia. Most importantly, KOICA will study Cambodia’s situation and devise workable and practical solutions. Through the new project, Saemaul Undong will further provide an essential outlet for the sustainability of not only the rural areas but every community in Cambodia.
KOICA pursues this challenge because it is a worthy goal for the Cambodian rural communities, which make up 80% of the whole population, to be a beacon of hope and light for all.

Saemaul Undong, Korea’s community-based integrated rural development model has evolved to be the driving force behind Korea’s modernization and rapid economic development. Originally targeted toward the agricultural sector, Saemaul Undong soon inspired economic, social and cultural revolutions in the 1970s. The sense of accomplishment and pride that Korea has developed over the past four decades through Saemaul Undong still attest to the people’s unwavering commitment to national development and even further encourage spreading it throughout the world.

In response to the high demands from developing countries, KOICA is working to influence its reach into every corner of the world. Last year, UNESCO designated the Saemaul Document heritage in the Memory of World Register, and the Korean government and UNDP established the “ROK-UNDP Saemaul Undong Global Initiative” to help spread Saemaul Undong across the world through the UN body.

This remarkable shift to higher global interests in Korea’s rural development experiences is vitalized due to its unique character. Saemaul Undong can be differentiated from similar rural development projects featuring a donor-country-oriented approach in sharing development experiences. There are a number of similar projects with names such as village movement, new village program and community development project by other donors. These activities can be characterized as one where “relief from hunger” is achieved through environment improvement.

Saemaul Undong rather pays attention to “cooperative development” on the basis of community empowerment.  With a strong will to “live well all together,” Korea made a heroic story of success together. Facilitating empowerment for the rural people, village leaders and local government officials, we promoted communal spirit and ownership.

From this year, the Korean government will employ all its resources to share our knowledge, skills and experiences on Saemaul Undong with Cambodia. Most importantly, KOICA will study Cambodia’s situation and devise workable and practical solutions. Through the new project, Saemaul Undong will further provide an essential outlet for the sustainability of not only the rural areas but every community in Cambodia.
KOICA pursues this challenge because it is a worthy goal for the Cambodian rural communities, which make up 80% of the whole population, to be a beacon of hope and light for all.

Please be reminded that the Saemaul Undong (new village movement) is said to have been created by the South Korean President Park Chung-hee in 1970.

Under the slogan “diligence, self-help and cooperation,” South Koreans were encouraged to offer their labor to develop introduction of SMU and modernize housing. This effort to modernize the nation’s economy is said to have laid the groundwork for South Korea’s economic development, known as the “Miracle on the Han River.”

By: Hort Sroeu, Local Expert, Email: hortsroeu@gmail.com, HP: 855-11-77 40 85

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