A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Both in Korea and internationally, Korea’s Saemaul Undong is highly respected and praised as a successful model for poverty reduction and community development. However, there has been little opportunity to contribute to poverty reduction in the global village through sharing the Saemaul Undong success story with the international community. To implement the Saemaul Undong globalization initiative and disseminate its principles to developing countries, including those to be targeted for support, Gyeongsangbuk-do needed not only the active cooperation of highly reputable domestic and international organizations, such as KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) and the UN, but also an effective corresponding support system, such as an international support program. The greatest challenges were 1) to be able to induce cooperation with these organizations and 2) to be successful in establishing and applying an effective model in the countries receiving support. The next big issue was 3) whether the countries receiving support were ready to accommodate Saemaul Undong. That is, considering that most had been relying on regular aid programs of advanced countries, did the countries targeted for support have the makings to build self-reliance and solve problems on their own? To overcome these problems and issues and begin producing results, the Province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, Governor Kim, and the relevant officials worked together as one and successfully moved ahead. First, cooperative relationships were formed with universities, research institutes, private enterprise, KOICA, and the UN. Next, in conjunction with these agencies, target countries were selected to receive support, and programs were developed to match the realities on the ground. The target recipients of the program are poor people living in rural areas in underdeveloped countries in Southeast Asia and Africa, suffering under extremely poor conditions including poverty, lack of clean water, poor hygiene and health care, agricultural underproduction, unsustainable income resources, and poor infrastructure. Gyeongsangbuk-do has plunged into improving the quality of life for people in these rural areas, including changing attitudes, enhancing the living environment, promoting income generation, improving agricultural technology, and providing ICT training. As a result, most local residents have become actively involved and satisfied with the program, and would like the support to continue.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Starting in 2005, a globalized version of Saemaul Undong was implemented sporadically, on a piecemeal basis. In 2010, Kim Kwan-yong, the governor of Gyeongsangbuk-do, took steps to launch the Saemaul Undong globalization initiative in earnest, establishing a dedicated team and forming partnerships with KOICA and the UN. The Saemaul Undong Globalization Team was created as part of the Saemaul Service Division, and the project took off. Besides that, through ongoing meetings and discussions with figures including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, a cooperative system with international organizations like the UN was established. An MOU was also signed between the UNDP and Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to implement pilot projects in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, targeting three countries per region. In addition, by establishing a tripartite cooperative system with UNDP and KOICA, Gyeongsangbuk-do was able to implement projects meeting the needs of the recipient countries with enhanced effectiveness. The main objective of Gyeongsangbuk-do’s Saemaul Undong globalization initiative is to lay the foundation for capacity building and to increase the self-reliance of local village inhabitants. Rather than providing simple material support, it seeks to encourage sustainable development grounded in the spirit of Saemaul Undong, which is characterized by Diligence, Self-help, and Cooperation. This project has been prepared and propelled with the ultimate objective of fighting global poverty. With a target audience of developing countries suffering from poverty and disease, the project was introduced to parts of Asia in its initial phase, including Indonesia and Vietnam. With the cooperation of KOICA, it has expanded to nations in Africa, including Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania. In its early phase, the project focused on aid and support, including constructing village community centers, paving community roads, and establishing Saemaul Undong centers. However, it has gradually shifted to a self-reliance-based model. Since the development of the Gyeongsangbuk-do assistance model—teaching how to fish, rather than providing a ‘meal’ for one-time consumption—Saemaul Undong was adopted as a world poverty eradication program, and through a great deal of discussion with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, including five meetings since 2007, Saemaul Undong has been propelled in conjunction with the UN, adopting the slogan ‘Partnership for Co-prosperity and Co-existence!’

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
One aspect of Saemaul Undong globalization initiative of Gyeongsangbuk-do that differentiates it from other ODA programs is its intention to address the underlying problems of poverty upon the model of “teaching people how to fish,” not simply providing one-time aid. The first indicator of this is the way it lays the foundation for bolstering self-reliance and sustainable development by inspiring people to recognize and solve problems on their own, by means of moral mindset education. Second, it encourages income generation by forming agricultural support groups and operating community farms that are consistent with the realities of the locale. As an example, the village of Mushimba in Rwanda cultivated corn and other crops, increasing its income eightfold, through wasteland reclamation. The goals of the project, including poverty reduction, alleviating illiteracy, and encouraging the social participation of women, are in alignment with international standards. The methods of the project initiative, in particular, are different from existing ODA programs, in that it seeks to raise inhabitants’ awareness of the issues and empower them to identify solutions on their own.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The implementation road map devised for the success of the Saemaul Undong globalization initiative of Gyeongsangbuk-do involves the steps of project planning, implementation, and evaluation through feedback. First, in the planning phase, the needs of the recipient countries are identified. The ripple effect of Saemaul Undong is maximized by implementing the project based on discerning actual needs, rather than one-sided diffusion of the project. Action plans are devised with a focus on projects that are needed locally, including changing residents’ attitudes, enhancing the living environment, promoting income generation, and improving health care. In addition, effectiveness is increased through division of labor and collaboration with relevant agencies, including the recipient countries and KOICA. Second, the implementation phases involves recruiting volunteers, providing (joint) training, creating an action plan, dispatching volunteers, and implementing the actual project. To enhance project effectiveness, five or six individuals are recruited from each village to form a group of volunteers. Training is carried out for three to four weeks at the Saemaul Academy (a specialized institute for Saemaul training), and the completed action plan is provided for implementation in the pertinent village. With respect to dispatch of volunteer groups, ninety people have been sent to fifteen villages in five countries, where Saemaul projects are implemented jointly alongside the local community members. Third, in the evaluation and feedback phase, self-evaluation takes place at the top levels at least once a year to identify problems and measures for improvement. To carry out actual implementation activities, first, Saemaul Undong volunteer groups are dispatched and pilot villages are created. Fifteen villages are currently being targeted in the following five countries: Ethiopia (5), Tanzania (4), Rwanda (4), the Philippines (1), and India (1). With a total commitment of 6 billion KRW (2.8 billion KRW from the Province of Gyeongsangbuk-do and 3.2 billion KRW from KOICA) to be allocated to the villages over a five-year period, project costs will cover such activities as changing residents’ attitudes, promoting income generation, and enhancing the living environment. Second, foreigners are invited to attend Saemaul training. Initially started in 2005 and now supported by an annual commitment of 450 million KRW, training is delivered by the Kyungwoon University Saemaul Academy, a private organization, which provides two to four weeks of training per round. Saemaul training recipients include village leaders from Saemaul pilot villages (50 leaders from 15 village in 5 countries), Saemaul leaders from other developing countries in Asia and Africa (50), and foreign students studying in Korea (about 100). The core content of the training includes transfer of the theoretical basis and success stories of Saemaul Undong; site visits and hands-on practice; and development of action plans applicable to their own countries. Third, the project involves overseas activities for Saemaul volunteer groups of college students. Initially started in 2007 and now supported by an annual commitment of 250 million KRW, this sub-project entails dispatching volunteers to areas in Africa and Southeast Asia (in 2013, volunteers traveled to Ethiopia, Indonesia, and the Philippines). Major activities include volunteer efforts to improve the living environment, volunteer medical services, diffusion of Korean culture, promotion of Saemaul Undong and its spirit, cultural experiences, and university student exchange. Lastly, the project involves creating Korean-style Millennium Villages. A joint project of the UN and the Province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, this effort seeks to aid the development of developing countries in Africa. Through a commitment of $8 million USD raised in a system of governance that includes international and private agencies ($6.5 million from KOICA, $750,000 from Gyeongsangbuk-do, and $750,000 from the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation), four Korean-style Millennium Villages were created over a five-year period from 2009 to 2013, in Tanzania (the villages of Isenga and Msimba in the Mbola region) and Uganda (the villages of Kabugu and Kanywamaizi in the Ruhiira region). The performance results of this project include completion of large-scale projects related to drinking water, electricity, roads, and sanitation facilities, and identification of sustainable business development opportunities.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The propulsion and implementation of the Saemaul Undong globalization initiative of Gyeongsangbuk-do has involved the joint participation of a variety of principals, including KOICA, UNDP, recipient countries, academic institutions including Kyungwoon University and Yeungnam University, and private sector entities like POSCO and Daegu Bank. Gyeongsangbuk-do, the project sponsor, handles activities like devising implementation plans for Saemaul Undong globalization, recruiting and dispatching volunteer groups, implementing on-site projects, and monitoring and evaluating the progress of the project. KOICA handles basic preparatory training on cultural literacy and local adaptation for volunteer groups, supports their placement and settlement, and administers services for evaluation teams. Kyungwoon University and Yeungnam University cultivate Saemaul experts with advanced degrees and deliver Saemaul training to Saemaul leaders and volunteer groups. Private entities like POSCO and Daegu Bank provide financial support and appropriate technology. The national governments of recipient countries recommend target pilot villages and provide support for on-site projects. And UNDP implements Saemaul pilot projects in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, at a rate of one country per region. Through division of labor and collaboration with these agencies, project implementation is systematic, efficient, and effective.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
To enable systematic implementation of the Saemaul Undong globalization initiative of Gyeongsangbuk-do, a cooperative system has been established involving a variety of agencies and organizations, each participating according to its purpose. First, in terms of financing, funding is provided by a consortium of the Province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, KOICA, and private organizations. Gyeongsangbuk-do commits 4.5 billion KRW annually (project costs for forming pilot villages, inviting and training leaders from the pertinent countries, recruiting and training volunteers); KOICA commits 3.8 billion KRW annually (local expenses and placement costs for volunteer groups), and Daegu Bank and POSCO provide about 600 million KRW annually. To address technological issues, retired POSCO employees apply their professional knowledge to provide appropriate technologies applicable to the relevant locality. Administrative assistance is provided by retired civil servants from the National Pension Service of Korea, using the know-how they gained from public service. To foster the necessary human resources, advanced education is provided by the graduate program of the Park Chung Hee School of Policy and Saemaul at Yeungnam University and by the Kyungwoon University Saemaul Academy, which provides training for domestic and foreign Saemaul leaders. With the cooperation of academia, private enterprise, and relevant agencies, the Province of Gyeongsangbuk-do plays a central leadership role by providing the human and material resources needed for the globalization of Saemaul Undong.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
In laying the foundation for sustainable development through improved living environments and increased income generation, the Saemaul globalization initiative of Gyeongsangbuk-do has achieved substantial outputs. First, local community members have voluntarily carried out Saemaul Undong activities themselves, greatly contributing to poverty reduction. Second, remarkable achievements have been made in the areas like the following: inspiring organizational development and a “can-do” spirit of confidence; improving living environments through housing improvements, water supply projects, and new or refurbished latrines; and launching sources of income generation through projects like pilot farms, beekeeping, and mushroom cultivation. Another major output is enhanced public health and hygiene through education on disease prevention, oral hygiene, and hand-washing. Third, through the installation of a water supply in the village of Adulala in Ethiopia (360 households, 1548 residents), locals living three kilometers away have been able to install their own pipes for a stable supply of drinking water. Fourth, the governments of recipient countries have been inspired to launch initiatives to disseminate Saemaul Undong. For example, in certain recipient countries like Rwanda and Ethiopia, the governments have opted to disseminate the Saemaul Undong model themselves after evaluating the Saemaul pilot village projects.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Assessment of project implementation involves both self-evaluation and external assessments by independent experts. Such evaluations examine the adequacy of the implementation process, including levels of community participation, project selection, and propulsion methods. Other multi-dimensional evaluations are done targeting volunteer groups, local community members, civil servants, and regional branch offices of KOICA. In the self-evaluation process, the progress of projects is checked through regular team meetings, and solutions to problems are devised through discussion. In the system that has been devised, official evaluation briefing sessions are held following volunteer activities as a venue for feedback on what should be retained and passed along and what should be further developed, as well as various problems and outcomes that arose during the project. Frequent monitoring is also performed by Saemaul administrative personnel. They are dispatched to regional KOICA offices, and they perform frequent on-site checks of pilot projects of Saemaul Undong, reporting progress on a quarterly basis. Evaluations by external experts are also performed. At least once every two years, specialized external agencies are commissioned to perform an overall evaluation of the pilot village project and check on areas that need improvement or remediation, and to put apparatuses in place to ensure the program runs smoothly and according to plan.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
There has generally been insufficient participation by the national and local governments of the recipient countries, the principal agents in disseminating and spreading Saemaul Undong. And, some of the countries seem to have the attitude of bystanders watching from the sidelines, which inhibits the desired ripple effect. In order to overcome such obstacles, MOUs for joint project implementation are signed with the national governments of recipient countries during the initial project implementation phase, which inspires a sense of ownership. Next, due to insufficient support, on-site projects have at times been carried out inefficiently. In order to overcome this obstacle, expert volunteers equipped with know-how in the relevant fields have been dispatched, and appropriate technology has been provided. In addition, KOICA’s expert advisors (in the field of agriculture) have been dispatched for project guidance. In addition, other constraints have arisen from factors like India’s caste system or the impediments to women’s community involvement (in activities) in Muslim countries. To overcome such obstacles, respect was shown for the local customs and culture, and voluntary community involvement was elicited through activities like women’s clubs.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
By providing developing countries in Asia and Africa with a successful rural development model and helping recipient countries to extend and disseminate these principles on their own, the Saemaul Undong globalization initiative of Gyeongsangbuk-do has produced considerable results in reducing poverty in parts of the global village. In particular, by creating the pilot villages, the most valuable outcome achieved by Gyeongsangbuk-do has been the transmission of a successful model. As of 2013, Gyeongsangbuk-do has created fifteen pilot villages in five countries, and in doing so, has solidified a foundation to extend and disseminate the project into neighboring areas. Through the implementation of projects for improved living environments and increased income generation, which were achieved through collaboration with volunteer groups and local community members, the groundwork for sustainable development has been laid. The implementation methods for pilot villages have been applied in recipient countries seeking to extend and implement projects domestically. As another outcome, the cultivation of Saemaul leaders has led to enhanced problem-solving skills. Fostering regional Saemaul leaders equipped with commitment and problem-solving skills has bolstered the capacity to implement projects endogenously. With the trust of the people, local Saemaul leaders trained as community leaders are able to mobilize the community. Local city and county government officials involved in the project have enhanced their capabilities. As the project has required them to gauge the conditions in each village and gather feedback, and then transmit this to the government, as well as to spread the administrative authority of cities or counties to the village level, their skills as coordinators were developed. Public officials in the national government have contributed greatly to cultivating personnel able to develop and implement initiatives for the expansion and transmission of Saemaul Undong at the national level. In addition to that, great strides have been made in building social capital. This includes facilitating community involvement and organizational development, fostering community leaders, and establishing cooperative partnerships between the private, public, and research sectors.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Feasibility of implementation and dissemination as a universal international human development program: The projects of the Saemaul Undong globalization initiative of Gyeongsangbuk-do, which relate to eradication of poverty, improvement of living environments, universal literacy, and improved health care, are in alignment with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (the eight MDGs), and the program’s implementation and dissemination as a universal international human development program is feasible. Dissemination through autonomous exercise of capacity (e.g., poverty reduction): Saemaul Undong pursues principles and goals of self-reliance and autonomy, encompassing eradication of extreme poverty and famine, empowerment of women, health and hygiene, the groundwork for sustainable development, and partnerships between diverse principals. With methods that include ① community empowerment, ② improved living environments, ③ improved quality of life through enhanced agricultural productivity and generation of non-farm income, and ④ enhanced commitment to self-reliance, by changing attitudes and inspiring a sense of ownership, Saemaul Undong can be adopted as a poverty reduction movement. Universal feasibility through increased agricultural income: The program enables transfer of agricultural success stories and farming techniques tailored to regional realities. One specific example is the village of Mushimba in Rwanda (283 households, 21.2 ha), where hilly land has been cultivated to produce corn as well as 20tons of rice, generating eight times as much income as before.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Deep commitment and involvement by the community as the key to success: To enable success, projects must be systematically planned by leveraging existing community organizations, such as Saemaul leaders, or women’s and youth groups, and inspiring commitment and pride by developing and carrying out programs based around organizational leaders. Implementation of projects suited to the capabilities and realities of the local community: Saemaul Undong entails voluntary projects of the local community that are completed by the community members themelves, based on a sense of ownership. The likelihood of success is increased when the direction of the project’s implementation is guided by respect for the community members’ own opinions and ideas. Active involvement by regional administrative agencies: The success or failure of a project heavily depends on the dominant participation of the relevant government, the principal agents in disseminating and spreading Saemaul Undong within their nations. A sense of leadership and initiative on their part is essential from the introductory phase of the project. Position as a differentiated ODA program: Grounded in concepts and systems that are differentiated from those of most advanced nations’ ODA programs, Saemaul Undong lays the foundation for sustainable development by helping recipient countries develop greater self-reliance. In addition, with the establishment and dissemination of Korean-style ODA, Saemaul Undong has become widely accepted as a useful model to help reduce poverty in global village.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Gyeongsangbuk-do
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Chang-bum Pyun Pyun
Title:   Policy Planning Officer  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Province of Gyeongbuk, 40 Yeonamno, Buk-Gu
Postal Code:   702-702

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