Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives. (300 words maximum)
As an initiative that was implemented for the sustainable development of farming villages, it aims to add vitality to depopulated and underdeveloped farming villages that have been marginalized due to unbalanced regional unbalanced. As of 2015, in Chungcheongbuk-do, there were 62 regions with high risk of local extinction, which is equivalent to approximately 40.5% of the entire regions and 61.5% of the entire area. After recognizing the problem, we provided equal opportunities for balanced development for the undeveloped rural areas, by priority, according to the regions with the highest risk of local extinction by establishing a partnership among the government, private organizations, and the residents of the village. The initiative provided support so that the village community could become the principal of village development while, at the same time, supported the village to overcome the crisis of local extinction by maintaining and strengthening the production of the village. Under this initiative, 20 villages were selected every year. Residents decided on the projects by restoring the emotional sense of community and by making decisions independently. Through democratic decision making processes, all the residents were protected from being isolated and discriminated and a system was established to disclose mutual information and to cooperate with each other. This initiative aims to enhance the competence of villages and individuals and to demonstrate their talents and it also aims to develop the village and residents into principle agents for creative and innovative balanced development.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category. (100 words maximum)
To promote harmony and cooperation between administrative institutions and residents and to improve transparency and responsibility, the initiative provided a framework for residents to hold general meetings independently and to reach an agreement on necessary project by utilizing collective intelligence. It also established a process for residents to confirm the budget required and to instill transparency and responsibility by making minutes, obtaining consent from public and broadcasting information to the village. The administrative institutions provides budget for mid/long-term plans and consultation for development project. Therefore, the initiative conforms to ‘Enhancing the effectiveness of public institutions to reach the SDGs.’
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation. (200 words maximum)
This initiative belongs to the “Reduced Inequalities” out of the UN’s SDGs and in particular, aims to accomplish balanced development in the region. To achieve this goal, Chungcheongbuk-do continues to implement the initiative for balanced regional development. The intiative eases imbalance of settlement conditions and particularly, plans to realize sustainable balanced development of farming villages and regions at high risk of local extinction. Key projects to achieve the SDGs include 1) Providing social safety network services (taking care of residents through the provision of side dishes and medicine for the senior citizens living alone), 2) Promoting sustainable rural environment improvement (collecting pesticide bottles and reducing the use of herbicides), 3) Establishing a strategy to address the aging population (Home town project that anyone can return to safely as well as communication and cooperation with those who left their home town), 4) Conducting Korean language classes for the illiterate (Korean language schools for senior residents), 5) Expanding employment for the elderly and promoting plans for economic growth (Joint cultivation and the village projects), and 6) Realizing human rights for justice and peace (support for policy for development of communities and farms in Chungcheongbuk-do and holding residents’ meetings).
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms. (100 words maximum)
To promote sustainability from social, economic, and environmental perspectives, we will implement three measures. First, “Independent improvement by villagers”, which enables residents to independently decide improvement through meetings and establish plans for maintenance and management through cooperative efforts. Second, “Establishment of projects invested by residents and generation of income” for residents to establish a village cooperative or company based on open participation and investment, ge income and jobs for the elderly by producing village products. Third, “Securing sustainability through vitalization of community”, which vitalizes the community by solving common issues and which secures mechanisms for sustainabililty of village.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
To overcome the shortfall in public service and public administration in relation to the initiative, we took the following measures. First, we implemented caring services for the vulnerable social groups and contributed to the improvement of settlement conditions based on residents’ ideas and cooperation so that the elderly and children can live safely. In 2020, 10 students of ‘Wajeongri Village’ branch school, migrated senior citizens association, and residents operated after school -projects, such as keeping the school clean as an ensemble program between the elderly and children, In the same year, ‘Sambangri’ published a storybook about senior citizens between 70 and 80 years of age and operated a solidarity program with families who had left the village. Secondly, a joint meal table was operated for senior residents living alone, so a system for sharing healthy food of the village was established. Thirdly, residents carried out medical care administration for themselves by acquiring qualifications as care workers in consideration of the inconvenient access by care workers from cities and the distance between medical institutions and the village.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
To solve gender inequalities, the intiative induced active participation of female residents in general meetings, they actively participated in identifying village projects, such as making flower alleys and cultivating the village’s shared land. Key projects included encouraging all the residents’ participation in landscaping projects by attaching a name tag for each family when cultivating cornus officinalis in Anmin-dong in 2015 and jujube trees in Dogok-2ri in 2020, and the male residents’ wore aprons in Gamro-ri in 2018 to understand the difficulties domestic chores and preparing meals at the elderly’s birthday parties and village events.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
The initiative assigned and generated public interest and public values by constituting horizontal and multiple leaders in order to promote the participation and cooperation of all the residents of the farming village. Through Making a Village Ecology Wall movement, the initiative also expanded open space by widening the village way by donating private site for public village way. Moreover, space for community base was secured through the the village community center constructed on lands donated by the residents, ultimately promoting the sense of responsibility in villagers.
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
In order to implement the initiative effectively, it was planned and implemented as the balanced development project of Chungcheongbuk-do for overcoming stagnation, isolation, and discrimination of the rural areas and it is as follows.
1. Recruitment of participating villages for Phase 1 Happy Village initiative
2. Promoting community spirit, residents’ participation, and cooperative governance for Happy Village initiatiave
3. Establishing a plan and vision of village development with private experts and mentors of the village
4. Activities for environmental improvement of the village as well as activities for culture and welfare
5. Holding residents’ meetings, documenting the contents of the meetings and sharing the promotion projects online
6. Submitting the promotion result of the inititive and the plan for Phase 2 Village project
7. Project evaluation
8. Selecting the case study and selecting the achievements of the communities
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
There were five measures used to overcome the obstacles encountered in implementing the project. First, “Understanding harmony between individual’s happiness and public interest”, second, “Exclosure of information and establishing a support system for facilitator”, third, “Role allocation and establishment of support system for experts“, fourth, “Operation of open and transparent accounting system” and lastly, “Analysis of conflict factors and close cooperation with administrative institutions”.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
While implementing this initiative in 2017, the residents of Pojeon-ri illegally took over an area in Sohacheon and illegally constructed a resident‘s community space(village cafe) so it had to be removed. However, together with the cooperation of the municipal administrative institution, residents, Ministry of Public Safety & Security and a consulting lawyer of Jecheon City, it was considered as a facility that did not disrupt public interest. Based on public donations, village cafe and bus stop were built.Through “Transforming illegal buildings into public facilities based on donations“, it was selected as the best practice case of public innovation in Chungcheongbuk-do.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how these were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
In 2019, the Happy Village of Janghyeon-ri, Danyang-gun was selected for the ‘Eco Danyang’ village project to protect the natural environment and natural ecology and while searching for measures to exterminate gypsy moths without spraying pesticides. the village itself suggested ‘insect traps’. Insect traps were installed throughout Danyang-gun, and eco-friendly technology was applied to eradicate harmful insects.
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
As an initiative led by the residents, it is democractic and generates public interest. It preserves the amenities in the rural area and extends pluralistic values. The participating villages of the Chungcheongbuk-do Happy Village Project received awards in Contest for Making Community and Rural Villages, equivalent to the Happy Village Contest held by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. In 2017, Dohwa-ri received the Presidential Award, Gubyeong-ri received the Presidential Award in 2020, and Bobal-1ri received the Minister Award in 2020. In addition, through community businesses, Dodam-ri was designated as an Experience Leisure Village by setting socially and environmentally sustainable goals as targets and by organizing a farming association corporation to fulfill common jobs and sharing. It also carried out the village’s joint projects, such as experience programs using farming amenities and carpentry services. In particular, the initiative was applied to ‘Chungbuk’s New Deal Project (SOC and life SOC initiative)’ in response to COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 era.
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
All community villages are equipped with distinct resources and traditional local resources respectively. The Village Project can be implemented in the villages of other countries or regions by making use of the community characteristics. By actively resolving village issues through the participation and communication of residents, the autonomous competence of the residents can be reinforced and underdeveloped villages could be developed positively. Moreover, by preserving the traditional culture of the villages, the unique and precious culture of the village which would vanish over time, could be handed down.
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
For the implementation of the initiative, the following financial and human resources were used.
1. Financial support of 3 million Won as project cost for Phase 1 of Happy Village
2. Village funds, residents’ donations, and contributions
3. Various networks of institutional and policy support using social capital
4. Human resources: 1) Residents with wide range of jobs as residents return to village 2) Experts who were called in through Village Mentor programs
5. Amenities: Agricultural and specialty products, natural landscape, use of old geographical name and others were used as resources for the vitalization of the village community.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
Sustainability of Making village initiative was secured through an ordinance for supporting the revitalization of the community in the local government and an ordinance for supporting the revitalization of community was enacted in Okcheon-gun.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
The initiative was implemented after the implementation process of Happy Village initiative was evaluated officially by an external evaluation board comprised of members of academia, private experts, village activists, and academic research organizations.
The details of initiative was submitted together with the description of decision making process and a site evaluation was carried out by evaluators then the second evaluation was carried out on the details of evaluation. The second evaluation was carried out together with the report on resident activities selected by resident participation and autonomous activities.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used. (100 words maximum)
Residents’ satisfaction on the implementation of the Happy Village initiative
- Survey was conducted on 40~50% of households in the village in order to assess the baseline data for population and awareness of the initiative, enhancement of living environment and community spirit, expansion of participation opportunities, implementation direction of the initiative and continuous will for implementation, satisfaction based on a Likert Scale.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how is this information being used to inform the initiative’s implementation? (200 words maximum)
The initiative was implemented in resident-led form, encouraging the residents to actively solve the village’s problems with interest and passion through an autonomous implementation system by strengthening the residents’ participation and communication by Phase. The village’s residents set up the common goals through ideas and activities, not through a standardized guideline for development. The villages that participated in the initiative hardly had any experiences in village projects so although there were various difficulties and obstacles such as the implementation will and awareness, the Happy Village Implementation Committee and village residents were able to address the problems through consultation and collective intelligence. As a result, there were several positive outcomes such as creation of community infrastructure, reinforcement of residents competence and enhancement of the village’s economic power. The villages that participated in the initiative shared the contents of the project with each other, obtained information by benchmarking each other’s cases, and established a close cooperative system with the administrative institutions so the initiative is considered to be sustainable in the future.
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how is it situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how have these institutional relationships been operating). (200 words maximum)
Although this initiative was implemented as a unit project of the Balanced Regional Development Project pursuant to the Ordinance on Supporting Balanced Regional Development of Chungcheongbuk-do, it is necessary to enact a new clause for the implementation of regional competence reinforcement projects required for balanced development projects under Article 4 of the Ordinance on Support for Balanced Regional Development (Establishment of Master Plan).
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
To create a sustainable village, various policies and provision of information are crucial. For professionals, there may be a lot of data available, but for residents, there is limited access to information, materials are spontaneous and there is a deviation in information delivered. Therefore, to strengthen the growth of a village as well as the understanding of residents and information communication, the Happy Village initiative needs to be accompanied by another project that supports and integrates information of projects by Ministry and, in particular, the role of the local government is absolutely necessary and the support from the officials in charge in the administrative institutions is crucial.
As the village project is diverse and customized, depending on the characteristics of the village, all the residents of the village need to participate. The participation and support of a variety of professionals, such as carpenters, chefs, writers, environmental activists, horticulturists, teachers, administrative experts, and financial management experts, are also required. In addition, mentoring activities by local professionals and the administrative institutions that support agricultural technology and vocational tehniques for talented residents, and that support vocation talents and social activity talents for those returning to farming are required.
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
Through the implementation of this initiative, we experienced that it was important to identify the principal of a community and to support the growth in order to strengthen a sustainable society, environment and economy. Also, we realized that a system of sharing, communicating and openess contributes to the expansion of public service. Particularly, this year, there were a lot of difficult situations due to COVID-19 as a considerable number of the elderly passed away or were hospitalized at nursing homes, so we learned that the village community needs to actively help and comfort each other during this kind of dangerous situation. Last but not least, the Happy Village initiative made urban people return home and through it, we learnt that through the transformation into a settlement space different from cities and by independently creating their own work place and shelter, in other words, by creating a model of village of governance through their self-determination and decision making rights, the residents, developed and matured together with the development of the villages.