7th Seminar Series on KDI School Blended Learning – “Rural Development and Saemaul Movement”


Ki-Whan Chung, President, Korea Institute for Rural Development


Dereje Terefe, Director, Center for Public Policy Studies at Ethiopian Civil Service University


Jin Park, Professor, KDI School of Public Policy and Management

The 7th series is applied via video conference at Jakarta Distance Learning Center, Universitas Indonesia on on August 22, 2014 from 14:00-15:30. This course discussed about Rural Development and Saemaul Movement in Korea and it will be an opportunity for participants to stimulate critical thinking about development experience and to reflect on their respective economies as well. The participants who attended this course are experienced managers, general development practitioners and stakeholders who are currently involved in the development area.

Korea was one of the least developed countries in the world until the 1960s. Korea had a war for three years between North and South Korea, and the war destroyed lives, industrial facilities and even agricultural production bases. Korea was purely agriculture based economy until the 1960s. National economy in the 1960s was characterized by high population growth, high inflation and high unemployment. The annual inflation rate was around 22%, the domestic savings ratio was only about 4% while the investment ratio was 10% 1954-1961. The GDP in 1962 was about 82 US$, and rural poverty was 34% in 1967 in an absolute term.

However, the country becomes OECD member in 1996, and ranked the 7th world trade volume in 2003. Rural poverty was less than 7% in 1984. How Korea achieved such a rapid development and overcame rural poverty. There are many ways of explaining the rapid economic development, such as export oriented economic development strategies, high education, etc. International organizations recognize that Saemaul Undong has contributed greatly to the poverty alleviation and rural development in Korea.

The course introduced Saemaul Undong as a Korean model of rural development, and discuss the methodology of Saemaul Undong. The course also will discuss various methodologies of community development on the mobilization of people and resources, participation, empowerment, action plan formulation and project implementation.

Once the discussion is complete, the program continued with a discussion by Dereje Terefe, Director, Center for Public Policy Studies at Ethiopian Civil Service University. Here is the brief summary of this course :

What is Saemaul Undong?

Saemaul Undong: New Village Movement

One of rural development model
For the betterment of Living Conditions of community people
in the ways of
Self-help and Cooperation
under the
Government Sponsorship


  • Immediate goal is to improve the living condition of individual
    – in the way of self-help and cooperation
    – with community resources & outside support
  • Ultimate goal is to build a better and sound community by community people, which bring the country strong

What kinds of Projects?

  • Community beautification
    – Easy to show the evidence of improvement
    – Meet the people’s needs
  • Infrastructure building
    – Increase agricultural productivity, prevent natural disasters
    – Provide conveniences for daily living
  • Housing
    – Amenity & Comfortability- Living conveniences
  • Kitchen, toilet & bathroom
    – Conveniences & energy saving
    – Clean & sanitized
  • Forestation & environment conservation
    – Wood production
    – Prevent soil erosion, drought, flooding, pollution
  • Community cultural centers
    – Meeting place, community festival
    – Community solidarity


  1. Village Community as Development Unit
  2. Government Initiating Bottom-up Approach
  3. Integrated Approach
  4. Comprehensive Approach
  5. More Support for the Better Performance
  6. Mutual Learning

Lessons from Korean Saemaul Undong

  1. Community Based and Utilize Community Operational Mechanism
  2. Participating Qualified SU Leaders Sacrificing for Village Development
  3. Government Initiating Bottom Up Approach
  4. Comprehensive Approach
  5. Partnership between Government and Village community (New Governance System)
  6. Strong Political Commitment of State Political Leader

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