Undong: Replication of best practicse on rural development
in most of the Asian countries is pervasive. Most of the poor
live in the rural areas of developing countries and depend to
a large extent on agriculture for their livelihood and employment.
Asia’s success cases on poverty alleviation, such as Aga
Khan Foundation, Grameen Bank, integrated rural development programmes,
Small Farmers Development Programme, Township Enterprises etc.
are well recognized.
One such programme is Saemaul Undong, which transformed rural
areas in the Republic of Korea in the 1970s through local initiative,
diligence and community empowerment. The Saemaul Undong approach
has been tested extensively within the Republic of Korea for over
three decades. Replication has been carried out successfully in
a number of countries including the Philippines.
UNESCAP is implementing a project that aims at disseminating
the proven Saemaul Undong methodology in three least developed
countries in the region: Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic
Republic and Nepal. The three countries rank amongst the lowest
in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI) in the region, ranked
as the 130th, 143rd and 135th respectively out of a total of 151
countries (Human Development Report, UNDP, 2003). The target groups
for the project are officials of central and local government
and non-governmental organizations involved in rural development.
Community leaders and the rural poor are the ultimate beneficiaries.
Following training in the Saemaul Undong approach, community
leaders in seven rural communities in Cambodia, the Lao People’s
Democratic Republic and Nepal will organize their communities
to increase productivity, create employment and augment income
through farm and off-farm activities, improve the immediate living
environment, develop economic and physical infrastructure and
build welfare activities in line with the Saemaul Undong approach.
The project will provide small grants to support the communities
in their improvement activities. Lessons learned from the demonstration
projects will be discussed in national workshops to develop guidelines
for replication at a national level. In addition, the lessons
and experiences of the projects will be disseminated at the regional
It is expected that the project will increase the capability
of the three participating countries to reduce poverty particularly
in rural areas, and that it will trigger wider replication of
the methodology within and outside the participating countries
after completion of the project cycle.
Officials of central and local government and non-governmental
organizations involved in rural development; Ultimate Beneficiaries:
Community leaders and the rural poor
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