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Key Factors to Successful Community Development: The Korean Experience

Discussion Papers

No.039

by Chang Soo Choe
November 2005

ABSTRACT

The Saemaul Undong of the Republic of Korea has been world-widely recognized as a successful model of rural community development. The Saemaul Undong was a pure Korean way of community development program which was initiated by the political will of the top national leadership in order to escape from poverty. There are several key factors to the success of the Saemaul Undong. First, the national government's guidance and support for the movement played a very important role in the whole period of the movement. Second, there was a wide range of people's participation in the implementation process. Third, the Saemaul Undong could make a big success by nurturing community leadership which was selected by rural residents themselves. Finally, as a movement for the spiritual reform, the Saemaul Undong imbued the people with the spirits of diligence, the self-reliance, and cooperation.

Keywords: Rural Development, Saemaul Undong, Government Intervention
JEL classification: O20, O53, R58

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