New Village Movement; a shortcut to economic success

The New Village Movement is a kind of local development policy introduced by Park Jung Hee, the former president of South Korea, in 1970s.
Sehee Han
Sehee Han

The New Village Movement is a kind of local development policy introduced by Park Jung Hee, the former president of South Korea, in 1970s.

It supported raw materials such as cement and steel to every region aimed to boost the regional economy after the war and was based on the 3 concepts: diligence, self-help, and cooperation.

This movement increasingly spread out from farming areas to the whole country. And thanks to this, the GDP per capita of South Korea went up to $1,746 in 1979 compared to that of 1961 (it was $91).

Not only in Korea, but also in many parts of the world, The New Village Movement has worked as an exceptionally good policy for rural development.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon recently said that this programme can encourage the rural economy in its start-up phase. Actually some African countries including Rwanda are trying to introduce and implement the movement to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas.

In other words, this movement can work in Rwanda, too, because of a number of factors.

First of all, the country has a lot of human resources. The population of Rwanda has hit the nearly 11 million mark and has doubled in size over 30 years. This huge number of people can supply the necessary labour force for paving a road; widen a farm road, installing a water pipe, etc.

Secondly, the Rwandan society has a strong spirit of working together for a common good, and this has been seen in the many initiatives undertaken in Rwanda, including the Umuganda, the home grown general cleaning exercise where Rwandans meet at least once a month to collectively work for a common good. In light of this, it is easy to make people unite minds and cooperate.

 Finally the most dependable industry in Rwanda remains agriculture. So this rural development movement can quickly spread out through the nation and attract the public’s attention.

But how can we apply it to Rwanda concretely? The most important thing, of course, is distribution of resources. Governments should give residents sufficient resources to activate the region. Korea started with cement supply, but it’s not necessary.

In the case of Rwanda, as was said earlier, it is an agri-based country but is suffering critical water shortages.

So water supply would take priority over cement supply. Above this, there are other ways to help residents like supply of farming tool or seeds, and funding a research. But it should not be the end of the support. It is more significant to have an eye on their activities and help them to keep going even after the project, which can be periodically evaluated.

In this way, The New Village Movement can be a powerful tool promoting Rwandan rural economic growth. It’s a good chance to encourage regional business and, needless to say, gives a financial assistance.

And beyond the simple aid, it raises the independence of individuals and inspires them. Also, it serves a communicational function between governments and the public. As a result, all of these enhance the sense of independence of the Rwanda and make it more confident as a member of globalized world.

Sehee Han is a student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Republic of Korea.

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